Unabashed energy – An Interview with KELLIE LLOYD of MAJESTIC HORSES // “Away from the Sun” debut LP streaming

WL//WH Interview  WL//WH Album Streaming  Majestic Horses

Born out from the tireless creative force of Kellie Lloyd, co-founder/singer-songwriter of Brisbane‘s ’90s indie-rockers Screamfeeder, Australian power trio Majestic Horses, aptly backed by Sidney-based Kate Wilson (The Holy Soul, formerly The Laurels) on Drums and Adelaide-based Andrew P Street (The Undecided / Career Girls) on Bass, will be releasing today their pure shoegaze / dream debut album, “Away from the Sun” via independent label Kasumuen Record.

Rooted in Kellie‘s songwriting prowess amply demonstrated throughout almost 2 decades along Screamfeeder‘s 7 albums, 4 EPs and 18 singles, and masterfully pulled together, true to it’s original vision, via the mastering of Bryce Moorehead (Violent Soho) with mixing by Keelan Sanders and Bryce, “Away from the Sun” is a fresh and compelling LP that will captivate any fan of energetic, gritty yet melodic guitar-driven rock.

  • Thanks so much for the interview. Let’s trace back to your personal roots, where did you grow up and how did you get into music?

I grew up in regional Queensland, Australia in a place called Toowoomba, about 180kms west of Brisbane. My upbringing was pretty average, my family was working class, we didn’t have a lot of extra things. I learned guitar on a nylon string we had when I was 11, I got my first job at 14 and paid for my first bass, an Ibanez jazz bass copy, then I started playing in my first band at 15. I worked in a second-hand record store at 16 and had my own radio show on the local college radio.

  • Who were your musical inspirations growing up? What influences most drive your directions and style?

I was already infatuated with post-punk and goth coming out of the UK so you know one of the first interesting bass lines I learned was ‘Primary’ by the Cure, I loved The Smiths and Siouxsie and the Banshees, Adam and the Ants, Jesus and Mary Chain, Bauhaus and Joy Division, but working at that record store opened up my eyes to a lot of Australian independent music of the 80s stuff like Died Pretty, Lubricated Goat, and The Scientists other stuff like the Church, The Hummingbirds, Rat Cat and the Hoodoo Gurus in the mid-late 80s was really exciting.

  • As a veteran of the alternative rock scene since the very early 90s as founder-member/singer-songwriter of Screamfeeder, what are your best fond memories of that period? What song or records are you most proud of?

There are so many things that I don’t remember from back then haha but it was a really exciting time to be releasing music in Australia and we were able to tour constantly, there was real inclusivity at that time, close-knit scenes that you could tap into when you went to another city. Playing the Big Day Out, the national festival was an incredible honor back then too and we played quite a few of those. In Brisbane, there was a really exciting scene developing in the early 90s and there are still some of those bands still playing like Budd and Regurgitator. I think I’m really proud of the album “Kittenlicks” (1996) because it marks a real change in band dynamic and songwriting style for us, but the album “Rocks on the Soul” (2000) for me marks a point in a real leap in songwriting development for me.

  • Why and how the Majestic Horses project come to life?

In 2012 I put a solo record out –Magnetic North’ – and I toured it with different drummers in different cities, one such drummer was Kate Wilson who at the time played in the Laurels, who I was really drawn to. Kate plays drums like Loz Colbert from Ride and we started jamming together when I came to Sydney, then I started bringing her up to Brisbane and then her pal Andrew P Street decided he should play bass and then we just started to play a few shows. It was very casual. But then I was offered some recording time in Hobart, Tasmania and asked Kate and Andrew if they were keen and I had some songs, we should do this thing. So we did. We recorded in Hobart over Easter in 2018, finished the album off during Easter 2019 and the album that has taken about 5 years to materialize, actually comes out this week on Melbourne label Kasumuen!

  • Besides their instrumental prowess, what Kate Wilson (The Holy Soul, formerly The Laurels) and Andrew P Street (The Undecided / Career Girls) bring to the band? Does the fact that they come from different cities, namely Sidney and Adelaide, bring further distinctive elements/nuances?

Kate‘s drumming is hypnotic to me, I just love her style. Andrew is a great author and journalist and honestly, they are the smartest people I know, hanging out with them, I just let them do the talking haha. Andrew is an excellent bass player too and it’s their friendship that originally brought them to this band. When we continue to tour now though I will be playing with different people in different cities depending on Kate and Andrew’s availability and schedules. We recently did our single launches in Melbourne without Andrew and had Andy Hayden from TV Haze who also runs the great Australian label Poison City playing bass with us. The next trip to Melb will be with Andy and Monika Fikerle who played in the very excellent Love of Diagrams. So it’s an ever-evolving beast this band.

  • As a stalwart of Brisbane’s underground music scene, what impact has had and still have your hometown on your artistic development? How the scene is changed and possibly grown over the years? What Brisbane’s bands would you recommend at the moment?

Brisbane had always been regarded as the poor cousin of Melbourne’s sophisticated music scene. Most musicians end up moving down there so their scene is probably half ex Brisbane people anyway! Staying in Brisbane has been really important to me, it’s a great place to leave and it’s always nice to come back to. There has always been amazing music and art coming from here because no one really cares what other people think as much maybe. You can do your own thing. There is so much great stuff coming out of Bris – Local Authority you’ve heard of, Pleasure Symbols, Hatchie, Tape/Off, Lexicon, Dumb Things, Catalano, Julia R Anderson, Relay Tapes, Whalehouse, Marville, Full Power Happy Hour are just some bands that are new or newish doing cool stuff, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

  • How your music listening and consequently your taste has evolved over the years?

I’m always trying to listen to new things, I do get stuck on certain things, but I’m always keen to hear new stuff. So my taste stays the same but I’m open to hearing new stuff.

  • You’re hyper-creative, constantly writing new material, what’s your secret?

Haha omg not having a life. Honestly, I’m just focused on what I do when I’m doing it. I over-commit and I just try to manage that. I love playing music though, so that’s what drives me.

  • What is your usual songwriting process and how did it develop and refine in the years?

I actually don’t even know, I don’t think I have developed a process. I write when I feel like it or when I need to. I go through stages of writing and stages of not writing. When I have downtime I really like to do nothing, immerse myself in nature and self-care routines and I think that’s when I need to balance myself. The thing about the writing, it’s one part of the process, I do most of the rest of the stuff too, like booking gigs, doing promo, looking for opportunities, all the boring admin. So for me, there is the creative process and then there’s the business process.

  • How much your lyric writing comes from personal experiences and how much from external sources?

It’s all personal, or it’s dreamlike sequences that pop in my head. I might say something isn’t about me, but it’s always my perspective. I can’t write any other way.

  • What’s the most personal thing you’ve written about thus far?

The death of an ex-boyfriend. My response to that.

  • Do you draw on, or are you influenced by, any non-musical cultural resources (eg films, books, visual art) in your creative process?

Pretty much everything happening in the world is influencing me, what I see unfolding, things my friends do, things happening in the world.

  • With the new band, but you’ve joined also fellow shoegazers Deafcult, you seem to emphasize an energetic and melodic dream-pop/shoegaze sound, even if noise-rock clearly lingers around…what led to this choice?

I was asked to join Deafcult when one of their members was moving to Melbourne. I love Deafcult so It was a no brainer. I’m drawn to loud guitars, dreamy melodies. I have an inbuilt pop sensibility, but I like to drown that down with the other elements, I don’t like my music to sound too produced or too clean, I need it to be gritty and dirty as well.

  • You’re going to release your debut LP under the MH moniker, could you explain the title, the influences, the recording process that has brought to the final result?

The title is from one of the songs. I wrote that song “Away from the Sun” one afternoon playing around with a tuning I love. I was trying to play guitar like Kurt Vile and wrote this song while trying to mimic his fingerpicking style, but on the album, that song has been completely deconstructed and is no longer resembling what I wrote. I never thought this song or “Signal” would ever be recorded, I wrote them ages ago and they sat there until we decided we’d do Majestic Horses.

  • Did you, thematically, have an all-encompassing vibe or tread you wanted to portray?

I wanted to make an album that sonically was pleasing but also I think this album has a few points to make on social issues too, our Tasmanian producer said to me “this is your riot grrrl album” while I don’t sing like that, it’s true I’m making some observations about the world and I’m pretty angry, although, on first listen you might not realize it. You don’t have to be yelling to be angry.

  • Have you already any live favorites that would you pick out from the LP if you had to and why?

It Isn’t You is fun to play because I have to do a bit of pedal hopping and a cool lead break with wah pedal and delay. It’s pretty hard to do and it keeps me on my toes.

  • Are you planning live performances to promote the new LP?

Yes, we have a full Australian East Coast tour happening over October, November into December.

  • Could you talk about the band’s recent local support slot with Swervedriver?

We love Swervedriver and Kate and I in all our previous bands have supported them in various cities. We’ve all become friends. I did hassle the shit out of everyone to get on that bill though haha.

  • How do you weigh music-wise the pro and cons of the new millennium’s internet era? Are you comfortable with social media? 

There is so much music out there now. It’s almost impossible to be heard above the constant noise, but it’s opened up so many opportunities too. I’m pretty comfortable with social media, I wish I could get off it most days but I need to be on it to promote and do band stuff. I am a very political person but the past 12 months or so have just been so brutal I’ve had to turn a lot of it off to stay sane at different times.

  • The album will be released as limited CD and vinyl 12″ via indie local label Kasumuen Records. Do you think it’s still relevant nowadays the physical edition that will last materially over the years, compared to the cold, liquid digital one? Are you a vinyl collector?

I collect vinyl and have off and on since I was 14. There is nothing like holding that album in your hands, reading the liner notes and there is nothing like putting out your own! I listen to a lot of music online or digital versions but I still will buy physical and I will support the bands I love by buying their records.

  • One of the best positive about the internet era is the possibility to listen to new bands from every far corner of the world? Are there any countries/scenes that surprise and intrigue you most?

I’m intrigued by the number of new goth bands there are! Shoegaze and dark pop stuff is great and what I love is that with spotify you can find anything and playlists are very handy to find new music.

  • What has been the most inspiring years of rock music history for you?

The 80s and 90s will be my guiding lights in terms of my musical upbringing so I will always return to them for inspiration.

  • Are there any pivotal records and live concerts that changed indelibly your perception of music?

The Pixies and Husker Du had a massive effect on my life when I was first starting out in bands. They changed how I saw what being in a band could look like, what you could achieve with the barest of resources and peripheral equipment but also how important a fucking good song was above everything else.

  • Do you remember the first record you bought?

“Into the Gap” by The Thompson Twins

  • Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I would love to spend a week hanging out in a studio with Kim Deal.

  • What are you currently listening to?

For some time I’ve been obsessed with Sydney band Mere Women.

  • Name your 5 ‘desert island records’

These are always impossible, but this week it would be:

“Warehouse: Songs and Stories” by Husker Du

“Mezcal Head” by Swervedriver

“Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea” by PJ Harvey

“The Shape of Punk to Come” by Refused

“Blues Funeral” by Mark Lanegan.

  • Many thanks for being our welcome guest… Is there anything I forgot to ask you and would you like to say? 

I think we covered everything! Thank you so much for taking the time.

Majestic Horses‘ debut album “Away from the Sun” is out now on black & limited coloured vinyl 12″, and CD, via Kasumuen Records Website (purchase it here).

Keep up with Majestic Horses: