Interview with Justin Ringle of Horse Feathers

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We promise new content and, oh boy, do we ever deliver. Through the magic of the internet, I sat down with Justin Ringle of my new favorite band, Horse Feathers. Their new LP, House with No Home, was released yesterday on Kill Rock Stars. Look after the interview for music and tour dates.

What are your plans to celebrate your album's release?

We'll be playing a show Oct. 3rd at Holocene here in Portland, OR. Our good friends Dolorean will be playing with us as well as Matt Bauer.

Are you from Portland originally? What made you decide to move there? Do you think your music has changed since then?

I am originally from Idaho. I moved here after graduating from college, in what is a seemingly natural migration in the northwest. Yes my music has changed. I was unemployed for awhile when I moved here and I think it was Portland's awful economy at the time that really spurned me on to isolate myself in my room and write the first record. Portland definitely forces you into being an introvert for at least half of the year due to all the rain. I think that certainly has had an effect on me and my music. . .

Your lyrics, esp. in "Curs of Weeds" take advantage of the counterpoint between family narrative and natural imagery. Is there anyone that you style yourself after in this way, writers or songwriters?

I read a lot of Flannery O'Connor when I was writing part of this record, but I don't think I was necessarily influenced by her in the ways that you describe. . .But I am really into the idea of family on this record. I think that the natural imagery for me sets the place and mood in my mind. I like mixing the two.

The work on the album is beautifully constructed and sounds deceivingly simple. Was there anything that you were reaching for sonically or thematically? It almost feels as if there's a larger narrative. How did you decide how to sequence the album?

Sonically I think as a group we were trying to flesh out the songs in a way that was more rich than the first record. Thematically, in a backwards looking way, I saw how a lot of my songs were constantly revolving around unease. Not being comfortable in one way or another: domestically, financially, ethically, spiritually, etc. I think that many of the songs reinforce that with the words or the mood. I truly had felt that I hadn't been comfortable for a very long time in my own house. When I was finishing the record all this kind of dawned on me. . .I worked on the sequence for a long time. . .All I can say about that is that I always envision records as being on vinyl and them having two sides. Side A has it's own feel and story and so should side B. I think if you listen to the first and last songs they complement each other, there's more to it but I think it would be boring to go into the details, but I think the sequence is very important for

What was the first song you ever wrote?

I don't remember but most likely a very bad homage to a nirvana song. . .

I read that you got your start in open mics. Having been to several bad ones, what is a good open mic like?

A good open mic is where in the matter of 1 to 3 songs you actually get at least 10% of the people to listen to you. It's kind of one of those things where you have to be immediately convincing or it feels like you aren't really playing to anyone. . .

Do you do anything outside of music to make a living? If so, do you mind sharing it?

A little construction for the most part. Painting houses that kind of thing.

What are you taking with you on tour? Any books, movies, etc?

Trying to finish the Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano.

Your voice is really haunting. You practice that, right?

I sing every day. I don't practice the haunting part though. . .I just practice.


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