Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Horse Stories (SCQ's Year-End Questionnaire Part IV)

Responsible for the winter-still beauty of November, November, Toby Burke has spent much of 2010 carving out a unique songwriting stance between modern folk and understated rock. From the sound of this interview, Horse Stories has a few more plans in mind for the immediate future - one admittedly far more likely than the other.

SCQ: Every list-lover's favourite question: what are your top albums of 2010? Feel free to include any older yet worthy records you discovered this year.

TB: Damien Jurado "Saint Bartlett", A.A. Bondy "When The Devil's Loose", The National "High Violet", Brad Paisley "Constant Companion"

SCQ: What were you listening to a lot of while recording your excellent album November, November?

TB: It's hard to remember now, the usual stuff probably. A lot of old vinyl - I know that's a cliche, but really, I was. Mainly because I'd just re-settled in the States where I had access to a wide range of reasonably priced records again. So WIllie Nelson (lot of Willie), Dylan, John Prine, random old old blues/folk stuff, that sort of thing. Plus newer things like Magnolia Electric Co, The National, Conor Oberst, Wilco.

SCQ: Be cocky for once in your life: what was the finest thing you did all year? That moment where you actually thought "shit, I nailed that..."?

TB: Oh gosh... I recorded a bunch of new songs in Mexico City recently for a solo record. I was on my own, in an apartment, in a foreign country and I didn't have a lot of time - so not exactly a "controlled" recording environment, it was a tad frantic. But I'm sure there must have been one or two moments when I was listening back to a track and thought that. Then immediately un-thought it, most likely.

SCQ: Effect and Cause: November, November was one of 2010's earliest front-to-back listens, and it remains one of the best. My girlfriend and I sat in the new SCQ office, with boxes everywhere, and listened to it twice through without moving. Okay, your turn: confess a true tale that inspired one of the songs from November, November.

TB: It's really nice to hear about people experiencing my record in that way, because I've had those moments... so thanks a lot for sharing it.
I would confess if I could, but only very rarely does a songwriting inspiration occur to me in such a linear and narrative way. The new ones are more like that, but the batch on November, November aren't. I could point to maybe one blurry little specific thing in each, but it's not very interesting. That's why it becomes a song - hopefully they are interesting!

SCQ: If all the reasonable and implausible ideas in your head came to fruition in 2011, what would they be?

TB: I'll manage to sell more copies of the Mexico City record than stay stored in my shed and maybe I'll finally get that shot at the reserve guard spot for the Los Angeles Lakers.

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