Fresh off of opening for Deep Purple on their Russian tour, Israeli band Gunned Down Horses has arrived in Iceland. The group is here to record at Greenhouse Studios with Francesco Fabris as well as play their debut Icelandic show with DALÍ and VAR at Gaukurinn on September 13th. We sat down with band member Davidavi Dolev to chat.
For those reading this article who don’t know you: How would you describe the music of Gunned Down Horses to people that have never heard it?
This is always the hardest question to answer. We’d like to think of it as cinematic rock. It’s very impulsive and intense when performed live and crosses over huge amount of styles. No rules.
We play with drama a lot. One description that I’ve heard lately and really liked was that this band sounds and looks like the Middle East version of Nick Cave and Faith No More’s ugly baby.
Our influences are Ennio Morricone on one hand, but on the other—the energy of our shows are influenced by the punk/noise and metal scene of our hometown. We play in front very versatile crowds, so I guess there is a little bit for everyone. Still, we’re alternative in a very warm climate.
You’re playing at Gaukurinn on the 13th. How did all of that come about? Why did you want to come to Iceland?
To be completely honest, playing in Iceland is an old dream of me, and since this year was so groundbreaking for us on a personal level, we felt it was the right time to finally make this dream come true.
I was in Iceland twice this year, and during that time, I fell in love with Iceland’s music and most of all with its musicians. I love how from such a small place could come out so many different scenes. I was amazed to feel how open people are to all kinds of music and how it all mixes together into a very defined sound which cannot be found authentically elsewhere. Never-mind if it’s electronic, metal, punk or pop: You know it’s Icelandic.
The chance to finally come and perform was given to us by the great singer/bass player Erla Stefánsdóttir and her band DALÍ. Gunned Down Horses will perform together with DALÍ and VAR and we are very grateful to make this show happen with them.
For me, coming to such a sound-defined region, when we come from such a non-defined region, it’s an adventure of identity. I feel the roots of Icelandic art can be described rather clearly and you can draw a connection between all the different forms of music from this land. You can really feel the soil.
Where we come from, the line I can draw is hectic, mashed up, post-colonial, post-traumatic, post-exile, post-everything. I cannot always see the roots clearly—but I feel the soil, so much that I know the roots are there. I just need to compare the soil to see better. Perhaps the wave of music coming from Israel now can be the root of if not the reason why we make our art the way we make it. I’m not sure if it’s a must to see everything clearly, but I want to try.
So you are also collaborating with Greenhouse Studios during your stay. Can you tell me about that?
Yes! We are! We will be working with Francesco Fabris and the sessions we will record there will be a part of our new album ‘Le Petit Suicide’. Besides it being a dream to record in this inspiring place, the Greenhouse Studio is exactly the place where we can explore the meeting between where we come from and such a different remote magical place. East meets west, south meets north. There is the saying, “When hell freezes over”—I really hope this is how this session is going to sound like.
We must ask—how have you guys liked Iceland so far? We assume it is way different than Haifa. Is there something you really want to do over your trip?
Most of all, we want to meet as many people as possible. Come to the show! We are also fascinated by the different sea cultures and the dramatic landscapes. One thing we really want to do here is eat a rotten shark. We’ve heard it’s simply disgusting, so we must give it a go. You must try everything at least once in your life, right?
The show starts at 21:00 at Gaukurinn on September 13th. Tickets are 1,500 ISK. Check out the Facebook event here.