An Horse is a two-person band from Australia that is quickly galloping into the hearts of a legion of fans. Kate Cooper is the band's openly lesbian guitarist/vocalist; with straight guy Damon Cox drummer/vocalist, the members bring their worlds together to make music. Their sophomore album, Walls, was released recently and they sat backstage during Lollapalooza with Windy City Times to talk about it.
Windy City Times: Hello, Kate and Damon. I read you are both from Australia and met at a record store.
Kate Cooper: We worked at a record store in Brisbane, yeah.
Windy City Times: It was an independent record store?
Kate Cooper: Yes, it was a great record store. We actually wound up practicing in the record store after hours. There was a little PA set up for in-stores so we just used that. It is still my favorite practice room ever.
Damon Cox: It was awesome.
Windy City Times: Were the acoustics good?
Kate Cooper: Actually, I remember it sounded kind of terrible but it looked really good. It was inspiring playing amongst the records…
DC: …and albums…
Kate Cooper: The posters also; the store had been open for like 15 years or something.
DC: More like 30.
Kate Cooper: Bands like Sleater-Kinney were on the wall.
Windy City Times: Do you like them?
Kate Cooper: I love them. I am pretty excited about their Wild Flag project. That is Carrie Brownstein's new group. You have to check it out.
Windy City Times: They have such a huge following much like Tegan and Sara, who you toured with.
Kate Cooper: That was incredible for us. It was our first tour. We actually met them in the record store. That store was the center of our lives!
DC: It was an in-store where we worked. Kate was a fan. It was dreamy for you just to meet them wasn't it?
Kate Cooper: I wasn't like a crazy fan but I thought they were great songwriters. My boss at the time always made us get posters signed for work. Whoever was the fan had to go up and get it signed and he knew I liked them. It was a bit humiliating. I stood in line at the end of the line and finally got there and they wanted to know why I waited in line since I worked there. I said, "He made me do it." We just became friends after that.
We hung out that night and were friends for years. I gave them music and Sara asked us to go on tour. I thought she was joking.
Windy City Times: They are one of those grassroots bands.
Kate Cooper: Yeah, they are very supportive.
Windy City Times: Where did the name An Horse come from? I am sure you get asked that a lot.
DC: It started as a grammatical argument between Kate and her neighbor, who happened to be her sister. What did you think?
Kate Cooper: I didn't really think much. I don't think as much as my sister; she thinks more than me. She told me one day when I said "a horse" that it was not correct, that it's "an horse." It would go back and forth. My sister is a funny one. I would come home and there was a paper on my door with "an horse" written on it. One day she made me a sweater with it on it and people asked me if that was the name of the band. So we needed a name and there it was.
DC: Either people love it or hate it.
Kate Cooper: People might hate it but it is actually correct. You say "an hour" right? Or "an horrific" or "an historic." As a writer you probably refer to different style manuals so some say it's correct, some say it is not.
Windy City Times: So the debate goes on…
Kate Cooper: It's provocative.
Windy City Times: Windy City Times is focused on the LGBT community so I was excited to see an openly lesbian singer down at Lollapalooza this year.
Kate Cooper: I'm a huge lesbian! [Everyone laughs.] Am I the sole representative? I don't doubt there is a couple more. It is not a big deal. It has never been a big deal. There is nothing that I need to discuss anymore than Damon here needs to talk about being straight.
Windy City Times: It is a good angle, though.
Kate Cooper: Totally. I feel very lucky that it is not an issue.
Windy City Times: Do they have gay marriage in Australia?
Kate Cooper: No, they don't. We have the same rights now because the United Nations said there were 76 breaches of human rights in the Australian government with same sex couples. In the last few years they have rectified that. I am still trying to get married now. If I get married in Canada it is not recognized in Australia. The government is starting to talk about it slowly but surely. I am pretty sure the population is for it. New York passed it. [Opposition] is crumbling.
Windy City Times: I think so, too.
Kate Cooper: I hope so. Don't get me started I will just go on about it…
Windy City Times: Do you both live in Australia?
DC: I do.
Kate Cooper: I live in Toronto because my girlfriend is from Montreal. She recently got a job in Toronto so we moved there.
Windy City Times: That will be a big change.
Kate Cooper: We have been there since October and I haven't been home most of the time. She's French so…
Windy City Times: You speak French?
Kate Cooper: No, but I try. Every time my girlfriend makes fun of me. She says, "You sound terrible; that is not a French accent." She's not the most encouraging teacher.
Windy City Times: Well, the accent has got to be hot!
Kate Cooper: It is so great. That is what I miss about living in Montreal because she speaks French and it is hotter. She sounds great in English too. I don't understand anything. I just sit and listen to people talk a beautiful language. I'm in heaven. I am tuned out but still tuned in to the beauty.
Windy City Times: How did you meet?
Kate Cooper: It was through Sara Quin from Tegan and Sara.
Windy City Times: Sara is a sweetheart. Anyways back to the music. Your album Walls is still pretty new. What do you want to tell people about it?
Kate Cooper: I think they should listen to it. They should buy it not steal it. If they want to steal that's cool but maybe buy it later. That would be rad because that helps pay the rent. I feel very proud of our record and I hope people like it.
Windy City Times: Your website, www.anhorse.com, seems very active.
DC: We have a lot of new things coming out on it.
Kate Cooper: We have lots of touring.
Windy City Times: Yes, coming back to Chicago.
DC: You better come to the show at the Beat Kitchen.
Windy City Times: See you both there!
Look for An Horse to ride into town Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Beat Kitchen. Buy tickets at www.beatkitchen.com .