Since 2006, Justin Ringle has been releasing expertly crafted folk music with a rotating cast of band members under the name Horse Feathers. Roughly every other year, the group has managed to release a new full-length album of superb quality while touring across the United States and Europe. Currently, Ringle & Co. are back in the studio working on the follow-up to 2010’s Thistled Spring that was released by Kill Rock Stars.
Don’t make the mistake of consdering Horse Feathers just another folk act from the Pacific Northwest. Although the genre is well-worn in our neck of the woods, the construction of thoughtful melodies and empty space make Horse Feathers something all together more ethereal. The best word I can think of is craftmanship. Like a solid oak table, Horse Feathers build songs to last. And it’s the earnesty in the songs that give Horse Feather an edge about others in the field, even when playing someone else’s song.
Justin Ringle was kind enough to chat with us about working on the band’s new record, touring, and his favorite moments playing live over email earlier this month. We wish him and the rest of members of Horse Feathers all the best as they continue to create what will no doubt be another fine album in their already admirable history of releases.
How was touring earlier this year? Did you have a favorite city?
Touring went really well this year. We just made some rounds in the US and Europe. I really enjoyed our shows in Colorado in general, and we had some really great shows in Paris which, up until this year, was not the case.
Where are you recording your next album?
I’ve been working on this record at Miracle Lake Studios and at home with Skyler Norwood.
What’s a typical studio session like for you guys?
There really hasn’t been a “typical” one for this record. I have been working with a lot of different people on this one, and each session has been mostly a product of who’s available on which day for how long. We’ve had a french horn player in the morning and a piaon player in the afternoon kind-of-days quite a bit.
How will the next album compare to your previous material?
I think this one has a little bit more variety and some different textures. But, I really don’t know; I’m so close to it right now.
Would you ever consider putting out a live album?
I’ve thought about it some. It would be a cool project for sure!
What’s your favorite memory of a live show – either one you’ve played or one you’ve attended?
On my second U.S. tour we played in a gaslit historical church in rural Vermont in October. It was amazingly spooky and cool, and during the day the leaves were beautiful. Still think about that one.
L.A. on several occasions.
Who are your favorite bands in Portland at the moment?
Death Songs is amazing.
What are your plans for Horse Feathers going forward?
The record will come out this spring, and then kicking into touring again. Going to have some different folks playing with me live this year which I’m excited about.
Do you know when your next live show will be?
Right now, I think it’s going to be SXSW in March.
Thanks to Justin for the interview. You can find more about Horse Feathers on their website, any of their albums are worth your money and their live shows are not to be missed. To read more interviews, check out our features with The Thermals and Portugal. The Man from earlier this year.