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Track Premiere + Interview: Horseburner – “Fisherman’s Vow”

It’s been several years since I last got to chat with the guys from Horseburner. The band had just released their album Dead Seeds, Barren Soil, a record that earned them a lot of attention and critical praise. They also secured a spot on the first Doomed and Stoned festival lineup where I got to witness firsthand what kind of talent the band had to offer. It wasn’t until shortly afterward that I found out the band performed with only half of their usual lineup. Nevertheless, the guys put on one hell of a performance, and I’ve been a fan ever since (though I’m still bummed that I missed their return when they played at Drew Smith’s Firebreather festival).

After several long years since the release of Dead Seeds, the guys are back with a new album titled The Thief, and it’s their most ambitious album yet. Everything that you loved about Dead Seeds is kicked up to 11 including the songwriting, the performances, and the overall sound. And people who have gotten a chance to listen to it ahead of time agree it’s a game-changer for the band. The guys cooked up something special, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it propel them into the national spotlight like groups such as Pallbearer, Khemmis, and even Baroness have done before them. Horseburner deserves all the praise and recognition coming their way with the release of The Thief.

Thankfully, we managed to catch up with drummer Adam Nohe before the band gets too big for our humble blog and talk about the new album, touring, and more. Before you get to that though, scroll down and click play to listen to our exclusive premiere of their song “Fisherman’s Vow!” You won’t be disappointed!

The Thief will be released on August 9th via Ripple Music. You can pre-order it here.

Indy Metal Vault: Thanks for agreeing to chat with us. It’s been a few years since our last interview; I believe Dead Seeds, Barren Soil had just come out. How has everyone been and what have you guys been up to?

Adam Nohe: Thanks for reaching out, man. We’ve been busy, mostly. Especially lately, gearing up for the release tour, trying to get all our ducks in a row. I quit my job, but I feel focused, my head is clear, and I’m ready to get out and bring this new album to the world. Feels really good.

IMV: Along those lines, you’ve done quite a bit of touring and got to share the stage with some pretty notable acts like Obituary, Torche, and Bell Witch, and you also played some festivals like our very own Doomed and Stoned and Firebreather ones. Looking back, are there any moments from your travels that especially stand out? Are there any bands that you like to brag to your friends and family about sharing the stage with or a particular show that was more special to you than others?

AN: I love touring, so literally any time we’re fortunate enough to be out on the road, I’m as happy as can be, especially in 2018. Taking Seth on his first tour was super fun watching him grow as a performer and experience the highs and the (very) lows of DIY. Jack and I felt like a couple of proud dads.

As far as you know “big” bands go, opening for Torche was super cool because I’ve been a huge fan for so long, and Goatwhore was a good one. Back in Junior High, we had this buddy (shout out to Travis Graham!) who would always heckle all the bands that came through town and yell at them to “Play some Goatwhore!” Actually, getting to share a stage all these years later with those dudes, who were all incredibly kind people, was hilarious to us- real full circle stuff. They were fantastic too. Oh, and Corrosion of Conformity was sweet too; we got to play with them when they first came back as the three-piece lineup. Those dudes are actual legends, so that was definitely an awesome experience.

IMV: I want to start my next question by saying that I loved Dead Seeds, Barren Soil, and it’s an absolute favorite of mine. But your upcoming album The Thief seems more polished, and the performances are even tighter. The arrangements are more intricate and complex too, with the whole thing just sounding much bigger than anything you’ve done before. What was the road like getting to The Thief and was the writing process different than Dead Seeds, Barren Soil?

AN: This is going to be kind of a long-winded answer. Thanks for the kind words on Dead Seeds, by the way. So, with Dead Seeds, we had been a band for quite a while, and we had released a very early EP CD, a 7″, several demos; you know we were constantly writing back then. We had never tried a full-length record because we never had the money to release it properly. So eventually we just realized, hey, we have several songs that could fit together, let’s finally do the full-length thing and just put it all on credit cards. So, we did. That album was basically a compilation of years of work.

For The Thief, we went in with the idea of “let’s make an album.” One cohesive piece of art. It’s a full-on, traditional concept album. We’ve always wanted to do that, and we had goals – more dynamics within the songs and between the songs – big choruses, more effects, percussion, synthesizers, more layers, more guitar solos. But we also, if anyone has been keeping up, have been constantly touring since the last record came out, and hardly ever with the same lineup. We’ve had four or five bass players since then, and three different guitar players that would fill in and go on tour with us. So, finding time to actually write was really difficult. That’s why it’s taken this long to get the next record done. But we worked really, really hard to get as much of the album done and exactly how we wanted in preproduction before we ever stepped into a studio. And we definitely didn’t settle for anything. We worked and reworked these songs until we loved them. One song was rewritten probably four times before we were satisfied. A lot of love and care went into this record.

IMV: Is there a particular song that you’re most proud of on the album or one that best represents the current direction and sound of Horseburner?

AN: My favorite song on the record is probably “The Oak.” I think it has the most dynamics of any single song we’ve written, and I just love it. There’s also an instrumental song on there called “Seas Between” and it’s a thing Zach wrote back when we were kids, and we never had a place where it fit until this record. So I’m really happy it will finally be out in the world, and it’s very fitting for Zach’s last record with us.

IMV: Ripple Music has got some serious talent on their roster, and they’re releasing The Thief. How did you connect with the label, and what has it been like working with them so far?

AN: We have to thank our friends in Howling Giant for that. We booked them a show in Morgantown, WV, and we just kind of casually mentioned we were going to be shopping the new record around. They connected us with a guy named Jadd who does work for several labels, including his own brilliant Blues Funeral imprint, and we said Ripple was where we’d most like to end up. Jadd connected us to Todd from Ripple, Todd and I chatted on the phone for a few hours, and we agreed that this was the best fit for us. It was a very smooth process actually. This is the first time we’ve worked with a label from the get-go. Hellmistress reissued our self-pressed full length in 2017, but this time the label has done the initial work for us. It’s been weird not having control over every single aspect of the process since we’ve always done everything basically by ourselves, but it’s been good. The most important thing is we’re working with people we trust. We’re excited to see what happens since they’ll get us in the ears of more people than we could on our own.

Horseburner - The Thief - Indy Metal VaultIMV: We’ve got the pleasure of premiering “The Fisherman’s Vow” today. What can you tell us about the track? How did it come together, and lyrically what does it represent?

AN: Probably in my top 2 or 3 of songs off this record. We’ve been playing this one live for almost a year now. I know I said we wrote this album to be one solid album, but playing together as long as most of the band has, some old stuff snuck in. And I mean old. Jack actually wrote the bulk of this song probably… 2007ish(?) for our old band that broke up before we could put it together. So, he brought it back, and we all chipped in with pieces and ideas. But yeah, it just fit the tone and the mood of the record. The record is very cinematic in its approach. Like I said, it’s a concept album, and the lyrics tell a story, but we also wanted to reflect the themes in the music itself. Lyrically, it’s a song about a man with a lot of power realizing a very difficult decision he made decades ago may not have gone exactly like he thought. Now, there will be some major consequences coming down the line. Just one chapter of the story. I can’t wait for people to dig into the whole narrative.

IMV: You recently finished a regional tour, but are there any plans to play some dates to support the new album? Maybe you guys could play Indianapolis since you skipped us last time.

AN: Indy is a special place for us. We have so many great friends in the area… we’ll always come back. We’re going to be hitting the road pretty hard once this record hits, so I’m positive we’ll find ourselves back in Indy before long. Keep your eyes peeled.

IMV: Thanks again! I’ll let you guys have the last word. Is there anything else you’d like to add before we finish?

AN: I’m going to say what I always say to end these. For anyone that hasn’t heard us talk before, we’re friends with a lot of amazing bands. A lot. Too many to name right now. So, if we’re talking about a band, touring with a band, good friends with a band, make it a point to go check them out. They’re all amazing, and they deserve as big an audience as possible.

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