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Sherlock’s Daughter Interview

“Sherlock’s Daughter’s appeal is no mystery” – Sentimentalist Magazine

“Sherlock’s Daughter employ lush, speckled, swooping, diving slurpscapes that echo the snuggle-crackle of bands like Animal Collective and Broadcast, but with a poppier streak that aligns them with the sunniest of nu-indie.” – Village Voice

“Some bands seem to come pre-packaged, seemingly delivered out of thin air. Then there are others who crash the party with explosive new sounds and transgressive stage sets that force people to take notice. Such is the case with Sherlock’s Daughter.” – Interview Magazine

After receiving considerable critical acclaim in their native Australia, including receiving the Sydney Music Arts and Culture Award for ‘Next Big Thing’ in 2009, Sherlock’s Daughter made a foray to the states which has turned into a U.S. migration. While playing as resident artists at the reputable NYC venue Piano’s, they were discovered by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and producer John Agnello. Since then they’ve played the SXSW festival in Austin, TX, the CMJ festival in New York City, and amongst some of independent music’s most popular names, including the Charlatans (UK), and School of Seven Bells.

Holding together an intricate web of synthesizer, video game sounds, and even at times the glockenspiel, lead singer Tanya Horo creates a mesmerizing ambient sound-space with her gossamer voice and hypnotic lyrics. Having released a full length EP in May, the band is becoming a major force in the nu-indie scene.

MVRemix: Can you tell us about the move from Australia to the US?

Tanya Horo: Our move to NYC came as a surprise to us. We had been over here 2009 to do CMJ, we loved it and after returning back to Sydney found out we’d been accepted to play SXSW 2010. we looked online to find prices for air-fares, they were pretty cheap so we booked them straight away – this was probably November. Come January we were getting ready to leave and started the P1 process to play SXSW – at that point someone in the band said ‘why don’t we just move to America’… which we all agreed was a great idea, so that month saw us pretty much moving out of sydney, it was fast and impulsive, but paid off, well almost, one of our members had nightmares once in NYC, he thought the world was going to end so moved back home… it was sad to lose him, but the rest of us love it here, and if the world is going to end why not be in NY!

MVRemix: Are there differences in the music scene over there compared to here, either in the audience or at the industry level?

Tanya Horo: The difference is population. Obviously Sydney/Australia is quite small comparatively. There are more bands here, most of them are amazing, more industry, people to hear your music and more people to love different types of music. In Australia/NZ as the industry is so small I guess it’s more controlled over there as to what you hear, unless you’re constantly on blogs, however over in America the spectrum of music is so much wider, so most genres will find an audience here, this is purely an uneducated view on the way it works, but for us, being in America is proving to be a better decision as we are not so much an ‘obvious’ band when it comes to music… and NY is very open to diversity.

MVRemix: Has the band found a comfort zone in New York City and are you all still sharing the same apartment?

Tanya Horo: We are all sharing the same apartment and we have only one record player. Our drummer actually lives with his beautiful girlfriend in Bushwick but he’s pretty much here all the time, I wont go and see him as the last time I did I sat next to guy on the train that kept pulling out his gun telling the guy next to me that he was going to shot the guy opposite him if he kept staring at him. It’s fun living together, we fight, but we are very much family, the place is quite big so we can hid in our bedrooms. We have a home studio which is great, all we do is pretty much write, listen to music and day dream about playing together in our 80’s.

MVRemix: It must have been quite a shock to be rubbing elbows with the likes of Thurston Moore so soon after you arrived here. Are you still working with Sonic Youth producer John Agnello?

Tanya Horo: Yeah that was definitely a trip, crazy, especially as Thurston Moore is in the realm of a God to us and luckily we are all pantheon in nature so we can have a few. John is also one of them, we loved working with him, he’s got to be the most coolest human being we’ve ever met, we are like kids on speed in the studio and he was so calm and collected. It was an awesome experience and we can’t wait to get our record out.

MVRemix: After so much recording time in the studio, do you think it’s helped you develop the way you deliver your lyrics?

Tanya Horo: Hmm… maybe, no maybe yes? It definitely has helped us with the way we deliver our sound, becoming a bit more pedantic, a bit more tech aware, lyrically no, as in changing lyrics, singing the actual lyrics, I guess, you can hear the flow a bit more as you can actually become objective rather than subjective, you hear it with a different ear I guess, it’s a good question, I wish I had a better answer.

MVRemix: Do you prefer studio recording or performing live?

Tanya Horo: Both, both offer such different experiences, recording is great – especially when you don’t have time constraints or budget constraints as you can really experiment with your sound and of course live is where you see if all your hard work pays off. I personally wouldn’t want to do one without the other. I love both just the same.

MVRemix: As the band continues to grow, have you noticed thematic changes in your lyric writing?

Tanya Horo: No not really, I think as a creature of habit, you have your way in lyrics. Within Sherlock’s Daughter when I write lyrics my scope is quite broad anyway, I love the idea of creating a story, being the narrator, becoming quite personal, cold, in love, out of love, bored etc. etc. I try and write without constraint, it doesn’t matter to me whether it makes sense sometimes, as long as it feels right, sometimes my lyrics are non sensical and other times far to obvious. I guess the only thing is, is that the older you get, the more experiences you’ve had and the things that were once important are overtaken by new things.

MVRemix: Are the lyrics written collaboratively?

Tanya Horo: They are not intentionally written only by me if that makes sense, being the singer, I think it’s important to feel the words you sing and write within your natural meter. I think we have one song where it was a collaboration and it’s a great song, we think. We also took lyrics from Oscar Wilde for that song, he will get a credit, so normally I do the writing lyrically, unless they are bad of course, subjective [laughs] and then the guys will help me change it if I’m stuck.

MVRemix: Can you give us an idea of where the lyrics come from, either in terms of your imagination or from a literary perspective?

Tanya Horo: So for me, lyrics are my favorite part, I love words, I love being lost in words, I’m a romantic at heart and words definitely sit in pleasant places in my body. I dream lyrics or stories, kids as an example was a dream I had and I woke wanting to tell that story, same as ‘Out Here in the Cold’ and ‘Sons and Daughters’ they all came from crazy beautiful dark dreams, sometimes it’s about what words sound good together as in ‘Reprise’ I barely write about my life, I have a few times, but I feel uncomfortable, like it’s a therapy session, ‘Hush’ was that type of song and I always feel quite naked singing that song, but mainly imagination.

MVRemix: I read you wrote to [director] Guy Ritchie asking about doing some soundtrack work for his Sherlock Holmes film. That was a couple of years ago. Since your growth in popularity has anything developed on that front?

Tanya Horo: [laughs] Yeah I did, he never responded, I mean come on, I named the band Sherlock’s Daughter after Arthur Conan Doyle, Guy Ritchie was doing ‘Sherlock Holmes’ I was so damn excited and he didn’t respond, I mean how rude! ha no seriously. I don’t think it has anything to do with me writing that email,I think it all comes down to hard work and never giving up, I wish it did I was just mainly excited to see the credits … it would have been a blast!

MVRemix: You probably have made the trek already, but have you visited Los Angeles yet?

Tanya Horo: We have, I personally have lived there for 2 months a while ago when I was solo doing shows etc, Los Angeles is great, I feel it’s very different to NY, I think you need a good base over there, you can’t really just ‘go’ anywhere, it all needs to be planned and you need a car, and it seems kinda ‘easy’ over there to become complacent. It’s sunny all the time, everyone’s tanned, they smile, they laugh and they talk about what they are doing all the time, (sounds terrible!!) but it feels um, not real to me, I like the challenge of NY, I love seeing how hard everyone works here, and it makes you work harder, now of course people can feel that way about LA as well, so it’s completely subjective again, however I think you are either a LA type person or a NY type person, I think we are all NY types.

MVRemix: When can we look forward to your touring the West Coast, Canada, or internationally?

Tanya Horo: Very soon, very soon! We are very excited about it, nothing better than jumping on a bus and leaving your life behind you to tour, or taking your life with you I guess, we love touring, I love touring. I hate sleeping in the same bed… I love hotel beds, or sleeping on the floor, forgetting what day it is, playing every night, it’s awesome.

By Jon Bennett

Jon Bennett is a musician and writer living in San Francisco.

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