Chase the Horseman makes the kind of melodic, guitar-driven indie pop that instantly recalls the likes of James Blake, Rufus Wainwright and Fleet Foxes. An audio engineer and producer in addition to being a highly-regarded songwriter and soundtrack composer, Horseman's newest single, "U Martyr U", continues in the vein of his best work: atmospheric power-pop with an edge. We are fortunate to share an interview with Chase Horseman on Listen Local.
Please introduce yourself. Describe your music for new listeners.
My full name is Chase Elliott Horseman, and am now releasing music under the name Chase The Horseman.
The music I’m making right now is, in a lot of ways, a pastiche of things I’ve absorbed and obsessed over since I started playing. It might easiest to listen to some of my most listened to artists/works. See:
- “Grace” by Jeff Buckley
- “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys (mostly Brian Wilson)
- “Strange Mercy” by St. Vincent
- literally ANYTHING by Brian Eno
Your new single, “RIPchord” comes several years after your last album as Towers. Why did you choose to focus on movie soundtrack work in the intervening time?
They’ve always gone hand in hand, really. I started scoring films in my last few years of high school, and never really stopped. Its a bit more profitable since its all work for hire, but mostly it was a way to collaborate across the country/world with other people without having to be in the same physical space.
I’ve suffered from debilitating anxiety and depression as long as I can remember, and until the last few years, couldn’t handle the attention or pressures of being at the center of any sort of spotlight. Film music gives you a sort of faceless freedom to don different clothes and colors than you might for yourself that was as liberating as it could be at the time.
Talk about “RIPchord.” Why did you choose to release this single under your own name and not Towers?
The Towers project was an extension of that kind of insular creation/production style as the film music. I literally did everything except the mastering, from writing every note, playing every instrument, to recording, to mixing, etc. As soon as the thing was done, I was spent. I could barely get myself to talk about the record or play shows for it because it took me so long that I immediately felt a distance from it upon release.
I found myself swept up into another band (Clairaudients) and even though I released a total of three videos for the Towers record, I never really did much with it after. After some formative life changes and the dissolution of Clairaudients, I knew I had to make a huge change. Strangely enough, that change was to own my name and own myself by doing so.
How long have you been a songwriter and musician? How would you say your songs have evolved over the years?
I think my earliest recordings and compositions date back to 2003 or 2004, but I’ve been active in bands since 2006 (I’m 26 now) such as The Cherry Tree Parade, The Low End, Towers, Clairaudients, La Guerre, Heidi Lynne Gluck, Not A Planet, Rachel Mallin & the Wild Type, and The Philistines.
My first “real” songs were very much folk oriented. Lots of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Iron & Wine type stuff, which later turned into more Shins influenced pop-ish stuff. As I developed I think my sound shifted into a place of classic American style songwriting mashed with Emo and sequenced laptop music. Now, I’m living my songwriting life by the Ten Commandments of Brian Eno. Most importantly, his fourth commandment: “You shall cook like an Italian: good initial ingredients passing quickly through the kitchen”.
What inspires you about music in Kansas City?
I think it's the vast amount of untapped potential we have as a city. The more our voices get out of the region, or the country, the better off everyone is. We used to be the flyover states, but I think that's changing.
Chase's recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:
Velvet Goldmine (Todd Haynes)
The Holy Mountain (Alexandro Jodorowsky)
Happiness (Todd Solandz)
The Song Machine by John Seabrook
I Can’t Breathe: a Killing on Bay Street by Matt Taibbi
We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service by A Tribe Called Quest
Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys
Here Come The Warm Jets by Brian Eno
Grace by Jeff Buckley
Strange Mercy by St. Vincent