Singled Out: WVM's Pale Horse
"Pale Horse" came to me as I was walking through the streets of LA. A lot of music comes to me when I walk, as my mind makes up rhythms and melodies to my footsteps. It started with the main synth in combination with what turned out to be the vocal melody for verse one in my mind. I hummed it into my iPhone voice recorder and worked on it when I got home. I had just bought an MS 20 mini synth a couple of days before, the MS 20 has a very signature and vintage sound and feel to it and I started making bass sounds. The bass and kick drum in "Pale Horse" start with a techno pattern in the beginning but then the song dives into more of a new wave feel. The chorus in particular was very inspired by New Order. I love the sound of the mellotron in "Blue Monday" and I knew I needed to have it in this song. I fleshed out the foundation and recorded a quick version of it on my laptop then imported it into my phone. A couple of days later I was walking on the beach and had the song on repeat. I wasn't consciously thinking of finding a melody but after a while the melody for the rest of the song came to me, which included the synth part in the long breakdown. When I listen to my tracks I usually find myself in a bit of a trance. I was singing as I walked down the pathway of a crowded beach, nothing existed except the sounds I was hearing in my head.
I came up with the title "Pale Horse" before I wrote the lyrics. Although I don't believe in tarot, I somehow came across the concept of a pale horse and how it is often misunderstood. It usually means a new beginning, a transition or a change. I liked the imagery and incorporated a lot of horse galloping rhythms into the song. If you listen, there are subtle references to horses within the music itself. For example, in the beginning there is a puff sound I made on my Tempest drum machine that sounds like a horse breathing out, and at the end of chorus one there is a sound I made on a synth that doubles the snare roll and sounds a bit like a horse vocalizing as it runs. The rhythm of the long break section is meant to imitate a horse galloping. I didn't want to go overboard with these references but I did want to suggest them throughout the song, things a lot of people wouldn't hear unless I point them out.
The lyrics are very personal but I tend to write about things people can identify with. I don't like talking about what my lyrics are about as I would rather the listener interpret as they wish.
I recorded the vocals over at Sean Beavan's Blue Room studio. Working with Sean is a lot of fun, there is something to the way he has everything set up that makes recording a breeze. I don't know what it is about his mic but but it picks up my voice incredibly well. He told me the mic is a very rare Nuemann mic called Mohave, one of only two prototypes in the world. A version of the mic Georg Neumann experimented on and never mass produced.
"Pale Horse" is inspired by a lot of synth music from the 80s but I didn't want it to sound like music from that era. I find that a lot of my music is internalized, which is why I don't think I fit any particular mold. My inspiration from those songs in the 80s comes more from the spirit of experimentation from those bands. They were creating unique sounds, as opposed to a lot of stuff released today that seems to follow certain rules and guidelines. F*** rules.