An Interview with Ludovic Naud (Dead Horse One)

Having had Beatles on the brain for a while now, specifically the early years of their hysteria-inducing mop tops, I started to think about their early interviews. I looked up some of those early pressers and was taken aback by just how many times the fab foursome was asked about money and marriage, but there were also some gems hidden amongst the clunkers. And so, inspired by the early press conferences of The Beatles, especially their US tour interviews, I decided to ask some of those very same questions to some of the best and brightest making music today.

The cover of Dead Horse One's latest LP, The West is The Best, gives a good indication of the sounds you'll find on the record. Singer/songwriter Olivier Debard calls this “a collection of thwarted love songs in the spirit of Sparklehorse and other such 90s bands," and who am I to argue? I'd add that the album is a kind of mood music - a deep, dark, distant storm of a mood, songs that mingle well with the unrelenting, endless waves of the sea. There's mystery in these songs, as well as sensations of foreboding, sadness, contemplation, and something unfinished. The gray, tempestuous songs were mixed by Mark Gardener (RIDE) and produced by John Loring.

Bassist/vocalist Ludovic Naud took some time from basking in the glow of the band's latest record to give As to my Beatles Qs. Read on to find out more about Ludovic and his band (just don't ask him for advice!). Be sure to get better acquainted with the Dead Horse One catalog, too, I think you'll find doing so to be time well spent.

What has been your most exciting moment in the last year?

Unlike the years before, we didn’t get to play a lot of gigs with exciting bands like The Brian Jonestown Massacre or Nothing. So, the most exciting moment was a quiet one: the release of our last LP The West is the Best, with the Extra Limited vinyl edition sold out in 2 days only!

Who are your favorite recording artists?

Every band member has their own taste in music. My favorite recording artists would be Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, or more recently Big Thief, but the band all agrees to put Sparklehorse high above the rest. Every song is a dark poem filled with melancholy and harmony.

Do you feel safe riding in airplanes?

Of course not! Have you seen the size of the engines compared to the size of an airplane? It’s like the size of a chicken brain compared to the whole chicken. And you can’t say that a chicken works that well…

Does every city look the same?

Sadly, yes. But fortunately, people are different. And most importantly, the food also is!

What message are you trying to get across, if any?

I would say “the emptiness of existence” or “the uselessness of popular culture”...

How would you describe yourself in one word?


Where would you like to go that you haven't gone yet?

One of those zero gravity flights!

Do you feel that you're setting a new trend in music?

It’s getting harder to set new trends in music, but the blend of psych-rock, shoegaze, and grunge could be seen as a new trend.

What kinds of guitars do you use?

Mostly bass guitar for me! And the other guys use guitars that have 50% more strings on them.

Does anybody ever ask you for advice?

Yes, and my only advice is to not take advice from me.

How do you prefer for your fans to act at your concerts?

Present, for starters. And alive, that’s also good.

How do you go about writing your songs?

Olivier (Debard) writes most of our songs. They’re about popular culture, music, movies, history…he usually knows exactly how they should sound and how to record them. The process with the whole band is to add up all the layers that make our sound.

What is one question you would like to be asked that probably nobody has ever asked?

“What is it like to be married with Scarlett Johansson?”

What do you call your sound?

“Heavenly choir of jet engines.” It’s also the name of our first EP.

Have you ever had a mental block-out on stage?

Not really, but some tunes are harder to remember than the others, especially the new ones. So, it takes a lot of concentration and it could look like a mental block-out!

What are your unfulfilled ambitions?

None. Just livin’ the dream!

What advice do you have for teenagers?

“Life is short, make every moment matter!” I guess that’s the only thing we think about when we grow old: all the time we wasted when we were teenagers…

What is the closest you have come to losing life and limb?

Except for a snowboard accident in which I hurt my spine pretty hard, I never really hurt myself that much. I don’t live an adventurous life!

Do you think of yourself more as an entertainer or a musician, or do you think it's more of a combination of the two?

I definitely do not feel like a musician. I meet more talented musicians than me every day, so I can’t consider myself as one. But I hope I’m a good entertainer!

[posted 12.31.19]


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