There are a few things you need to remember when writing about music. First and foremost, play to your strengths, particularly genre wise. If this isn’t possible, at least be willing to admit when you’re a little out of your comfort zone. It’s also important to expand your genre of choice and preference, and expand your musical mind. I listen to a whole bunch of stuff, and have been known to keep my tastes pretty eclectic, but Hip-Hop, especially Aussie Hip-Hop, I usually fall by the wayside a little bit. But, I do love, appreciate and admire anyone who values the power of words. And in light of their upcoming show at Bar on the Hill on the 8th of July, I had a chat to artist and wordsmith, and one half of Horrorshow, Solo, about writing, surprise proposals and regional touring.
“I’ve always loved music as a kid because it was one of the things I was really passionate about,” says Solo of his initial spark and love for music. But it was complexities behind the lyrics he was producing, even in those early days, which carried the most weight for the Sydney MC. “I also liked to write as a kid, and I guess writing lyrics is a bit of a cross of the two things. Especially when I first started, I was an angsty little teenager. I suppose I used writing lyrics as a form of therapy, to express what I had to say about a certain topic or issue”. This theme and power of words is something that continues to drive the artist forward, particularly with Horrorshow’s latest release, Bardot State.
“I think everything really is a form of communication of some kind,” muses Solo. “Whether this be the clothes you put on each day, or the way an instrument sounds. They are all forms of communication. To me the most potent one, or the one that has the ability to transcend the most is words. I’ve always been fascinated by language and how it’s evolved and how we created these systems to describe and communicate things around us”. Continuing he adds; “It’s also about ascribing your own meaning to the lyrics. (For fans) to bring their own experience and their own interpretation to what I’ve written. I’m just mad fascinated by that process”.
In line with these particular words, the real beauty of music, contained within any genre or platform, is the way it translates so differently to a wider audience. Horrowshow’s lyrics, particularly on tracks like ‘Cherry Blossom’, as intricately personal as they may have been intended, have been known to ignite the grandest of gestures amongst their fanbase. “We’ve had about four or five proposals happen at our shows, on stage”, says Solo. “That’s kind of part of the danger of writing love songs and heading into that territory. It’s a beautiful thing though, what a special thing to think that something I wrote in my bedroom about my life experience resonated with people that I don’t know, so deeply, that it became such a central thing in their life… That’s one of the things that we’re proud of with Horrorshow and the music that we make, is the connection that people feel to it”.
But what is it about music that makes it so much easier to communicate a message, to engage in the conversations we sometimes shy away from, to allow music to translate meaning and purpose for us? “It’s a couple of things I think”, he comments. “The sound of music, is often able to express mood and feeling in a way that words can’t on their own. But sometimes words are able to articulate specific things about feeling, that music can’t do on its own. When you put the two together, you’re getting the best of both worlds”. But it’s also the changing nature of the way we hold, listen and carry music that’s changed the influence it has on our lives, reflects Solo. “People are literally remixing their lives with the music they carry around with them as they go about their day. Creating their own soundtrack so to speak”.
Thankfully, Horrorshow are all about spreading the good word far and wide, and have decided to go all out for this particular tour, placing a massive emphasis on regional touring, hitting places as far as Alice Springs, and far North QLD.” Solo comments; “For me it’s hugely important… I’ve done enough travelling to know that most of Australia isn’t in an inner city environment. I value and appreciate people who are living in regional areas and the way those different communities interact… There’s a really great energy and appreciation for live music there… We want to make that effort and take that risk”.
But when Horrorshow hit the Bar on the Hill on the 8th of July, what can local fans expect from the duo? “We’re looking forward to coming back to Newy, the last show we played there was one of the craziest, actually the last few shows we’ve played in Newcastle!”, laughs Solo. “We’re going to be playing a whole bunch of new stuff off the record, we’ll have Turquoise Prince with us and we’re just going to be rockin’ it as hard as we can. We’re looking forward to getting back to Newy”.
Horrorshow play Bar on the Hill on the 8th of July, so get your tickets whilst they’re hot.
If it's on in Newcastle, it's on Newcastle Live