Bark, Hide and Horn
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Bark, Hide and Horn

Band Americana Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Feature/Interview in Portland Mercury"

Ant Slavery Jamz: Bark, Hide and Horn's National Geo Boogie

BARK, HIDE AND HORN make electro Americana pop songs with lyrics based upon National Geographic articles. But it's not as convoluted as it sounds. Brian Garvey, Peter Valois, and Andy Furgeson spin the above into catchy, lo-fi, blues orchestra jams that are fun, but also know when to back up from the boogie and look you straight in the eye. Their music has the heart and spirit of a gospel choir but—just the same—throws down the shuddery, haunted folk with class and authentic-feeling sincerity.

They have a new self-titled EP done. Look for it 'round month's end.

Your bio says you're a "trio rethinking the idea of the trio."

Garvey: In our previous bands, we had played with larger groups that could pull off more meaty orchestrations. But when we formed Bark, Hide and Horn, we found ourselves rather understaffed. Longing for that lusher sound, we tried to compensate by playing as many instruments as possible—often at the same time or with the help of a sampler. Beyond just adding to our soundscape, I think it helps us feel more connected to each other. Switching between instruments lets each person connect to the other in new ways and demands a different sort of group coordination—sharing melodies, phrasing, and rhythms all at once.

Some of your lyrics are based around National Geographic stories. How does that work?

Furgeson: Well, it started as a songwriting exercise this summer, when I wrote a protest song about a disgruntled honey ant inspired by an article in an old National Geographic magazine. I basically just read the story, realized that I'd be totally pissed if I were one of these ant slaves, and wrote the song in that voice. Since then, the NG thing has kind of turned into an obsession, and we've collected a bunch of old magazines and written about eight songs, which are starting to shape into a narrative about the US and imperialism and the ghost of Alexander Graham Bell and our culture's screwed-up relationship with nature. Four National Geographic songs are on the EP, and our first full-length will be all NG material, hopefully more cohesive and with a bigger message.

Talk about the EP. What can we expect?

Valois: This is the first thing that we've recorded together, so we aren't even sure what to expect. We know what we've done so far, but after listening to the same songs 50 times in a row, you start to lose a bit of perspective. We tried to keep things sounding loose and homespun. We've also taken the opportunity to add some layers that we couldn't pull off with just the three of us live, although Brian is working on playing three trumpets simultaneously. We are big believers in having recordings and live performances be distinct from each other, since they are inherently different experiences. More specifically, people should expect six songs filled with good sounds. - Portland Mercury

"Review on Urban Honking"

Maybe, Baby: Bark Hide and Horn
by Team Tinnitus

I'm not sure if this is considered a "show," but Bark, Hide, and Horn's Andy Furgeson played a few songs for me yesterday and I recorded them. (You can hear them here.) I haven't seen Andy's band live yet but him playing solo was pretty damn impressive ("pretty damn" a whole lotta things, actually. The guy's talented as fuck.) So, he sung it like he meant it and played slide guitar, harmonica, tambourine on a highhat, and a suitcase kick-drum for bass. Dude was a full-on one-man-band but it wasn't a gimmick, and it wasn't anything different than his band set. He says he does the same thing live, only the rest of the band multi-tasks too. (Goddamn I fucking hate the word "multi-task.")

BHH's songs--their new ones anyway--are based around National Geographic articles. But, again, there's no gimmick involved. They feel just as tense or sad or pissed off or happy--whatever the band's trying to convey at that moment--as any "personal" song. Here's what Andy told me about that: "There are a couple of ways I come at the songs. One is that I read an article and find what I think is the most dramatic but glossed-over moment, then write a song summoning up all the emotions I think would come out of that moment. These old NGs are very rosy, you know, there's never any controversy or sense that what's going on isn't necessarily okay for everyone involved. Like I think a grizzly bear mother would be really angry if her baby was shot with a tranquilizer dart then locked in a cage and probed and tagged and shit. And the more I think about it, the more I can imagine and sing about that anger.

"The other way I approach these songs is looking for my emotions in the stories. I start singing about what I'm feeling over some guitar chords, come up with a few very general lyrics, then find an NG article that those emotions would fit in. With both methods, writing songs like this has been a refreshing experience. I don't have to rely on my emotions and experience so much, which is what I always used to do." - Urban Honking


"Bark, Hide and Horn" EP, Boy Howdy Records, 2006


Feeling a bit camera shy


Bark, Hide and Horn is a four-man folk-rock orchestra hailing from Portland, Oregon. Since their inception as a three-piece in summer of 2005, their line-up has shifted several times. With each incarnation, the boys have taken on more musical responsibilities. Andy Furgeson, lead singer and guitar player, managed to bang a suitcase-turned-kickdrum and control a drum machine with his feet. Brian Garvey learned to juggle a synth, keyboard, trumpet, mandolin, and homemade percussion kit. Peter Valois came along in winter of 2005, bringing his ability to leap mid-song from bass to vibraphone to percussion, not to mention his indispensable recording know-how. Only months ago Dusty Dybvig joined the ranks on drums, freeing the rest of the band to focus on their primary instruments and bringing a previously impossible rhythmic intensity to the whole outfit. The boys create a full, dynamic sound that, within any song, can shift from soft, haunted folk to loud, raucous blues, with hints of indie-rock, country, gospel, and mariachi escaping in between. The songs are carefully crafted and arranged. Many are like short stories, with characters lifted from the pages of old National Geographic magazines. Their world is populated by rebellious insects, love-lorn tree snails, enraged grizzly bears, and the naturalists who love them. From these unusual perspectives, the classic themes of American music are given new life.