The TVD Interview

Recently signed to Rough Trade Records, New Albany, Indiana’s Houndmouth plays rootsy American rock that sounds just as great live as it does on record. Less than a year old, the foursome will debut their natural vocal harmonies and raw instrumentation on the group’s first EP, eponymously titled and out August 27 (Europe) and 28 (U.S.).

After a memorable live show on Friday night at Forecastle X, I sat down with Houndmouth to ask hard-hitting questions about everything from their favorite fashion trends to favorite fast food restaurants. We also discussed their upcoming EP release and the exciting road ahead.

What is the first record you ever owned?

Katie: I got my parents collection. My dad is a great guitar and harmonica player, so predictably I got a lot of Eric Clapton and some Paul Butterfield.

Zak: Yeah, I got my parents records as well. But the first one I ever purchased was a Grand Funk Railroad album. I can’t remember which one it was though.

Matt: Steve Martin’s, Wild and Crazy Guy. That guy is awesome.

Shane: My dad had a big collection; in fact he still owns it – it pretty much takes up the whole closet in our basement. So I got into some Jimi Hendrix stuff when I was about 12 or 13 or so.

What’s one record you think everyone should own?

Zak: That’s so hard to say. The one I can’t seem to quit playing is the Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Rust Never Sleeps album.

Matt: The guy we are recording with, Kevin Ratterman, would say On a Beach by Neil Young. I can’t argue with that.

Katie: Ryan Adams, Heartbreaker.

Shane: Oooh. The Band’s Music from Big Pink.

Do you have a favorite record store in Louisville?

Shane: Um, it used to be Ear X-stacy, but it closed down. There are a couple new ones around now that I haven’t been to yet.

Zak: Please and Thank You has pretty cool thing going on with vinyl. Also, the new record store in the back of Quill’s in Louisville…it may be called Astro Black?

Matt: Better Days Records is the only one I haven’t been too. I have this feeling that it’s gonna be my fav.

What made you choose to put your music out on vinyl as opposed to MP3 or CD?

Katie: We decided to do a limited pressing of the 7” EP because we wanted to create something special and unique for the people who have supported us from the start. There are only 300 of them. It has a unique casing, a photo of the band with a thank you note signed by each of us, as well as a download card that has a few extras on it. We hand-packaged every single one of them. And even hand wrote the download codes on the download cards.

We also wanted to support the comeback of vinyl because somehow the art of album has been taken for granted with CDs and MP3s. A lot more people are collecting vinyl now and we are glad to be part of that.

Zak: I agree with Katie that vinyl is making a comeback. It’s so much more interesting to listen to an album the way the band wants you to. They put those songs in that order for a reason. With CDs and MP3s, it’s too easy to play the two or three tracks you know over and over.

Matt: It was strictly a business decision (laughs). I agree with Zak, who agreed with Katie.

Shane: And we’re doing all three – but I think vinyl is just the best way to listen to a record. It sounds more real. It’s more dynamic. And you’re sitting down and can actually listen to the music, avoiding distractions that come from being in front of a computer – like going to Reddit.

What’s your next goal as a band?

Zak: We are really excited to get on the road after we release the EP August 28th.

Shane: Yeah – to tour! We’re going mainly up north, into Canada, and then our west. And to Europe by the end of the year, hopefully.

Katie: To have a successful release of the EP, a successful tour in the fall, and then to release the LP as timely as possible.

Matt: Keep practicing!

What’s your favorite concert venue to see or play a show?

Zak: Zanzabar is a really cool venue. Nothing quite like packing a nice cozy little space full of people. Also, Zazoo’s where we did our first show has amazing sound. That’s another quaint place that’s a great spot to catch some good music.

Katie: Headliners is great to both play and see shows.

Matt: Ummm, I like really loud music. Headliners is the place for me.

Shane: Um, I don’t know, I have to agree with Matt and Katie. Headliners here in Louisville is pretty cool. That’s where we opened up for Heartless Bastards, so great memories there.

What’s your favorite fast food chain?

Zak: Does Steak and Shake count?

Matt: Culvers!

Katie: I don’t eat most fast food places. I will eat La Bamba. It’s fresh.

Shane: Chick-fil-a. For sure. No doubt. Spicy chicken.

Moving on, what’s your favorite latest fashion trend?

Shane: Oh. Cutting the sleeves of a shirt. You cut off just above the (hemline), and then it rolls up. It’s good. Matt and I founded it.

Zak: If I have my shirt on right side out, it’s a good day for me.

Matt: I saw Bruce Springsteen used to snip the seam at the peak of his V-necks. I haven’t done it, but I sure have been thinkin’ about it.

Katie: I love all of the crochet and I’m a big fan of the high waisted pants/shorts. I don’t wear heals because I’m a giant but I wish I could wear wedges. Oh well.

What’s the most obnoxious question you’ve gotten in an interview?

Zak: I don’t really know. All of the hard questions we usually just pass along to Katie. That way she can just bat her eyelashes and distract the interviewer so they go on to the next question.

Matt: There are no bad questions.

Katie: “Since everyone can sing in the band, how does this affect your music?” Uhh… We all sing on the songs? And, “How did you get the name Houndmouth?” Only because I have to listen to Matt tell the story for the 90th time.

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Shane: Wars.

Zak: Hamburgers over hot dogs every day of the week.

Matt: The George Lucas Machine has ruined a lot of things for me. So, Star Trek.

Katie: No? Ha.

What most recent death left you reeling?

Zak: I would have to say the death of the parachute pants. I mean I will never, ever get to know how comfortable those things really are. And they obviously make you a hell of a dancer.

Katie: It’s not super recent but I wanted to see Les Paul. I had heard he was performing in New York regularly very close to his death. It stuck with me not to put things off until later, because now I’ll never have the chance.

Shane: Levon Helm. He was my hero. Still is.

You guys have been gaining ground really quickly. What are you thankful for so far in less than a year?

Zak: That’s a tough one. Everything? We have been so fortunate to have people that are willing to go the extra mile for us. Our manager Chris Thomas started helping us back in December and really helped kick start our place in the music scene. Also, everyone that comes out to support us. It is so surreal to play a show and look out to a crowd of people who are singing along with you. Crazy.

Katie: I’m thankful for all the support we’ve gotten from friends and family and complete strangers. People really have gone above and beyond to show their support.

Matt: If the band broke up tomorrow I would still be beaming with happiness from all the support from fans and great people that have helped us. There are just so many things to be thankful for. We are a young “entry level” band, but we are a lucky bunch.

Shane: Yeah – I’m really happy that things are going the way they are. And we couldn’t be happier to sign with Rough Trade.

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