SXSW Day 4: Horse Thief // Q&A With Cameron Neal

SXSW Day 4: Horse Thief // Q&A With Cameron Neal

We got the opportunity to chat with Oklahoma’s Horse Thief, who performed at the Heartbreaker Banquet during SXSW!

Horse Thief is a psychedelic band from Oklahoma. Their debut album, Fear in Bliss, was released on April 15th, 2014, via PIAS America/Bella Union. The album was pressed on limited edition blue vinyl, and you can pick it up via the PIAS America online shop here.

Horse Thief dances in the realm of psych rock with sun-kissed guitar melodies in “Human Geographer” and “Devil”. Tracks like “Already Dead” feature a more indie-folk approach that is guided by frontman Cameron Neal’s “Bob Dylan-esque” vocals and solemn acoustic guitar strains. Fear in Bliss is an enticing and wistful journey that resonates long after you finish listening to it.

We had the opportunity to chat with frontman Cameron Neal about their new album, working with The Flaming Lips, and his vinyl collection!

Q: What can you tell us about your debut album Fear In Bliss? Is there a “Fun Fact” people might not know about the album?

Most of the album was recorded all live from the floor in Sunset sound which means no click or tempo was keeping us together. Just us playing in the room, which I can hear now listening back but that’s what makes it special. I can hear the room and hear us in that moment playing the music. 

Q: You guys are OKC transplants from Denton, TX. Did the change of location have any inspiration and/or impacts on your overall sound?

I don’t know if the location changed the sound as much as the age when we moved did. A lot of changing in life in general, but Oklahoma City is growing so much that it inspires us to grow with it. It’s a city that people want opportunity out of, which makes it exciting to incorporate that inside of the music. It is the Midwest however and something just never change, and maybe that’s the beauty of it. It has this culture that has been around for generations.

 Q: You and fellow Okla-homies, The Flaming Lips, covered each other’s songs in 2013. How did that project come about? 

We are labels mates and our EP came out the same month as their album “The Terror” we actually recorded our EP in Wayne’s backyard at Pink Floor Studios where “The Terror” was recorded so it kind of made a full circle swapping songs with each other.

Q: What can we expect from Horse Thief in the near future?

New songs and a lot of touring. Our next album will be different from “Fear in Bliss” but it still feels and sounds like us, just a different chapter.

 Q: Any artists you’re excited to check out during SXSW?

We are playing at Heartbreaker Banquet this year and the line up is filled with so many bands I’ve been wanting to see or are already favorites of mine. Will be nice to spend a day outside of downtown and enjoy Willies ranch alongside many of our favorite artists.

 Q: What are your thoughts on the resurgence of vinyl?

I’ve always been into vinyl and was raised that way by my father. I have his Denon turntable from the 80s. I love holding the album and reading along, having to get up to flip the record. It’s more of an activity then hitting shuffle on iTunes. I think people want that, some physical representation of something to latch on to. With technology growing so fast it’s natural to fear that someday it will all be digital but I believe that it’s human nature to want something physical we can hold onto and see in person. 

 Q: What have you been spinning lately?

The Districts new album A Flourish and A Spoil…been listening to that on this tour a lot. Also just got Chuck Berry’s “San Francisco Dues” which is such a unique album of his, not much else like it in his catalogue. 

 Q: If there was a fire in your house and you only had time to grab your three most favorite LP’s, what would they be?

You know I always say if my house caught on fire my records and acoustic guitar would be the first things I’d grab. As far as just three that is too tough of a question. I’d probably risk burning a little to grab my whole collection. However there are some records my Dad has given me that are out of print, I suppose I’d have to grab those first. It’s all alphabetically organized so I think I’d be able to search quickly. 

 Q: Do you visit record stores while on tour? If so, what are some of your favorite record stores that you’ve visited (outside of your local favorites)?

Rough Trade in NYC and in London. Always have modern records I can’t find elsewhere. Grimeys is great in Nashville. So many to think of but yes always ending up spending cash I don’t have for records I can never find back home haha. 

 Q: What are some LP’s that are currently on your wantlist?

The Districts A Flourish and a Spoil, a couple The Kinks and Cheap Trick albums I’ve been searching for awhile. Always on the search for a handful of older records, that’s what record store diving on tour is for! 

 Q: What is your most prized vinyl? 

If we are going by value my Europe 72 Grateful Dead and Neil Young box sets but if we are talking emotionally than there isn’t a good answer. Each album holds a different stamp on a part of my life and they all hold equal weight at the end of the day…It just depends on what mood I’m in. 

Horse Thief recently performed at the Heartbreaker Banquet at Willie Nelson’s Ranch in Austin during SXSW. They’re currently on their way to perform at the Mobile Aero Fest in Mobile, AL. Follow Horse Thief on twitter to stay up-to-date with them on future performances and news for their new, upcoming album!

Stream the track “Feat in Bliss” below:

About The Author

My vinyl obsession began with a few records that were given to me as a gift. Little did I know that this was the spark that would merge my impulsive habit of collecting things and love for music into my new passion. My claim to fame? Owning all of The Mars Volta's studio releases, including the infamous 'Frances the Mute' album pressed on glow-in-the-dark vinyl. I'm always on the lookout for the new stuff and lovingly embrace the classic stuff. I'm here to help you be on the forefront of this vinyl resurgence. Give me a shout on twitter!

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