Flashback!! Black Horse Motel On the Hill Session
Black Horse Motel… There are those occasions which a band name is suggestive of what you can expect a band to sound like, and there are those occasions where the precise opposite is true: With BHM, it’s somehow both. I saw their name on one of those digital images that we—inexplicably—somehow are calling ‘posters’ and/or ‘flyers.’ I was intrigued: I had an inkling of what to expect, but after some ‘research,’ I realized my expect ions were both met, and entirely exceeded.
In short, this band (folk) rocks. There is a superficial resemblance to bands like Mumford & Sons, but those appearances are barely skin deep. With BHM, there is a depth and breadth of both musicianship and lyrical sensibility that is utterly devoid in the aforementioned. Listen, think, and enjoy!
When/why/how/where did Black Horse Motel get started? That is to say can you give us a comfortably-abridged bio?
Like any band, our sound and style has changed greatly over time. But something that’s unique to BHM is that we have been shaped over time primarily by, as depressing as it sounds, loss. Since the start of BHM 5-6 years ago, one constant has been that we always find ourselves losing something and adapting along the way. Case in point, Megan is the only original member.
In the beginning, BHM was a four-piece indie pop rock band (acoustic & electric guitars, bass, drums). We had to shed the lead guitar player, and therefore lost that “rock music” electric guitar sound. The three remaining members moved to a more acoustic sound and began filling gaps with vocals instead of guitars. We needed more members to fill out the sound so after posting some ads, we found Dave and Desiree. Dave was 19 and all over the place, but he played many instruments and had natural talent and charisma. We yelled at him a lot back then. Desiree auditioned as a keyboard player and offhandedly mentioned that she had begun to learn cello. She played keys for one show. Shortly thereafter, our bass player left the band. The rest of the group then basically forced Desiree to become the bass and cello player, but she was only allowed to use cello. Cello (and strings in general) afford us more sound opportunities and we felt it was a unique selling point for the band. Things were really going well, until our lead singer and primary songwriter abruptly quit the band. That left us with no singer and almost no songs.
We regrouped and decided to forge ahead. David, somewhat reluctantly, took the lead and we wrote new songs. After a grueling audition process, we found Josh. The four of us put together 6-8 songs and played a few shows before adding Johnell as an official member. We knew her previously and she had performed with us a few times before. That was the cherry on top. For the first time, we felt like we had a complete and cohesive group and sound. What happened between the five of us had a spark and was exciting. We wrote a few more songs and tweaked the songs we had written. After playing the new songs in front of audiences, we realized it was high time we record an album. After a successful Kickstarter funding campaign, we recorded our album, Red Summer Spirit, and are currently trying to get the word out.
Why did you chose these songs for On the Hill?
We approached our setlist for On The Hill with careful consideration because we wanted to showcase the breadth of our sound, but didn’t want to lose the punch of our more drum-heavy songs in an acoustic translation. We worked through the songs in this configuration and chose those that we felt worked best and could take the listener through some of our favorite moments from our album, Red Summer Spirit.
What else is going on in your world? What’s next?
After spending most of our time writing, recording, and preparing for our album Red Summer Spirit, it’s now time to promote the album by playing shows both locally and beyond. We’re also putting a lot of effort into new material so we can keep all our loyal and local fans happy as well!
Where can we see and hear more of you?
You can find our album, Red Summer Spirit, through all the major digital outlets- iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon, CDBaby, Google Play, Spotify, Grooveshark, etc. You can also connect with us on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or on our site at blackhorsemotel.net. Our next show is September 7th at World Cafe Live, Philadelphia.