Audrey Horne – Rock and Roll ForeverMonday, 12th February 2018
Despite the fact that the term ‘classic’ tends to sit in front of ‘rock,’ there’s still bands out there making a go for it. While many may look to the heyday of the ‘70s and ‘80s for that quintessential approach, there always seems to be a crop of newer bands that are ready to carry the torch of rock and roll into the next generation. While having six albums now under their belt, Audrey Horne are far from a new act. But the veteran rockers have no doubt picked up the rock and roll flag and ran with it for their past few albums.
The most recent addition to the band’s catalogue is that of Blackout. Full of undeniably catchy hooks and guitar heroics, as well as sing-a-long friendly vocal melodies, it’s not only the band’s strongest output to date, but one that hard rock fans should cherish. Genuine and straight-forward cuts fill the album from start to finish, done with nods to the past while keeping one foot planted in modern times. Vocalist Toschie took a few minutes to catch us up to date with the goings-on of Audrey Horne – from the band’s progression through the years, songwriting, and thoughts on both rock and roll and Twin Peaks.
Dead Rhetoric: Blackout was just released – are you satisfied with the response to it so far?
Toschie: We are totally overwhelmed by the response. We have been blessed with good response on most of our stuff but Blackout have in general been given extreme good feedback. To be album of the month in many of the largest European hard rock magazines is something not every band gets to experience, and we are of course very happy about this. But most important are the feedback we have gotten from our fans, they genuinely seem to love this album and they are after all the ones we depend upon.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel that Audrey Horne has progressed since 2014’s Pure Heavy?
Toschie: We have had a slow and steady progression from our first album towards making albums that comes from the heart, if I might be a little pompous, and I feel we have taken one more step further since Pure Heavy. For each album I feel we are able step outside the box we were in on the previous album, and on this one our passion for the late 70´s / early 80´s AOR music really came out. I don´t know if you can hear it but there is a lot of influences from acts such as Rick Springfield, Foreigner, Eagles etc on Blackout. There has also been changes in our personal lives, both good and bad, and they also have an impact on the music we make.
Dead Rhetoric: After only a year between Youngblood and Pure Heavy, was there a reason that you waited for four years for Blackout?
Toschie: When we started out we wanted to be a band like Kiss and release an album each year, that never happened. It took us about 3 years between each album. After Youngblood where we went back to the old school way of writing: as a band, together in our rehearsal studio, we were on a creative high and decided to do what we aimed for in the beginning and release the next one, Pure Heavy after a year. We did so and made an album we are truly proud of, but in hindsight we realized that we are better song writers when we have time to let the songs evolve over time. So we decided to allow ourselves more time to get the songs for Blackout as strong as possible. It did take us longer than expected but there were other factors involved.
Dead Rhetoric: Where does the appeal come from to play a more classic rock-influenced sound?
Toschie: Honestly because it is the music closest to our hearts. We grew up listening to this music and these bands. It was a time when you had to be good to survive in the long run, and a time when people gave everything in studio as musicians, not as producers. Look at the way Bruce Springsteen made The River, it comes from the love of making a genuine good album and nothing else. That is what we aim to do. We will never get rich or super famous from this, but when we put our instruments down we want to know that we made some damn good albums. That might sound cocky, and I know there are many other bands out there today who feel and do the same, but in general the music industry is about anything but the music today.
Dead Rhetoric: Likewise, being a hard rock band – what do you think draws a portion of the heavy metal crowd to your sound?
Toschie: Ask almost any extreme metal fan and they will tell you they have a Van Halen album. If you like guitar based music you will appreciate good music whether it is Scorpions or Slayer. Good music is good music.
Dead Rhetoric: Considering the early records and the shifts the band has taken over the years, do you feel that Audrey Horne has settled into a sound and feeling that is your own with the last three records?
Toschie: Definitely. We often get complaints that we don’t play much from out two first albums, and I get why as a lot of people love those albums. We are very proud of them too. But the thing is that we have found ourselves musically over the last four albums and to be honest we are a lot more comfortable playing these songs live. And in order to give our audience the best possible show, we have to have the best possible time onstage ourselves. I am honest with people when they ask us for some songs from the first album and tell them that that is not us anymore, and most seem to respect this.
Today I feel we have found our path, but that does not mean that we will stop evolving. There are always new sides of ourselves that we will explore, but don’t expect an all-electronic album. We actually wrote a disco/rock song that did not make it on this album but we are thinking about releasing it in one or the other way later down the line.
Dead Rhetoric: What are some of the challenges that people take for granted when approaching a more straight-ahead rock song?
Toschie: That making simple songs are easy. The simpler the song is, when we write, the harder we have to work to make sure the song stands strong on its own. When you have all kinds of stuff in a song you can seduce the listener with intricate guitars etc, but when you make a simple straight forward song you have to be make sure that the melody alone is enough. On this album, songs like “This One,” “Blackout,” and “Satellite” took us a while to get right simply because the melody alone had to be enough to get the listeners attention.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s the most important thing that you have to consider when writing a song?
Toschie: Once again, to us the melody is always the most important thing. Without it you are just fancy shit that only interests no one but other musicians. That being song melodies but also to have good melodies in the guitar solos etc. I find that the best guitar players are the ones with a unique melody in their solos, like Slash, Gary Moore, Ronnie Le Tekrö, Eddie Van Halen etc.
Dead Rhetoric: What are your thoughts on the status of rock & roll today?
Toschie: In my opinion it is very much alive and kicking. Rival Sons, Mastodon, Kvelertak, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, Against Me, to name a few really kick ass bands that carry the torch of rawk. Have no fear, rock and roll is in safe hands.
Dead Rhetoric: Given your band name, what did you think of the return of Twin Peaks?
Toschie: To be honest I have not seen it yet, but I like the idea, and given the quality of David Lynch´s work to this date I feel pretty sure it will be awesome.
Dead Rhetoric: Any plans so far for 2018 for Audrey Horne?
Toschie: Touring and festivals all over Europe, and hopefully this album will take us to the US too this time around.