Today our Spotlight – Nice Horse. This country girl squad has been slaying the Canadian musical sphere for most their lives. Coming from a variety of musical backgrounds, after a long weekend of wine and laughter they are ready to show the world what they have got. We got to sit down and chat with Brandi, Krista, Katie, and Tara to talk about their musical journey, drag queens, boozing, and of course, horses. Check out what Nice Horse had to say below.
Howdy girls! How did you all become friends? You’ve known each other for years, but how did these friendships begin?
KATIE: Brandi and I met years ago. I was playing a solo show and Brandi came to watch it. Afterwards, she introduced herself to me and we hit it off. We ended up playing a show together a couple weeks later when I was looking for someone to join a bill with me. We became fast friends and musical allies. It’s crazy to think it actually took this long for us to join forces because in some ways, it feels like we always have been!
I met Krista through Brandi a few years later and the three of us would often find ourselves taking random trips together. LA, Vegas…and yet we still weren’t in a band together! We met Tara in 2018 and it was instant friendship. I feel like I’ve known her my whole life! I am the luckiest person to get to be in a band with people that I consider my true friends. I’d spend time with them even if we weren’t in a band. They are the cream of the crop.
BRANDI: Katie makes our meet-cute sound so adorable. I would argue that it was more dorky than it was adorbs. I saw Katie on Calgary Breakfast Television that morning, and thought “she seems cool, I’m going to check out her show!” So I did, and after the show, I literally went up to Katie and said “Hi! I’m Brandi, and I play music too, and we should be friends!” Who meets someone like that? Furthermore, what musician is up early enough to discover music on Breakfast Television? Furthermore, who says furthermore?
2016, we do a girl’s trip to Hawaii, and instead of taking in the sun and surf…you write country music?
BRANDI: I think what was really so important about this trip to Hawaii was the timing–all of us were really in these transition periods in our musical careers. We all had turning points in our careers previously–but, as a group of friends who were also musicians, we had never experienced it at the same time. So, here we were, in Hawaii, just a group of buddies, not knowing what the future had in store for us musically. It really was just this magical moment in our careers.
KATIE: We didn’t know we’d end up writing country music, haha! We just wanted to write songs together and they were just all coming out country. Brandi and I grew up on country music, so I guess it wasn’t that surprising. Oh and don’t worry, we took in the sun, the mai-tais, and even did some stand-up paddle boarding in between writing!
You all come from such varied musical backgrounds! We have 80s synth-pop, metal, and industrial/pop, why the pivot to country?
KRISTA: Probably no one was more baffled at first than me! Brandi and Katie both grew up on farms and country music was always a big part of their lives, but I had never really had much experience with it. It was just what naturally came out when we initially sat down to write together. We enjoyed writing together and playing together, and the country part just sort of… happened.
Do you think the multifaceted backgrounds you have are what have contributed to the eclectic nature of your sound?
KRISTA: Absolutely. We’ve developed a sound that is unique to us, and it’s because we all come from such different musical backgrounds and we all contribute so much artistically.
BRANDI: One of my biggest sources of pride is the diverse music experience in this band–from orchestral bassoonist to metalhead. Having so many different musical experiences leads us to interesting musical ideas, which really fuses together to create a sound that is distinctly Nice Horse.
Your first EP A Little Unstable; first, amazing use of a pun, but the EP has I think one of my personal favorite tracks by you, titled “Jim, Jack, Johnnie, & Jose”. What was the creative process with that jam?
KATIE: Brandi and I co-wrote that with two amazing writers, Karen Kososwki and Emma Lee. It was our first time meeting them and one of our very early co-writes with outside writers. Emma Lee and Karen had the chorus already and they thought it would be the perfect song for Nice Horse. We absolutely agreed, so we poured some Jack Daniels and wrote the rest of it together! It ended up being one of the first songs we recorded.
Your live sets are super fun, high energy, especially when doing “Pony Up”, which as one of your first singles must also hold some sentimentality?
KRISTA: Pony Up is definitely a lot of fun to play live – and for me one of the best parts about that song is how much it seems to resonate with kids. We all have nieces and nephews and Pony Up is the clear favourite across the board for the 10-and-under set – despite the maybe not-so-kid-friendly lyrics!
KATIE: I love that song! It is so fun to play every time. We always get such a good crowd reaction to it which makes it all the more fun to play.
You four are also incredibly generous with your philanthropy, doing fundraising for Horses 4 Heroes. I know Brandi and Krista, it is a charity that hits you close to home, are you comfortable talking some more about your connection to the project?
KRISTA: So, my partner is a first-responder, and Brandi has been in the military for over seventeen years. Mental health and PTSD can be a real struggle for people in these professions and it affects not just them, but their whole families. Horses 4 Heroes supports organizations providing mental-health support to families dealing with the effects of PTSD.
As an all-female C&W act, the line between being advocates for feminism and simply existing is often difficult, how do you handle the negativity?
KRISTA: Being a feminist isn’t difficult. It’s who we are, and we’re not apologetic about our views or our values. The fact that we’re one of the only self-contained all-female country bands in 2020 is honestly kind of absurd.
KATIE: I think what is so great about our position is that we really don’t need to point out to anyone that we are advocates for women, and female empowerment. Just being a band like ours says volumes about that, what we stand for, and what we believe. And if anyone doesn’t like that, then we aren’t the band for them anyways.
With tracks like “Mansplainin’” and your shower set of Dolly Parton’s classic “9 to 5” even “Beer Baby Banjo” you have mastered the ability to give a metaphorical middle finger to the contentious others. What has been your favorite reaction(s) to “Mansplainin’”?
KATIE: We got a lot of interesting comments when we decided to release Mansplainin’ on International Women’s Day via a facebook live performance. Someone told us we were going to need to decide “children or no children”. It was absurd. We don’t tend to get into conversations like that with people, we let our music speak for itself.
BRANDI: The truth is, none of the things we do ever feel, to me, like the metaphorical middle finger. It is never written with that intention–we are simply just doing what country music knows best: writing and performing what we know. And if someone feels as though what we write, what we perform, is a metaphorical middle finger directed at them…well, that’s probably more on them than on us.
The video, by the way, is such a great critique of how society treated and continues to treat women. Was there a lot of backlash for “Mansplainin’”?
KRISTA: I mean, if you scroll through our Youtube you’ll definitely see a few colourful comments! In all seriousness, though, it’s worth noting that our producer, Jeff Dalziel, encouraged us to write “Mansplainin’” after hearing about some of our experiences, AND he’s a co-writer on that song. Beyond the odd YouTube troll, we haven’t gotten much backlash. In fact, if anything, we’ve found that being “mansplained” is relatable not just for most women, but a lot of men too.
You all have extensive touring experiences, but this was your first tour as a band? How did that differ from previous tours?
KRISTA: Well, for me – and I can’t speak for the other girls – but it was my first time playing stadiums, which was absolutely crazy. It was an amazing experience, in large part because Tom and his whole band were very welcoming to us. We’d often see Tom side-stage during our set, and Davide DiRenzo – the drummer for Red Rider – would give me mini-lessons between their soundcheck and ours. I couldn’t believe it.
KATIE: Something else really awesome, as Brandi mentioned, was that she & I got to join Tom on stage every night for his set. It was pretty cool, night after night, to sing with an icon like Tom.
Your video for “Hot Mess” features the fabulous Trixie Mattel and Jezebel Bardot, how did you manage to swing those 2 powerhouses?
BRANDI: Powerhouses–even that feels like an understatement when describing those two! We met Trixie last year, when we had the pleasure of opening for her (and performing as her backup band) for her performance during Calgary Stampede. We became fast friends–she is truly so wonderful and kind…and fucking hilarious. In fact, the inspiration for the Hot Mess music video came from that show with Trixie–when Nice Horse was read by the queens in the green room, and subsequently was given ALL the style and makeup advice! Because of that, it just felt like we couldn’t do this video without an appearance by Trixie Mattel.
And Jezebel? Honestly, we were just the biggest Jezebel Bardot fans. She is unbelievably talented and completely brilliant. We asked her to be in the video, and she said yes. And after one crazy day on set, we become great friends. She was so incredible – every Jezebel moment in that video leaves me gagged (that one was for you, Jez!)
You have a new single dropping, “Cowgirl” that name drops several powerful female icons/role models, like Aretha, Alanis, Patsy, how would you describe the Cowgirl state of mind? How does one achieve that?
BRANDI: Just like Mansplaining, Beer Baby Banjo, and our songs that we have written before–Cowgirl is what we know. Aretha, Alanis, Patsy, Reba, Shania…they influenced us, they made us the artists and the band we are today. It was truly our honor to be able to shout out the women that made us the strong and capable artists that we are today.
As for “the cowgirl state of mind”–it is less achieving than it is believing. If you are strong but kind, gracious but bold enough to speak your mind… well, then in the eyes of Nice Horse, you are a cowgirl. Anyone can be one. If you want to be a cowgirl, then you are a cowgirl. And don’t let anyone tell you any different.
Your Wine at 9 on Facebook Live has been your solution to the COVID-19 quarantine. What are some other ways fans can reach out to you during these tumultuous times? What do you want to tell your fans?
KRISTA: We’re available on socials across the board @nicehorsemusic – we love to get messages from fans!
(Not technically a question, but I am a HUGE fan of Katie’s previous project Jakalope. I still have my original CD of it from back in I want to say, 2004 or 2005? I listened to that constantly in high school, and remember watching the music videos on MuchMusic, which then got me into artists like MSI, the Breeders, and probably why I love artists like St. Vincent now. So, if I can just pass on a little thank you. Still a fan.)
AHHHHH! I love St. Vincent!!!! I listen to her constantly!! <3 (this is Brandi, btw : )
This was our ride on this Spotlight – Nice Horse. I just want to say thank you to the ladies for spending some time with us.
Make sure to check out the new single
out now on all platforms.
Stay up to date with anything Nice Horse.
Jezebel Bardot can be found here @Jezebel.Bardot on Instagram
Donations to Horse for Heroes can be place at the Nice Horse website, or at
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