Austin Talks: Headless Horsemen

March 18, 2011

Our documenting duo of Victoria Masters and Dave Sutton traded words with one of this week's must-see bands, and learned what it is to be headless.

It was a good feeling to spot the familiar faces of Fareed Sajan and Conner O’Neill. It meant we’d be in for a unique treat come show time, likely involving a ukulele, a glockenspiel, maybe a megaphone, plus or minus a few pots and pans, etc. And hopefully some post-show beers too, as long as the guys could find a breather between their twelve performances lined up for Austin. Luckily they would, and now here we are:

How are your shows going this week?

C: It’s been fun so far. We are staying with someone who’s from here, he tells us it’s fairly common to play these kind of makeshift outdoor sets, we’ve got a few of those this week, we’re still getting used to that.

You have a really interesting setup on stage, directly facing each other, how’d you decide on that?

C: It was out of necessity, just as we were practicing, using what was available, we were like ‘okay we both play drums’ so we will put the drums in between us.

F: We pretty much decided on it in my parents house two weeks before our first show. All we had was my mom’s pots and pans, which we were already using in the recordings, so we expanded on that, and integrated electronics.

How did you guys get started?

F: I had a version of the band in college that was very primitive, less composed, just me and a guitar with a backing band, more in like a folk format, from a singer/songwriter perspective.

C: He graduated and had some songs that he had started recording and he couldn’t really figure out what was supposed to happen with them next…we moved in together in New York and I helped him finish the songs.

F: That’s when it became collaboration…some of those first few songs that we started, we haven’t even finished yet, it’s ongoing.

C: Yeah we spent over a year recording before we ever played a show.

Great to hear of that patience. It happens too fast sometimes.

F: Yeah we had both done projects before but nothing that was terribly serious, so with this we really wanted to perfect it and figure out what our sound is, which we are still doing.

As far as what we see live, how does that correspond to the way these songs are written?

F: We’re catching up, like our live setup is about catching up with how it’s written… it’s all about functionality, how we can do these songs just between us two, and seeing how far we can take them without adding more people. It hasn’t entirely caught up yet, but it will.

C: It’s a recording project that we’re trying to realize live.

At one of your residency nights in Manhattan, I really dug it when you introduced a new song and warned us that it wasn’t finished. Are you constantly trying things out like that?

C: Yeah we’ve always got at least three or four songs in the works.

F: We can record anywhere; it’s really simple, a laptop, that audio box, a microphone…

C: Wherever we go we have our stuff with us, we’re always working on it. I actually want to record down here too, in Austin, just to like “get that.”

Okay, here’s the question about your name.

C: Headless Horseman just kind of made sense like anything does when you’re kicking words around in your head, it’s also a tribute to one of our favorite bands…

F: But it’s more significant than that, it describes our process, what we want to do as artists, not relying on over intellectualizing things, just trying to be intuitive and quick. I tend to over think things, he’s more intuitive, and that’s where we are trying to take it.

C: Be Headless.

F: We should make a slogan: Be Headless.

Nice. This feature has its title.

Headless Horseman host a growing collection of songs at their bandcamp .


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