New music, new surroundings for alt-rock duo An Horse 

It’s been a wild ride for Australian alt-rock duo An Horse. Singer-guitarist Kate Cooper and drummer-vocalist Damon Cox arrived at their ebullient, bass-free sound while working together at a hip Brisbane record store, were discovered — and championed on a globe-trotting tour — by Canadian sisters Tegan & Sara, and even namechecked in Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “A Visit From the Goon Squad.” “That’s a career high for me,” says Cooper, who admits that tracking the band’s sophomore “Walls” proved a tad more difficult.  

 So you’ve actually moved to Canada, while Damon’s now in Melbourne? I did. I moved to Montreal and I loved it, but about five months ago, I moved to Toronto because my partner got a job, so I had to begrudgingly follow her. But I had friends in Canada, a record deal in the States, so it just made sense to be over here.

And you met your girlfriend through Sara Quin, right? Yes! Sara hooked me up — that’s what she does. She did have a friend who was perfect for me, so I got kind of lucky.

How different does Canada feel? Right now, I can’t feel anything! It’s f------ frozen! I love having seasons, and I love having winter. For about a week. But when it stretches out to four months, I go crazy. Winter in Brisbane is like summer in Canada, so I didn’t even have a pair of shoes for it. I only had sneakers, and my “winter jacket” was a hoodie. But I like to be outside a lot, so the worst thing about the Canadian winter is not being able to jog. So I’ve been feeling a bit trapped, with cabin fever.

During “Walls,” your mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor, right? Yeah. She’s fine now, which is kind of weird, because they pulled something the size of a golf ball out of her head.

Is that why your new material turned out so dark — “Airport Death,” “Tiny Skeletons,” “Brain on a Table”? I guess so. That wasn’t the intention, but it never is. I would like to write songs that aren’t so dark, but that would be very hard. I’d sound like a fool if I had to write a happy song!

And [you and Damon]  living across the world from each other was no problem? We figured out that the longest time we haven’t seen each other in six years is six weeks. And the thing is, if we lived in the same city, we’d never stop writing together. So living on separate continents is a good way to keep sane.

IF YOU GO

An Horse


Where: Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., San Francisco

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $10 to $12

Contact: (415) 621-4455, www.bottomofthehill.com

About The Author

Tom Lanham

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