2016 has been a huge year for Southern rockers A Thousand Horses. Their sophomore album Southernality has made waves around the country music world and the band are currently preparing to head over to the UK in 2016. We were lucky enough to catch up with the Michael Hobby (Lead Vocals), Bill Satcher (Lead Guitar), Zach Brown (Guitar and Vocals) and Graham Deloach (Bass and Vocals) to discuss their meteoric rise, Southernality and their plans for the future.
How would you describe the sound of A Thousand Horses for those who haven’t heard yet?
A Thousand Horses’ sound is a mix between southern rock and country. We bring the rock ‘n roll side with the blues based licks and music and also with the country lyric and kind of the country story-telling is something we have always we have always really been infatuated with. There’s just a wide range of influences from all types of different genres and bands, but it would be classified as southern-rock country.
Rolling Stone Magazine once praised your stage presence and energy. How important to you is it that you really bring it for your live shows?
Our live show is our most important thing that we always work on every day and try to get better. So to be praised by Rolling Stone about our energy and presence is an incredible, humbling experience and an honor. Rolling Stone is a magazine that I grew up reading and always wanted to be in, and they put us in it, so it’s crazy. But the live show is the most important thing because that’s what people come and see and pay to see, and we always want to make that experience a big show and a great time for everybody.
You were resurrected by a remake of the film ‘Footloose’. Was there ever a time in your life that you believed ‘Footloose’ could play such an important role?
You know, no, you always grew up watching the original Footloose and seeing it on TV. And for them to ask us to have a song in the movie—which we had written in such a time where we had a lot going on, which was not all necessarily positive— it was an awesome thing to do and it really keep us going and kept us alive to push us. It was so much fun, and never in a million years would I have guessed that having a song on the soundtrack of Footloose would be such a blessing. It was really cool to be a part of it, and I never would have guessed it.
What do you think to the current state of country music?
I think country music is in an incredible place right now. It’s such a wide open genre. Just for all different types of artists, and having a lane: country music and country radio is incredible. You know, there’s your Chris Stapletons, to your Sam Hunts, to your Jason Aldeans, to your Cams. I mean it’s such a wide range of talented people and they’re all bringing their influences, whether it’d be hip-hop, or rock, or country, or their own new thing. I think the current state of country music is the best it’s ever been, and it’s just getting more and more bigger and popular and exciting to listen to.
Who would you list as major influences?
I’d say the Beatles, Oasis, Dwight Yoakam, Tom Petty, and the Black Crowes are some of our major influences to name a few.
‘Southernality’ has been met with a great reception from the public. Did you expect something special when you were recording it?
Well, we’d been working on the record for a while and writing it, and our goal with Southernality was to have every song have its own place in the album. So that when you view the album as a whole, it all fits together great. You know, I think the goal was
to go and make a record that we loved and something that we would want to go home and listen to at the end of the day. I don’t know if we expected something special or not but we were super happy with it.
Do listen to much British music?
Yeah, we love British music. My first album was The Beatles’ ‘Rubber Soul’. Like I said, the Beatles were one of my favorite bands…and Oasis and Noel Gallagher. I love bands like The Verve and that whole scene from the 90s, the Brit-Pop scene. And of course you can’t forget about Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. You know, kind of grew up listening to a lot of British music my whole life.
Are there any acts that you’re listening to a lot of at the moment?
Yeah, we’ve been really digging on our friends, The Brothers Osborne. We’ve been listening to them a lot, you know, they’re a new band and a new group. And I’d also kind of like to dive into some older music, we’ve been listening to a lot of John Denver on the tour bus, and also Gerry Rafferty. And, you know, we’ll throw on the occasional Drake CD every now and then to get ready for the show.
Coming from the background of touring and playing a lot of shows has paid huge dividends for the likes of Zac Brown Band who now find themselves lauded as one of the great live acts in the world now. Do you think you could take a similar route?
Extensive touring over the years has definitely paid off for us. We consider our live show to be one our strong points. Getting a chance to play together night after night, and even road test new songs is an awesome thing. It would be amazing to one day be put in that category with other great artists.
When ‘Smoke’ hit the number one on the country airplay chart how did that feel?
When Smoke hit #1, I don’t think any of us could believe it. As an artist and musician you always dream of that, but for it to actually happen is a feeling beyond words. We are very grateful.
We understand that next year you’ll be making your way over to the UK for some shows. Is this somewhere that you’ve always wanted to play?
We have been talking about traveling to the UK since we started this band. Some of our favorite bands hail from there, and we have always heard what an amazing place it is and how the people are such lovers of music. We can’t wait!
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
The next 12 months look busy. We are starting a tour with Jason Aldean in January, which we are so excited about. Also, traveling to the UK is something we are really looking forward to. So we are saddled up and ready to hit the road. The busier, the better!
You’ve worked for years on the road honing your sound. Do you feel that you’re finally reaching the place you always wanted to be?
It’s been an incredible year for us! It’s so crazy to look back on this year and realize that all of the things we’ve dreamed of for so long are actually happening. At the same time, we’re a group of guys that never stops pushing forward. We’re celebrating how far we’ve come and looking forward to how big we can take this thing!
When the deal with Interscope suddenly disappeared followed by management and booking agents was there ever a time that you considered giving up?
After the Interscope deal fell apart, we had about 6 months of down time while we pulled ourselves back together. I don’t think we ever seriously considered giving up, but we needed some time to regroup. Looking back, I think it was one of the most important times for our band. We really started to figure out our sound, and what kind of band we wanted to be. It also solidified our bond, and gave us the foundation of knowing who we were, and where we wanted to go, without any outside influence.
Signing for Big Machine is a huge move in Nashville. How excited were you to get the chance to join a roster alongside such acts as Florida Georgia Line and Eli Young Band?
Signing with Big Machine was a huge break for us. They have a killer track record of breaking new groups. They’ve also been supportive of our creative vision and committed to our band. Between Big Machine, McGhee Entertainment, and CAA, I really believe we have the best team in town.
Have you started any writing for the follow up to ‘Southernality’?
We’ve been writing all year on the road and when we’re home. We have a lot of new material that we’re super excited about! We’ve even played some of the new songs on the road and they are feeling really good.
We’d like to thank the guys from A Thousand Horses for taking the time to chat to us. We can’t wait to see them over here in the UK next year!