Don’t argue grammar with Kate Cooper, the lesbian half of the Down Under duo An Horse
RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer
First things first: Grammarians and language mavens might have trouble with the band An Horse. Not that there is anything wrong with the music, but that two-letter article strikes some nerves — including with this writer.
But Kate Cooper is fine with any way people talk about it.
“Oh, people get so worked up about it, but it is arguably correct,” she says.
Cooper, who is touring with bandmate Damon Cox, brings the international pop stylings of An Horse to Dallas Monday. With their second album, Walls, An Horse seems to have found their sound, a polished collection of a dozen tunes that play as if a sprawling backing band helped out.
A job well done … but that name.
An Horse. Yeah, it’s tough to work with.
“I’m happy that it gets people talking about grammar,” she chuckles.
The story about the name related to an argument Cooper had with her sister over the use of the article a in front of words beginning in h. That resulted in her sister making a sweater for Cooper with the words on it and subsequently being asked if that was a band … and thus band history was created.
Cooper and Cox are on a high from supporting Walls. Even though the band has played Dallas before, she disputes it was a proper showing (a last minute venue cancellation and other problems marred it), so Cooper figures this time will be better.
“Yeah, we’re looking forward to it and we’ve stayed in Dallas before so we kind of know the city,” she says. “We’ve stayed there while making our way to Austin and every time we drove through, we’d play the Dallas theme song. That’s always my impression of the city.“
An Horse’s debut, 2009’s Rearrange Beds, was really a collection of demos cobbled together. With a label behind them this time around and an actual production team in place, this might be An Horse’s winning run.
“It just feels like a proper record from a proper band,” she says. “The first time, we weren’t really a band so much as just friends wanting to make music. Next thing we knew we had an album and were on tour and it was all kind of an accident.”
Cox and Cooper worked in a record store together and became BFF’s before becoming a band. Little did they know they’d catch the eyes and ears of some big names. Garnering attention from major music pubs like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork put An Horse on the map. Cooper knows they are still young and green, but such accolades comfort and encourage her.
“It’s all great even though I don’t read them,” she says. “It’s good to get the attention and for a band from Australia, that’s impossible. But we’re still both learning and taking more things in. We’re just better equipped this time around.”
Even if they weren’t receiving the high praise, it doesn’t matter to Cooper. She would still make music.
“Yeah, but I’d be doing it just in my bedroom,” she says.
Although from Australia and now based in Canada, Cooper hasn’t found any difference in attitudes among countries when it comes to her being an out lesbian musician.
“I’m lucky I’m surrounded by people and fans that it’s not a thing to them,” she says. “Everywhere we go it’s just me being me. Occasionally I’ll hear a comment but they are usually a lazy reference point. I just say more power to them and their small minds.”
And they’re not so indie that they’d skip out on playing specifically LGBT events. It’s just a matter of timing and, well, requests.
“I know it’s come up once or twice, but the scheduling didn’t work,” she says. “But we haven’t been really been asked to play any Pride events. I’m very proud of being a gay person and I’d be stoked to do that.”
Are you listening, Dallas Tavern Guild?
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 20, 2011.