An Interview with Hunter As A Horse

A haunting, psychedelic synth-infused journey filled with stories of wolves, spirits and a first kiss shared in the woods, ‘The Two Magics’, is a powerful debut EP from Hunter As a Horse. The sound is distinctly their own – a surprisingly comfortable blend of folk, disco and pop with dark cinematic leanings. Co-produced by Ewan Pearson, the release is the result of a year-long self-imposed exile from London to rural Italy. The band, who also wrote and produced Nina’s breakout hits ‘We Are the Wild Ones’ and ‘My Mistake’, moved south to “channel the gods of dark cinematic Italo disco”. KALTBLUT had the chance to chat to members Paul Gala and Mia van Wyk about the outcome of this rather interesting musical journey.

KALTBLUT: Let’s start from the beginning, how did you two start producing music together?
Hunter As A Horse: We met some years ago in South Africa and have been working on various projects together since then. Paul was making hip-hop and electronic music and I was just writing folk songs on the guitar. We started making music together and a couple years later decided to move to London. We were writing and producing for some other artists there, subsequently Hunter As a Horse came into being purely as a fun/non serious project. We put some songs up on Soundcloud and they started getting picked up by a few great music blogs at the time. We still haven’t released those songs yet.

KALTBLUT: What was the initial response to those around you when you started?
Hunter As A Horse: The response has always been very positive. We’ve had amazing support from friends and fans, free videos and even PR.

KALTBLUT: There’s a distinct surreal/psychedelic feel to your music, are the late 70s/early 80s something you’re interested in?
Hunter As A Horse: Most definitely. We love these eras. Music felt a lot more real back then, less formulaic. Even mainstream music.

KALTBLUT: It’s also very cinematic, what are some of your favourite film scores / films?
Hunter As A Horse: We are heavily influenced by film scores and classical music in general. We loved Donnie Darko, The Hours, Twin Peaks, The Revenant, Stephen King’s IT, Beyond the Black Rainbow, White Oleander… We recently watched a new series called “Stranger Things” which has amazing 80s John Carpenter-esque synth music.

KALTBLUT: What was your musical process with the album? I read that you traveled for some inspiration
Hunter As A Horse: We moved out to a secluded farm in a rural part of Tuscany and built our studio there. The incredible nature and isolation allowed us to be very creative. We wrote about two full albums of songs in a very short time. Regarding our process: sometimes I write the songs on the guitar first, sometimes Paul writes the music and I lay down the vocals afterwards. We both do very different things… I write a lot of prose and poetry and very simple classical style music on the guitar, while Paul is a synth genius who also comes up with incredible and eccentric beats and melodies. We never really work together except for when when we’re recording and working out vocal melodies. We come up with our separate parts and then Paul combines, arranges and produces the song. We both search for musical “mistakes” and unusual melodies and sounds when creating and most of our songs sound very different to to one another.

KALTBLUT: What was it like working/producing with Ewan Pearson?
Hunter As A Horse: Ewan is literally one of the best people in the industry and he’s extremely good at what he does. It was a wonderful experience working so closely with such a skilled professional who understands our sound and vision. Hopefully we’ll be working on the next release with him very soon.

KALTBLUT: What brought you to Berlin?
Hunter As A Horse: After we finished so much music in Tuscany we had to move to a city again to release our music, a base where it would be easy for us to promote and to tour. Paul had been visiting his brother George (Radarboy who does our visuals) who also lived in Berlin for many years. Berlin was familiar, cheap with amazing energy and therefore the logical place to make our home.

KALTBLUT: Is this where you filmed ‘Dead Stars’? How did you meet the director, Malte?
Hunter As A Horse: We met Malte through mutual friends who founded Flaneur. Malte shot, directed and edited ‘Dead Stars’ all on his own – a super talented director with really crazy ideas that we love!

The Two Magics Vol.1′ is out now via Valley Of Fire Recordings