Super Wild Horses are one of those beautifully and admirably unrefined entities that actually manage (to a certain degree) to appeal to a popular aesthetic… albeit in a very anti-/post- way… Super Wild Horses are Amy Franz and Hayley McKee of Melbourne. When the two first began the band they could barely play… yet now they both share/swap duties on all instruments… although their treatment of sounds could likely still only be considered “playing” in a postmodern sense… but isn’t that true of all the best kind of “players?” 2010 saw the release of their debut album, Fifteen, which garnered praise from the likes of Pitchfork and earned them spots touring alongside bands like Thee Oh Sees, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Dum Dum Girls, and Best Coast. After three years, Super Wild Horses’ sophomore effort, Crosswords, drops today in the states, via Dot Dash. The sound of the album is a delightfully rambunctious and soulful brand of garage pop, which has the band exploring the sounds of girl groups and even traditional country… albeit within their own, punky comfort zone. I recently got a chance to talk with Amy Franz about the band’s evolution.
Izzy Cihak: You just released your sophomore effort, Crosswords. What’s the biggest difference in Super Wild Horses in 2010 and Super Wild Horses in 2013?
Amy Franz: Super Wild Horses in 2013 is a little bit older and wiser and sometimes does exercise, which definitely wasn’t happening in 2010.
IC: What were the album’s biggest influences?
AF: We both listen to lots of different kinds of music, old and new: jazz, reggae, 70’s Nigerian and Ghanaian stuff, soul, female chanteuse’s and male crooners, current Australian music, bits and pieces from everywhere. We didn’t start writing songs for this record with a particular sound or idea in mind, but wanted to give ourselves enough time to let the songs breathe and develop themselves. Lots of the songs on this record have had different melodies or structures that changed as the record started to piece together.
The factory that we recorded in had an influence on the feeling of the record. It was such a big, cavernous space, in the middle of the country and in the middle of winter, with a lone fireplace that cracked and hissed throughout the recording (You can hear it, if you listen closely!) I think that feeling of immense space is represented in the sound of the record.
IC: Do you have a favorite track? I really dig “Don’t Gamble.” It reminds me a lot of Bratmobile’s best work.
AF: Hey thanks! They’re all special to us for different reasons – I guess when you write a song you become connected and attached to it like a friend. We both wanted to put slower, more bare tracks on this record, as we were nervous to expose vulnerability the first time around and felt it was important to include songs like “Dragging The Fog” and “Running With Wolves” that we would have shied away from a few years ago. They’re not necessarily favourites, but they’re songs we’re both really proud of.
IC: You’ve toured with a number of really cool and noteworthy acts. Is there any band that you’ve had an especially good time on the road with, or with whom you’ve felt an especially significant bond?
AF: We met a lot of amazing bands in the states when we toured in 2010. People were so welcoming over there, looked after us and showed us a really good time! Playing with Eddy Current Suppression Ring was great. They had an incredible energy as a band and as people and Mikey Young had recorded our first album, so there was a really contagious positive feeling being on the road with them. Lots of laughter and stupidity.
IC: For that matter, are there any acts you dream of sharing a stage with, whether entirely realistic or not?
AF: Yeah! Someone recently asked us who we’d like to collaborate with – I can’t remember Hayley’s answer, but for me it was Tina Turner, Fela Kuti, Tony Allen, Arthur Lee, Prince…all completely unrealistic, but man, what a feeling that’d be sharing a stage with people like that! Dream on, dreamer…
IC: What are your most significant plans and hopes for 2014? Any chance of a US tour?
AF: Well, we’ve been taking it pretty easy here since we finished touring the record in Australia. We haven’t made any concrete plans for 2014, but that’s pretty typical of us! Things always seem to evolve organically. We’d both love to come back to the US and play some more shows – someone should invite us over!! Our launch shows over here included some special guests, which we both really enjoyed, having played solely as a two piece up until now. So, who knows…anything could happen between now and then!