BARK, HIDE AND HORN make electro Americana pop songs with lyrics based upon National Geographic articles. But it's not as convoluted as it sounds. Brian Garvey, Peter Valois, and Andy Furgeson spin the above into catchy, lo-fi, blues orchestra jams that are fun, but also know when to back up from the boogie and look you straight in the eye. Their music has the heart and spirit of a gospel choir but—just the same—throws down the shuddery, haunted folk with class and authentic-feeling sincerity.
They have a new self-titled EP done. Look for it 'round month's end.
Your bio says you're a "trio rethinking the idea of the trio."
Garvey: In our previous bands, we had played with larger groups that could pull off more meaty orchestrations. But when we formed Bark, Hide and Horn, we found ourselves rather understaffed. Longing for that lusher sound, we tried to compensate by playing as many instruments as possible—often at the same time or with the help of a sampler. Beyond just adding to our soundscape, I think it helps us feel more connected to each other. Switching between instruments lets each person connect to the other in new ways and demands a different sort of group coordination—sharing melodies, phrasing, and rhythms all at once.
Some of your lyrics are based around National Geographic stories. How does that work?
Furgeson: Well, it started as a songwriting exercise this summer, when I wrote a protest song about a disgruntled honey ant inspired by an article in an old National Geographic magazine. I basically just read the story, realized that I'd be totally pissed if I were one of these ant slaves, and wrote the song in that voice. Since then, the NG thing has kind of turned into an obsession, and we've collected a bunch of old magazines and written about eight songs, which are starting to shape into a narrative about the US and imperialism and the ghost of Alexander Graham Bell and our culture's screwed-up relationship with nature. Four National Geographic songs are on the EP, and our first full-length will be all NG material, hopefully more cohesive and with a bigger message.
Talk about the EP. What can we expect?
Valois: This is the first thing that we've recorded together, so we aren't even sure what to expect. We know what we've done so far, but after listening to the same songs 50 times in a row, you start to lose a bit of perspective. We tried to keep things sounding loose and homespun. We've also taken the opportunity to add some layers that we couldn't pull off with just the three of us live, although Brian is working on playing three trumpets simultaneously. We are big believers in having recordings and live performances be distinct from each other, since they are inherently different experiences. More specifically, people should expect six songs filled with good sounds.
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