Psychedelic Horseshit Is a Trip: An Interview

Psychedelic Horseshit is one of the most baffling bands to emerge to glowing praise recently. Their wildly innovative and eclectic release Laced is coming out to rave reviews worldwide, despite the fact that this Ohio-based band had been quietly releasing records for years. After finding a hope on venerable UK label FatCat, Psychedelic Horseshit finally started garnering the media attention they’d been deserving all alone. Here, I talk with frontman Matt Horseshit about Laced, shitgaze, and lava.

ELM: What is your favorite non-musical noise? (I.e. laundry machines, ice cubes in a glass, traffic, etc.)

MH: Definitely speeding by highway-side cicadas at night while they buzz or whatever, so psychedelic! Especially if you roll both windows down and get it in stereo.

ELM: I read that the tracks on Laced are from many different eras. Did you re-record or retouch anything?

MH: No, not really. only 2 tracks were recorded in 2008, all the rest of em happened in 2010, maybe we added some “sprinkles” to some of the stuff after we thought it was done, but most of it was recorded quickly set aside for mixdown.

ELM: You once christened your genre “shitgaze.” How would you define shitgaze, assuming it’s a label you take seriously and feel is still applicable?

MH: That really just started as a funny joke that got snatched up by the media who ran with it. I still think its pretty funny and I think that it definitely applies to some music coming out nowadays, its just a really shit version of shoegaze, duh.

ELM: Your press sheet lists one of your many influences as “protest folk.” What are you protesting? Or, phrased another way, are there any sociopolitical movements in which you’re active?

MH: All of our songs are protest songs. We protest everything, we even protest protesting. Not active in any sociopolitical movements though, its too late for that shit now, we’re on a sinking ship for sure.

ELM: My favorite track on the album so far is “Tropical Vision.” Can you tell me more about that song?

MH: I wrote that one while I was eating pineapple [and] drinking pina coladas at a chi-chis in chicago watching loaded jimmy buffet fans pile outta shea stadium and thinking to myself how much cooler parrotheads are than chillwavers , It’s also about not having to go to a tropical place to go to a tropical place, not really needing to plaster your tropicalness all over the place. I got really sick of all those fake tropical/beach vibes from a couple summers back. The percussion on that is tabla that Ryan Jewell played to perfection, that was the first track on the album to be recorded back in 2008.

ELM: What is your live show like?

MH: Totally fucking batshit chaotic! Some nights we really hit the mark and play perfect sets; other nights it devolves into a jammy mess of dance beats and fucked up samples, we never really know what’s gonna happen, but that’s what makes it fun.

ELM: I know that you have also played some solo shows. How do you do that, given the richness of the band’s sound?

MH: My solo shows are usually complete shit unless i’m doing some kinda improv set. The moment I try to play PH songs it all goes south, and I always to try and play songs, so it always goes south.

ELM: Who are your favorite writers?

PH: Lester Bangs, William S. Burroughs, Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, Henry Miller.

ELM: What wouldn’t you do, musically?

I probably wont ever make some cheesy ass r&b influenced bullshit that everybody seems to be lapping up these days. I cant stand that shit, one guy gets influenced by ariel pink and all the sudden there [is] this whole sub-genre of kids making shitty r&b music and they look like fucking idiots when they play that shit. yeah, I’ll never do that. Love Ariel Pink, though.

ELM: How did you end up working with Beth from Times New Viking?

MH: We were in a relationship and living together for like a year and a half like some old geezers who never go out and have fun; we recorded the vocals for that while we were on the outs and i was starting to move out of the place and on with my life. We had some really fun times but i think that track really depicts the darker emptier side of that whole relationship and relationships in general really.

ELM: There are so many different world influences on Laced. Have you studied ethnomusicology?

MH: Yeah I dabbled in that a little before I dropped out of college after being there only 2 months. I didn’t get deep at all, just some stupid professor talking about himself and what he likes for an hour a day. I listen to all kinds of stuff though and having Ryan Jewell there to record the percussion really let us explore some different avenues rhythm-wise.

ELM: What was the first record that changed your life?

MH: Uh, probably OK COMPUTER I guess. That would’ve been one of the first. I think I was like 13 when that dropped. Really loved that record for awhile there. One of the last records to change it would have to be FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET, but that’s another story.

ELM: It seems like you’ve come out of nowhere, but you’ve actually been
releasing music for quite some time. How does it feel to suddenly get so
much recognition?

MH: It’s great, I wish we were getting even more attention than we are. I guess the record (Laced) is still pretty weird to be pushing onto a commercial audience but i definitely want to keep expanding and getting as many followers and as much exposure as possible.You’ll be hearing a lot more from us from now on, I promise.

ELM: You mentioned in a recent interview that your lyrics have become more “dreamlike.” Can you say more about that?

MH: My lyrics used to be more pointedly about things, like a comment on something or someone, but with laced i just let the images fly and take over the songs. Didn’t really feel like i had to say something and I didn’t wanna repeat myself. I really enjoy abstract surrealist literature and dreaming conjures up a ton of imagery on a nightly basis so i just let the lyrics come out how they wanted to and didn’t fuss with them that much.

ELM: How did the lineup change affect your music?

MH: Having Ryan Jewell in the band really opened up a lot of doors rhythm-wise. And at the same time we started working with electronics like sequencers and samplers and shit, I think it makes sense though if you’re familiar with our earlier stuff, I always talked about going in a different direction than all that lo-fi pop bullshit.

ELM: Anything else you’d like to talk about?

MH: lava, the end of the world, Keith Hudson, Mazzy Star, outer space, Brion Gysin, the paradox of art and love, I could talk about anything but I really should get back to snorting this ecstasy with my new friends from up the street.

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