Two and a half years later Whitehurst seems to be less angry. When I talked to him recently he was doing especially well. “All my roommates are gone so I have the house to myself for three weeks,” he says. “I’m so excited. It’s my vacation. Even though I don’t work.”
It’s also been a productive year for Psychedelic Horse[expletive]. The band — which is basically Whitehurst and whoever he can con(vince) to join him for a while — signed to U.K. label FatCat and released its best album to date, “Laced.” Everything that preceded “Laced” in the PH catalogue was some degree of confrontational, existing on the far fringes of the lo-fi indie rock scene. “Laced” is still plenty weird but is surprisingly accessible. The harsh noise is largely absent, with woozy synths and Whitehurst’s nasal, sneering chants forming an oddly alluring combination.
Whitehurst still finds a lot wrong with the current musical landscape. “I hate that new R&B movement,” he say. “It’s [expletive]. Everyone’s just like, Oh, I’m going to be all R&B now, this is cool! Because Ariel Pink, he’s kind of R&B, right? And he’s popular. Let’s sound like Ariel Pink and do this fake, lo-fi, R&B [expletive]. And it’s just like, [Expletive] off! ‘If you take acid and listen to bad 12-inches from the ’80s you’ll love our music!’ [Expletive] off!”
But during this interview there’s one band in particular Whitehurst criticizes — Psychedelic Horse[expletive]. His label may not like to hear it, but Whitehurst is very much over his new album. “I don’t really liked ‘Laced,’ he says. “It’s not where I want to be. It’s pretty disconnected.” His soon-to-be-completed new album is another story. “It’s the first time that as I’ve been making it I’m really excited about what I’m doing and where it’s going,” he says.
Psychedelic Horse[expletive] visits Rock and Roll Hotel on Friday. As of a couple weeks ago Whitehurst had no bandmates. (He has more than two dozen ex-bandmates, though.) “We have those shows soon and I don’t have a band together yet. It’s going to be exciting,” he says. “So I’m going to put together a band of [expletive] renegade drug users and go out and destroy [expletive]. I just got to get my [expletive] together.”
If that last part ever happens, God help us all. After the jump, Whitehurst talks about blowback from the 2009 interview, the importance of self-criticism and what exactly he does all day.
When we talked a while ago you said you wanted to make a cleaner, more focused records and “Laced” certainly qualifies. Is it what you were hoping to achieve?
What I was talking to you about is maybe what I’m starting to work on now. “Laced” is a transition record from our old stuff to where we want to go. It was recorded on the same kind of machine that we used for all the old stuff. I don’t know. I’m not super-proud of “Laced” for whatever reason. It doesn’t feel like a Psychedelic Horse[expletive] record to me. Not that I even know what a Psychedelic Horse[expletive] record is.
I’m still going to make a classic album. That hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know if this next one will be it. We’re definitely getting there. I have no doubt in my mind that I’m gonna make a record that I’m100% in love with. Which I haven’t really done yet.
Also last time we talked, you got a lot out of your system. That was two and a half years ago, and the whole lo-fi trend really did sort of just come and go.Those big bands are still around but it seems like it has died down a bunch. Is that what you thought would happen?
It’s what I wanted to happen. I hope that some of those kids read that interview and were like, What am I doing?
Did you get any [expletive] for anything you said?
Oh, absolutely. I got tons of [expletive]. A lot of people wrote us off as some jackasses after that. People who never heard our music were like, This sucks, I love Wavves, [expletive] that [expletive]! And a lot of people I talked about in that interview were like, What the [expletive], man? I got tons of calls about that interview. And I was like, Whatever.
I don’t have any regrets. I meant what I said when I said it. A lot of the people I dissed in that interview, I don’t have anything personally against them. I think they’re good people and I’m sorry that I hurt some people’s feelings. But I also meant what I said. That [expletive] was happening. I wasn’t delusional. A lot of that [expletive] was going on. Maybe that opened some people’s eyes and made them think about what they were doing. Which I guess was the purpose of it.
So right now there doesn’t seem to be a steady Psychedelic Horse[expletive] lineup or anything.
It’s just me in my room making a new record right now. I’m actually really excited, though. I haven’t been this excited about Psychedelic Horse[expletive] in a really long time. I’m really, really excited about the new stuff that’s being recorded. I feel like I’m finally making a record I care about for the first time. I’ll stand beside our records but as far as where I’m at now, the record that I’m making right now is something that a year from now I’ll think is really good. Whereas “Laced” I’ll probably think back on that as something that’s a little bit immature musically.
You definitely speak your mind but you’ve always been very self-critical, as well.
Yeah, I’m very honest. I’ll be the first person to criticize some [expletive] I don’t like. But I’ll be the first person to criticize my own [expletive]. There’s a level of honestly. I’m not gonna lie to myself about something and tell myself I’m the [expletive] when I’m not. I know when it’s the [expletive]! Our records are decent but I wouldn’t say they’re great or anything. I’ll talk [expletive] on other people all day but I can also go off on a three hour rampage about how [expletive] horrible Psychedelic Horse[expletive] is and mean every word of it. You have to be self-critical or you’re being dishonest. Keep yourself honest is the first thing.
So what’s a normal day for you? I’m just trying to picture your life.
A normal day ... I wake up. If I’ve got weed maybe I’ll smoke a little weed. If I don’t, I won’t. I take a bike ride down to the river every day and read for like two hours by the river with the ducks. So it’s just me and a bunch of ducks and a park bench. And a river. And a book. I do that every day. I come home and if I feel like working on music I do that. If I don’t I go to the bar across the street. Might have some drinks. It’s been a pretty heavy drug summer in Columbus. There have been all these weird, psychedelic, experimental chemicals.
But my general day is just wake up, get an espresso, ride my bike, read, come home, maybe work on music a little bit, maybe go have a drink. It’s pretty basic. I don’t have a job. My job is Psychedelic Horse[expletive]. I don’t make money off of Psychedelic Horse[expletive] so I’m a pretty broke person. I pay my rent by selling my food stamps every month. Pretty much the extent of my income is the money I get for selling my food stamps. That pays my bills and everything. Maybe I’ll sell a record so I can have a little extra money to party.