by Chris Jones (@casperthejoke)
“Have you ever heard Horse Jumper of Love?” asked my friend Dominick, trying to suppress his excitement. I shook my head. It was December of 2017 and we were hanging out in his tiny living room, having just finished practicing in his even tinier rehearsal space upstairs. Dom leapt up and plugged his laptop into the dusty speaker system against the wall, moving handfuls of Neil Young and Modest Mouse records to get to the aux cord. When the first notes of “Ugly Brunette,” rang out I was immediately hooked. The guitar sounded it like it weighed a thousand pounds, like it was drowning in a swamp of molasses. The vocals were dreamy and distant, but deeply emotional all the same, and don’t even get me started on that riff. I loved “Ugly Brunette,” but it was really “DIRT” that did it for me. The song built momentum in such a beautiful way, and when it finally dropped the guitar was so searing and powerful that it felt like I was looking directly into the sun. Not for the faint of heart. Or maybe that’s exactly who it’s for. Everyone loves Horse Jumper, even if they don’t know it yet. It’s the kind of music that makes people stop dead in their tracks and ask “Wait who is this?” It’s the kind of music that refuses to sit passively in the background. It demands your attention. Needless to say, I love this band endlessly and it was a pleasure to interview them about their upcoming release, So Divine, out June 28th on Run For Cover.
The new record is coming out on Run for Cover. How did that signing come about?
We worked with Joy Void (a subsidiary of RFC) and Disposable America as a joint release getting vinyl out for our first LP. The RFC offices are also right down the street from our practice space, and Jamie may or may not have interned there for college credit.
How was the recording process for the new record different from the self-titled release?
We actually had iterations of these songs ready when we went to record the first album. We intended to finish recording LP2 much sooner but a lot of the songs changed over time in a live setting, and we ended up touring and sitting on them for a couple years. We recorded at a different location (Big Nice Studio) and spent much more time for this LP, going in and out of the studio over the course of 2 years.
Where did the inspiration for the “Poison” music video come from?
We’ve had the idea to do a music video at Dimitri’s dad’s Pizza Shop since we started playing together. It wasn’t necessarily specific to this song, but we are super happy with how it came out.
I recently saw a live session for “Orange Peeler” that dated back to 2014. It made me wonder how long you guys were working on your first record?
All the songs on the first LP were written between 2013 and 2015.
What’s the origin story of this band? You’re from Boston, correct?
Dimitri and Jamie played in a band together in high school. They beat John’s band in a battle of the bands. John begged to be in their band.
Horse Jumper of Love is a super unique name. Where did it come from?
It’s a literal translation from a Latin phrase Dimitri’s friend Monty translated in high school.
What was the writing process like for “Poison”? What was the first piece of the puzzle?
Dimitri was working as a museum security guard and would stand in a room for hours at a time. Some of the lyrics came from overhearing visitors’ conversations, for instance a little kid asking his father if he would “open your legs so I can crawl through”. After a few monotonous weeks of having the melody the rest of the song gradually came together.
How does the band normally go about writing a song? Is it more of a group effort or is it usually spearheaded by one person?
Dimitri usually brings a structure, melody and lyrics to the group and we arrange the song together. We all have input on each others parts.
Does the band draw inspiration from sources outside music? Like movies or visual art?
Dimitri gets inspiration from his own drawings, and feels that sometimes the doodles and lyrics are interchangeable.
How did the name from your new record, So Divine, come about?
The original cover Dimitri had was a drawing of Jesus with the head of a chicken and the arms of a squid. “Jesus was so divine he never entered the human form” was the caption. “So Divine” stuck out, and we ended up not using that artwork.
How do you feel like this record is different from your previous release?
The first one we just went in and played the songs, the second we spent more time on production and weren’t afraid to scrap stuff and try again.
What’s your process for writing lyrics?
Dimitri collects different things throughout the day and then connects them later, sometimes using things from years apart.