Described as experimental metalcore, HORSE the band uses the Korg MS2000 synthesizer to achieve an 8-bit video game-influenced sound. Jokingly self-labeled "Nintendocore," they reference Nintendo characters in some songs, including Cut Man, from the popular 8-bit NES game Mega Man in the song "Cutsman"; Birdo, one of the bosses from the NES game Super Mario Bros. 2, in the song "Birdo"; and the rabbit-like nemesis from The Legend of Zelda in the song "Pol's Voice."
In a 3-month headlining world tour spanning seven countries (self-managed), HTB was able to soon after book gigs supporting The Dillinger Escape Plan, Hella, Between the Buried and Me. They later toured with Poison the Well, and the Fall of Troy. In 2006, they toured with Gatsby’s American Dream, but dropped off the tour early due to their addiction to Chicago Pizza. They recorded their album Pizza, as well as performing the Warped Tour, Sounds of Underground Tour, and playing shows with GWAR.
The band recorded their album creation process on a YouTube channel. They added their comical episodes of “Lawrence and Friends.”
Horse the Band is: Nathan Winneke (vocals), Chris Prophet (drums), David Isen (guitarist), Dashiell "Dash" Arkenstone (bassist), Erik Engstrom (keyboardist).
Horse the Band
Interview with guitarist David Isen by Roya Butler
Tell me about your current tour?
Isen: This tour is the radiclysm; it’s a radical cataclysm-- it’s about surfing down the lava flow of an erupting volcano on a manatee, and wearing super cool sunglasses. The tour is going to be over in a couple days, but it was really extreme while it lasted; we had a lot of cheese parties in the van on the way to the shows.
How did you get the name 'horse the band'?
Isen: It’s really a mystery to everyone--I can't remember that far back.
How did you acquire the contacts to self-manage your tours?
Isen: We haven't booked our own tours for a couple years now, but back in the day we used message boards, and a lot of persistence. A lot of the promoters came to us when we would send out the word that we were booking a tour.
Tell me about how you dropped out of a tour due to Chicago pizza?
Isen: We were eating at Lou Malnati's in Chicago with my grandparents. We entered a state of pizza induced coma. It was a trancelike state where we were compelled to immediately return home and express our love of this pizza through music.
Tell me about your album 'pizza' and your tour with GWAR in support of the album.
Isen: The album is actually kind of dumb. 'A natural death', our full length coming out this summer is going to be much better. GWAR was cool; but that tour had nothing to do with pizza...in fact it took place months before the pizza album even came out.
Why are there so many Nintendo references in your lyrics (according to Metal Hammer UK)?
Isen: There are Nintendo references in 3 of our songs: Cutsman, Pol’s Voice, Birdo--they serve as metaphors for something else that is important in Nathan’s life.
Tell us a little about your YouTube channel--do you have a link for our readers?
Isen: We made a TV show about recording our album; it is way better than other studio documentaries, which are all extremely boring. Ours also has the now world famous sitcom 'Lawrence and Friends' mixed in with it. I don’t know the link, but just look up horse the band studio or something.
What inspires your music?
Isen: We’re inspired by cheese, other savory foods, nature, colors, and the unbearable lightness of being.