Talking Tone With A Thousand Horses
A Thousand Horses have been breaking some serious ground in the country scene. Rolling Stone credited them with bringing back southern rock, and their song ‘Smoke’ has set a new Country Aircheck radio chart record for highest debut by a new act. They’re now recording their second album after wrapping up a year long U.S. tour and finishing a live album from London. We caught up with Bill Satcher and Graham Deloach shortly after their trip to the U.K.
How was the tour, guys?
Bill: It was great, we were able to see a lot of the same fans that we had met before coming back to the shows, and met a lot of new fans. We had the chance to go in to Metropolis studios in London last week and record a live acoustic album straight to vinyl. We had about 30 fans that were able to attend so while we were in a recording studio it still had the feel of a show. Recording straight to vinyl like they did ages ago was pretty cool.
What was the deal with the recent show where the power went out?
Bill: We’re not sure what happened. I think a stagehand tripped over a power cable or something ridiculous like that ha. But, we ended up grabbing some acoustics, going to the front of the stage and played Sunday Morning a few other songs. No mics, anything. It was a great moment – I consider it a happy accident!
Graham: …as Bob Ross says..!
What are your workhorse recording instruments? Do you use anything different on the road compared to in the studio?
Bill: My go-to’s are a Les Paul ’59 335TD with Seymour Duncan antiquities. In fact all my studio guitars use antiquities. On the road I use mainly a Les Paul 57R and 59R. I recently put a set of the Saturday Night Special hum buckers in my Gold Top, and I love it.
Graham: Live I use a Fender Precision Bass – and American Standard – with your Steve Harris pickups. In the studio I mostly use a Fender P-Bass with Steve Harris pickups.
Bill: All I use is Seymour Duncan, I have customs in my Teles.
How do you control your rig live? Do you use many effects? A switching system?
Bill: I don’t use many effects, it’s really pretty simple. My board has a wah, a full-time overdrive and two delays. I split to two amps and leave the amps on constantly, controlling through the guitar volume. I’ve been using the new Marshall Silver Jubilee Reissue and A Morgan AC20 through vintage Hiwatt and Marshall speaker cabinets. Its all about that old wood to get the tone. We also use the AMP RX BrownBox to help control and regulate voltage.
Graham: I have a fuzz and an octave pedal. I also just integrated the Studio Bass compressor. I control everything through my guitars volume knob.
How do you divide up the guitar duties?
Bill: I play lead and Zach does rhythm, ala Keith Richards style. Zach is really clean and open while I play heavy. He uses digital delays and such, while mine is more analog so we complement each other. We want it to be dynamic so we play off each other a lot too.
Do you consciously coordinate your guitar tones together? In a lot videos there’s usually one of you playing a Tele but some songs it’s you and some songs it’s Zach.
Bill: It really depends on the song. I run amps heavier and Zach will clean it up. I find that a Les Paul and a Tele really come together well, but in Smoke we both play Teles.
We do change guitars a ton during a set though. Sometimes I’ll play a single coil while he plays humbucker. It’s pretty natural at this point.
Southernality has been out for over a year now. Where are you at with a follow-up? Where do you go musically from here?
Bill: I’d say we’re about halfway through our second record, and you should hear some new music very soon.
Graham: Musically, we are opening up a bit more with sounds.
Bill: Our sonic landscape has broadened and were integrating a few different instruments now. Southernality was written…5…6 years ago. It was our stories in life up until that point and now we have grown to a new place.
Graham: A Thousand Horses 2.0
Will you record at ‘the other Zac Brown’s’ studio again on the next album? What’s that place like?
Bill: No, we aren’t recording there again. The studio was incredible though. It’s an old church with lots of history.
Graham: They did a great job refurbishing it. It was such a great experience to be a part of that history, old and new. I mean, the Foo Fighters recorded there!