What does it take to open for acts like Death Cab for Cutie, Tegan and Sara, or Silversun Pickups? Kate Cooper — half of the Australian indie-pop duo An Horse, which has opened for all three — chalks it up to politeness.
“It helps that they like our music, but I think it helps even more that we are nice people,” she said. “I guess that’s it? It’s certainly a bit of luck.”
And probably more to do with musical capabilities than chance and courtesy. Cooper and bandmate Damon Cox laid the foundations for An Horse for several years, working together and talking music daily in a Brisbane record store before ever playing a single note. “We learned how we spoke about music, and I feel like more bands should do that, because we immediately knew musically what we were talking about with each other,” Cooper said. “You develop a language when you are in a band, and before we started this band, we had already figured that out.”
The two settled on a deeply personal, indie-pop sound that mirrors the aforementioned tourmates Tegan and Sara. Of course, airing that private laundry was a little odd at first, especially when thrust in front of tens of thousands of live listeners.
“I tried, and still try, not to think about it too much,” Cooper said, laughing. “Really, though, everyone who writes songs writes them from a heartfelt place … and that’s just what good, honest music is. I’m sure some of the people I’m writing about in my songs don’t appreciate it, but they’ll make it.”
An Horse packed a lot of activity into its first two years, releasing a debut album, “Rearrange Beds,” and touring relentlessly. That made settling down to record the now-out followup, “Walls,” a lot easier than one would think.
“We’d been touring for two years behind that album, and were really ready to move on,” she said. “We weren’t in the position to take a year off. It was more that we needed to make another record, and we wanted to make another record.”
She certainly feels that the result is a lot more polished.
“The first record, Damon and I hadn’t even played a show together yet. Now, God knows how many shows are under our belt,” she said. “I think you can hear that we are playing well together, and I think everything about it is better.”
Although she refuses to read reviews, Cooper has enjoyed the songs’ reception out on the road, currently with Manchester Orchestra. If no one enjoyed else enjoyed it, her checklist still would be satisfied.
“My mom likes it, Damon’s mom likes it, I like it,” she said. “That’s all the feedback I need.”