IN CONVERSATION with WHITE HORSES about their hymn to freedom “THE CAN CAN MAN”

WHITE HORSES is the musical project by Stuart Harris, who has been writing and recording music for years and has worked with the likes of Trevor Horn, The Pet Shop Boys, Motorhead and Captain Sensible. White Horses recently enlisted the talent of vocalist and guitarist James Deane and singer-songwriter Mim Grey for the “Hazy Daze” and “Butterfly Girl” EPs. Today they’re sitting with us to tell us more about their rock hymn “THE CAN CAN MAN”, inspired by a lonely drive in the English countryside.

YMX: Hey WHITE HORSES, thanks for sitting down with us. What would you say to all our readers new to your project?

WHITE HORSES: Hope you like the track that I wrote about a biker character riding around the United States, featuring John James Newman, excellent vocal, and the considerable guitar talent of Mike Moody and Stuart Dixon!

YMX: When did you know that music was something you wanted to pursue at an artistic level?

WH: When I was around 12 or 13, I started making early experimental recordings on an old 2 track tape recorded of my fathers. I had bought some drums and an electric guitar from a second hand shop, and I used to mess about with school friends playing along to early Beatles records. Later when I was around 15, I meet a guy who was a guitarist and he was 6 years older than me, and we used to jam with his friends, I played drums. This is the first time anything I had done sounded like Music. It was so exciting, to in a real band. I bought a Cassette 4 track Portastudio when I was 16 and started writing and recording my own songs, learning Bass guitar and trying to sing.

YMX: You’ve recently released “THE CAN CAN MAN”. Can you tell us how that project came about?

WH: “The Can Can Man” song came to me as I was driving home over the Ridgeway on the A34. There is this huge sweeping vista as you come over the crescent of the hill heading South, and heavy rhythm of the into chord just started playing in my head, extraordinary! I had the whole song in my head within minutes, and when I got home I grabbed the guitar to figure out the chords. I find the best songs come very quickly. And this one strangely didn’t involve me touching an instrument at all when I wrote it.

YMX: What is the one thing you would like people to feel while listening to the single?

WH: Freedom! Pure escape from your daily worries.

YMX: How did the recent pandemic influence your creative process? is remote collaboration easy for you?

WH: write by myself, but sound ideas off a couple of people, including Producer Damon Sawyer of Crescent Records Studio where I record in Swindon. I usually send demos of song sketches, of acoustic guitar and vocals, recorded on my phone. So no change to the writing process, but the recording during lock down had to employ distancing measures with other players in the studio.

YMX: Do you feel more confident writing music alone, or within a team?

WH: Alone, although I have collaborated in the past, Sound of Sea was written with singer and songwriter James Deane, and John James Newman worked with me to improve the phrasing and melodies of some of the vocal parts on certain songs.

© Licensed to Rebecca Mckevitt. 21/09/2014. Liam, Stuart Harris and Damon. Burghfield Reading, Berkshire. Photo credit : Rebecca Mckevitt

YMX: Can you name the last gig you played? Would you consider doing a livestream concert?

WH: I don’t really do gigs, as my voice is not really up to scratch, I am a writer. But I would like to do a gig at some point. I guess live steaming is a good way to go. But to be honest I prefer the Recorded work. It is how I intend you to hear it, not some rough impression of the work.

YMX: Finally, what are your plans for the future?

WH: Let’s see what I write. If I don’t write then there will be nothing. I secretly don’t want to write for a bit now, because I can not imagine how to top my latest album Sound of Sea. I think I need a year off to get some new ideas together before I record anything else original. I have done three albums now “Soul on Fire” was back in 2012, “Down to the Water” in 2015 and last year “Sound of Sea”. I have got plans to record a couple of cover songs with James Deane next month, just for fun. Then in July I will be going ti live and work in Italy until next year.

Listen to “THE CAN CAN MAN” on Spotify: