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Q&A – Joel Silbersher, The Dark Horses

| 29 June 2015 | Reply

Q&A – Joel Silbersher, The Dark Horses
By Shane Pinnegar

Joel Silbersher, guitarist with Tex Perkins & The Dark Horses, invited us to email through a bunch of questions after listening to their great new album, Tunnel At The End Of The Light, which hits the stores on 17 July.

Tex Perkins (centre) & The Dark Horses - Joel Silbersher far right

Tex Perkins (centre) & The Dark Horses – Joel Silbersher far right

Hi Joel, thanks for your time. There’s some amazing soundscapes on the new Dark Horses album. It struck me that what you were NOT playing was as important, or more so, than what you were…

Of course. Space is the place! I have to learn to shut the fuck up over and over. It’s important. Otherwise you end up sounding like some ‘alt-folk/country/blah’ thing with no dynamics. Everyone just drifting. A wash of sound. Gets dreary with this kind of stuff. I could name 10 records right now that suffer from this – but I won’t ‘cos I’m just darling.

It must be more important than ever to find a mutually respectful balance in the band when there are four guitars (if you include the bass) all fighting to be heard?

[You] can’t be ‘fighting’ in this situation. Step aside, step in with authority then blend or shut the fuck up. Unless you’re Stevie Ray Vaughn or whoever, it’s not all about you. Actually, that guy probably couldn’t have done what he did without musicians that had that understanding. Or Lou, without the Velvet Underground. Band leaders and members who are worth a shit know this.

There’s an almost hungover feeling to the album as well – in that What did I do, where did we go, what was it all for, should I have done it differently? sort of way. Was the direction of the album mapped out before you went into the studio?

It doesn’t feel hungover to me at all! Unless you mean one of those rare, beautiful, serene, surreal hangovers where everything is slow and glowing. Maybe you are. [Yes I was!] I love those. Our current approach was pretty well established by the time the Tunnel was entered.

Slide On By really stood out to me as a minor epic. How much of that was improvisation and jamming?

It’s long but if you really check it out, it’s super simple. It is a magnification of a tiny little bit of a great jam we had in a mates shack a few years back in far north NSW. There was a funky bit where I played a little riff and Perko listened back and said ‘that’s the hook’. We played it a few times, left it alone a couple years and then, last try, it was really easy. It doesn’t feel like an epic to me.

There’s a searching nature to the lyrics, a looking for answers from the universe. How did you go about finding a musical theme to complement that?

As I said, this was a process we’d been through before. Also, most of these tunes are, at least skeletally, waiting for us to work on.

There was a time when a band almost HAD to be permanently active, whereas nowadays people like yourself and Tex, Charlie and the other guys all have multiple projects on the go off and on. Do you prefer it this way?

It is what it is. I’d say [doing] Dark Horses non-stop road shit is, and always has been, an impossibility. For all sensible reasons.

You’ve done a lot of work with the other guys in The Dark Horses and always seem to gravitate back towards each other. Is it like some big collective, almost?

Chuck and I have been involved with Tex in anything called Dark Horses but the same bunch of awesome people have been involved the last few years. Strange men…

Working with people like Charlie, do you go out of your way to impress or out-do each other, or to teach each other new licks you’ve picked up along the way?

I can’t out-shred the Ginger-Meanie! Don’t wanna anyway! Charlie bosses everyone around. Which is just as well, I reluctantly admit

You guys all know each other very well, but don’t work together non-stop. Does that make the creative process a bit of a party, as you catch up and enjoy each other’s company?

No. The professionalism is immediate, cold and callous. We are like Alan Rickman’s crew from Die Hard. We loosen up after a while. With all the joking, philosophy, sports, pranking, dancing, fucking, sucking etc

You’re heading off on an East Coast tour in July & early August – will we get to see The Dark Horses in WA any time soon?

Yes

You’ve been a musician since you were in school. Did you never consider another career?

Bit late now. I don’t know how to do anything well aside from playing and singing and making sex like an angel. I fear for my future.

What else are you working on at the moment?

[A new] Hoss album. Couple [of] Tendrils things. Some solo shit. I have a cover band called The Doodads with Gus [Agars], Davey Lane, Phil Gionfriddio and Dan Luscombe and I believe we are to blow off steam soon.
Tex Perkins & The Dark Horses’ new album, The Tunnel At The End Of The Light is out 17 July, 2015 via Dark Horse/Inertia Records

Catch them on tour:

Thursday 16th July Milton Theatre – Milton NSW
Friday 17th July University of Wollongong – Wollongong NSW
Saturday 18th July Lizottes – Newcastle NSW
Sunday 19th July Oxford Art Factory – Sydney NSW
Saturday 25th July Darwin Ski Club – Darwin NT
Friday 31st July Republic Bar – Hobart TAS
Saturday 1st August The MEMO Music Hall – Melbourne VIC
Friday 7th August Tanks Art Centre – Cairns QLD

www.darkhorses.com.au || www.texperkins.com.au

Shane

Category: Interviews

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