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Q&A: Horde and the Harem bring Seattle’s music scene to Sam Bond’s



Horde and the Harem, a Seattle band led by Ryan Barber, is making their way to Sam Bond’s Garage this Thursday, September 18. In honor of their return, Barber chatted with the Emerald to tell us more about how the band became what it is today.

Q: Tell me a little bit about the Horde and the Harem.

A: The band has been around for a little over five years. We’ve had a few members changes but we’ve put out two EPs and an album. We’ve done three tours of South by Southwest and we are looking to do a national tour in the spring and possibly Europe in the summer.

Q: How did you get involved with the other members of the band?

A: None of the original band members are in the band. I look at it as we do well. We tour, we play the bigger venues shows but it’s a commitment. We practive twice a week, we tour, but it’s not always easy. People are always like, “oh, you’re in a band that’s so fun!” and I’m like “uhh kinda.” You know, it’s hard work. I play with a bunch of musicians that — a lot of the time — are even better than I am at their instrument. I think that I chose people that are often able to front their own bands and I think that’s something that is really great, and I support that. They play with me for a couple of years and eventually they have to go and do their own thing.

Q: How did you yourself get involved with music?

A: I’ve always been writing songs since I was really little, like 11 or 12, and then in high school I was in a funk band — I grew up in Bend, Oregon — and so we were actually pretty good; we played a couple festivals in Bend opening up for these big bands. We played for Tower of Power and like all these really big funk bands. So then I was like “I’m not going to college,” and my dad was like, “No. You’re going to college,” so I actually ended up going to UC Santa Cruz and studying composition and voice. I teach music, I perform, I mean that’s just kind of my life.

Q: How would you classify your band’s music?

A: It’s definitely song-based. Originally the stuff from a couple years ago was really like orchestral rock, it was kind of like this three or four part harmony in each song but it’s kind of changed from that. This record, Fairweather Friends, is like a real EP that should be listened to the whole way through, it’s kind of like a story. What I’m trying to get at is the new EP is more a mix of a lot of different aspects. But yeah I guess I would say like psychedelic Americano — it’s also kind of Wilco-ish a little bit.

Q: What are you most looking forward to for this performance at Sam Bond’s ?

A: We have some songs that I’m looking forward to showing people. It’s cool you know, depending on if school’s in or what we’re kind of battling, you can get some pretty good crowds in there. You know people are just like, “hey we saw you two years ago and now we’re back,” so it’s cool to see the people who have stayed connected with the band. It’s cool to see those people who have loved the record and it’s become part of their life.

The otherwise classified indie folk band’s show will kick off Thursday at 9 p.m. and be followed by the Americana band, Beatroot.


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