In 2016, a dark and miserable entity emerged on the graffitied and drug addled streets of Bristol. With effortless skill in hybridising the deeply atmospheric nature of doom with the shimmering, occasionally euphoric tendencies of shoegaze, Sugar Horse swiftly became a constant yet praised presence within the contemporary Bristolian DIY scene. Off the back of a handful of SoundCloud tracks, the doomgaze collective found themselves manifesting their dread alongside such esteemed artists such as Vennart, Brutus, John, The St Pierre Snake Invasion, Pijn, Phoxjaw and many others, earning both plaudits and acclaim. However, released just earlier this year, it was their fantastically unsettling debut EP Druj that allowed the group to probe new territories with their horrid tendrils, with the release allowing the group to stain this year’s ArcTanGent with their presence.
Despite Druj demonstrating the aurally atmospheric qualities of their live shows, their latest single ‘GakEater’ see’s the group double down on their haunting aspects whilst flexing their creative muscles. With it’s twists, metamorphosing riffs and spectral ambience, ‘GakEater’ combines all the factors that made Druj such an alluring and haunting listen into one disgusting monolith of a track. With the single simultaneously focusing on the corrupt and vile nature of current UK politics whilst being inspired by sleep paralysis, the paranormal and the group’s own respective drug habits, the track is ideal not only for Halloween, but for our own decaying national culture. Read about what Sugar Horse have to say about the track and listen to ‘GakEater’ below.
How Did ‘GakEater’ Come Into Creation?
"First of all I'd like to apologise for talking about a song I've written that's essentially just shouting in such lofty terms. Unfortunately I do far too much thinking about everything and it is horribly pretentious. As weird as it may sound, GakEater was originally written as a kind of Gospel track. I know it sounds strange that a song which I scream "Blood & Cum" in the chorus is in anyway related to gospel, but it started that way. I had the verse originally and to me that kind of sounded like a Field Call or something. Everything kind of sprouted from there. Lyrically I kind of ran with that whole Southern Gothic vibe. Haunted house kind of stuff. That lead me onto the whole idea of sleep paralysis."
"If anyone hasn't heard of this before, it's the feeling of being in between sleep and being awake. Some people feel completely paralysed and lay there with their eyes open, completely still until they snap out of it. In this state of semi-dreaming thousands of people have reported hallucinating demons, or witches sitting on their chest and restricting their movement. It's a terrifying condition that stretches back hundreds of years. There's a really haunting depiction of it painted by a bloke called Henry Fuseli from the late 1700s called The Nightmare. I looked at that for ages while I was writing the words. The whole idea of a beast that comes to torment you when you're paralysed. It immediately made me think of shadowy "shock for pay" type characters like Stephen Yaxley Lennon or that bacon-faced phone hacking apologist from ITV. That's the chorus. The heinous "proud of my English roots" shit that they insist on spouting....for money. The riff at the end is essentially just Messhuggah For Beginners. Something low, that has a circular motion so the bars kind of blend into each other."
How do you want people to react to GakEater?
"First of all it's Jake's first release with us. He joined earlier this year doing some synth stuff and playing baritone guitar. I believe the saying goes something like "More Low End = Instant Mercury Nomination". So I've heard. GakEater was the first chance to "show him off" if I can be that flagrantly shitty. The track is all about low end and big changes in dynamics. A lot of stuff we've used quite heavily in the past. We wanted to fuse the elements a bit more this time though. The last EP seemed very "HEAVY SECTION....melodic section...HEAVY" if that makes sense."
"This time we wanted the heavier side of us and the more shoegazing, melodic side to be combined a lot more. Having an extra guitar has made this easier. Means we can interplay a little more and keep textures interesting, while still having that horrible weight underneath. It's always funny to watch people do "the filth face" when we hit that end riff. You know that face people do when they're listening to something super heavy. A mate calls those riffs "lipsniffers". That's what I'd like people to take away from the track, a semi-permanent gurn."
With 2019 coming to end, what’s the plan for next year?
"Next year is still a work in progress slightly. I can tell you that at the end of March we'll be releasing a new record called DRUGS. People should probably keep their eyes peeled for that. Other than that it'll be shows and festivals.....if anyone actually likes it. There's always a danger there. We'll see."
‘GakEater’ and Druj is out now via Invisible Llama Music.