There’s something pretty unique and amazing about a group of friends coming together for the sole purpose of creating original music without the fears of sounding contemporary or ‘fitting in’ with what’s already current. The joint audio venture of Tommie Sunshine, Bart B More & Rip Tide has become known as HORSEPOWER. as they attack EDM with resilience, originality, and a whole lotta fun. If you didn’t catch it, we did a feature on the guys not too long ago and praised their remix of the Scissor Sisters’ anthem, ‘Only The Horses’.
With a passion for making creative music without a label, Horsepower charged into the studio recently for a 10 day recording session. Through their Twitter accounts we chronicled their time together even as DJ Pierre joined the trio in creating a “big acid-monster ” as Rip Tide describes. In the midst of their busy schedule and short time together, the guys answered some questions for us – as their first official Horsepower interview! Without further ado ladies and gentleman, hit the jump to see our exclusive interview with Bart B More, Rip Tide and Tommie Sunshine, collectively known as HORSEPOWER. Oh and thank Tommie for the awesomely random picture we used!
So for our readers that aren’t familiar, could you guys introduce yourselves? Where are you all from?
BART: I’m Bart, Bart B More, 28, from Utrecht/Holland
MAX: I’m Max, RipTide, 27, from Hilversum/Holland
TOMMIE: Tommie Sunshine, 41 from Chicago USA/now Brooklyn USA
Got any big plans for the summer?
TOMMIE: Finishing our album is #1 on my list.
MAX: Well festivals of course. Really looking forward to playing Exit Festival actually, that should be good.
BART: Yeah, Exit should be good. Just in general looking forward to touring and playing all the new music we’ve been creating.
Ok so the obvious question on everyone’s mind, how did you guys meet and all decide to form this group? And where did the name Horsepower come from?
TOMMIE: I respected both Bart & Max’s music very much. It seemed natural to bring Max into what was had already begun by Bart & myself (previously “Bodywork”, “Drop Acid”). The name came from the intent of the music; I wanted to project a seriousness yet a sense of power. It’s also a nod to The Chemical Brothers.
MAX: Tommie discovered me back in the day on Myspace, wrote to me and then we met up the next time he came to Amsterdam. It’s also mostly through him that I got to know about Bart and his music, and at one point we just started hanging out. Then Bart and Tommie were gonna get together to make music and I got invited there and didn’t leave, that’s basically it.
BART: it’s weird that Tommie and I met before I met Max. We basically live next to each other but it took someone from New York to bring us together.
Is it difficult to meet up and work on new material when you guys are on different schedules and located all over?
MAX: Well because we all have so many things going on at once it’s actually ok like this, we get together a couple of times a year and lock ourselves in Bart’s house for two weeks, and just make music nonstop. I personally feel it’s good to get a bit of distance from the tracks and then revisit them a couple of months later, I always have such a different perspective on things after a while, which can drive the other guys crazy sometimes but I like it.
TOMMIE: I envy bands that get to spend a year making an album & then tour together, writing new music the entire time. That being said this is our reality so I think we make the best possible situation out of what limited time we have.
BART: the Horsepower studio sessions feel like a school trip. You get to get away from the stuff you normally do and just have fun and go crazy. We don’t really have any boundaries when we make music and that’s what I love about it.
How would you describe your collective sound? Or is it even possible to fit Horsepower into a particular genre?
TOMMIE: What you’re hearing is our collective sounds & influences distilled down to a serious level of purity. We make music to project the joy we had getting together making it. I don’t believe there is a genre coined yet for most of what we’ve done together.
MAX: I believe the in the 20 original tracks we’ve made we have covered almost every genre so no.
BART: It’s quite impossible haha, most of it is dance floor is orientated off course, we just want to make people dance.
Do you guys have any plans to tour together as Horsepower?
MAX: Not as dj’s no, that just wouldn’t make sense. Maybe one day a live show, let’s see how this thing works out..
TOMMIE: No one needs to hear three people “tag-team” a DJ set. When the record lock into gear & gets released, we all hope to take this project to its outer limits. I feel like dance music is in such a state that a proper heartfelt album will be well received.
BART: I would love to perform the music we’ve made together and to do that in a live form would be awesome. But that’s something to think about later, let’s get the record out there first.
How would you guys describe your creative process? How do you approach an original piece or a remix together? Do your individual styles shine through, or has it been the case where where the styles of Bart, Rip, and Tommie have given way to a new Horsepower sound?
TOMMIE: There is no one way we’ve made music together. At the moment there are two set-ups in the house & usually two tracks being created at once, all of bouncing from one room to the other. I think you can hear distinct moments of all of us in each & every track. This project certainly has its own sound; it’s it’s own animal.
MAX: I don’t think I could’ve made any of these tracks on myself, and neither could the other guys have done so. We all keep throwing different things into the mix, and mostly they’re things that we wouldn’t really have done on our own. For instance in our Loops Of Fury we did this big Italo disco breakdown, which in theory should’ve come from me but was all Bart, stuff like that’s really funny to me.
BART: Yeah it’s all about having fun, exploring the boundaries of music, getting each other out of their routine and see what kinda crazy stuff comes out of it.
I saw you guys were working with DJ Pierre during your Horsepower sessions? What sparked that collaboration and what are you guys working on specifically?
TOMMIE: Being from Chicago, this was like church for me; Pierre being the creator of the sound we’ve been dabbling with. That rarely happens that you get to work with such a pioneering figure-head of music. He & I spoke of collaborating at last years Amsterdam Dance Event so its perfect that Holland was where it took place.
BART: Acid has always been a big influence for all of us so to for us to work with the godfather of acid house was a honor and an amazing experience.
MAX: It’s a big acid-monster of course J
Since you guys have a full album planned, correct?, Is it difficult to balance your individual careers with your goals that you have set for the group?
BART: We haven’t set any goals for the group. We just see it as a fun project. Although we of course are influence by current dance music, it’s not our goal to sound current or anything, we just want to make cool music that we’re proud of.
TOMMIE: at 20 tracks it’s well beyond an album at this point. if the music becomes big then it will pull us back together to tour it. of course it doesn’t matter to us what its destiny is, we will continue to make music together no matter what.
MAX: I take it all one day at a time, and don’t really set goals except make music that I’m proud of..
Your production skills are so versatile ranging from the fun upbeat Scissor Sisters remix to the more electro driven, Dutch styled remix of Sean Paul’s ‘She Doesn’t Mind’. How do you decide what to remix and what sound it’s going to have?
MAX: Well those all just sort of fell into our laps, and if we think we can do something fun with it we’re just gonna go for it, and make it sound like how we think those things should sound. The Scissor Sisters one started out as being a lot darker and almost Gesaffelstein-y, but at one point we realized that there was such a happy song hidden in the big-room production of ‘Only The Horses’, that we decided to let that speak for itself, while also paying dues to people like Jacques Lu Cont, who we’re all really big fans of.
BART: the diversity in the artists we remixed is as big as the diversity in all the music we’ve made. I guess we just really like to be challenged haha
TOMMIE: Atlantic asked us to do the Sean Paul remix without hearing any of our music. There is something there that speaks volumes. We did a trio of remixes also including Scissor Sisters (the track was called ‘Only The Horses’ & we all are fans of the band) & The Loops Of Fury remix we did is unbridled dance floor chaos. We’ve decided to close that door for now so you’re just going to have to wait for the album. I’d be safe in suggesting that it will be worth the wait.