Kevin Horan of The Thrills

HV: So introduce The Thrills and yourself to our readers.
Kevin: My name is Kevin from The Thrills and I play keyboards and The Thrills are on their third American tour at the moment. They’ve got two weeks of it left and then they are going home [Dublin, Ireland] for the first time in six months.

HV: Are you happy about that?
Kevin: Yeah, kind of. Wait, going home? Or the touring?

HV: Going home.
Kevin: Yeah.

HV: What are some not commonly known musical influences on The Thrills music?
Kevin: Um, well not commonly known to people outside the band; Daniel is a big Bruce Springsteen fan. Padraic is a big kinda hard rock fan, Guns N’ Roses and so on, that kind of popular hard rock. Ben is a big jazz fan. That’s about it.

HV: What about you?
Kevin: Besides the obvious ones, I like people like Scott Walker, Frank Sinatra, and people of the same kind of style as his.

HV: You just finished recording your second album, how was this recording process different from So Much For The City?
Kevin: Um, well it was a different studio for starters. It was kind of similar ’cause it was in Hollywood again; we were gonna do it in New York but all the studios we wanted were booked up. But we just had a little bit of time off in the middle of two tours and rather than take the time off we wanted to do it then. The only other place in America that we really considered was Los Angeles because we kind of know the area. So it was kind of relaxing to do it there. But, um, this time we actually had a car, so we actually got to see a bit more of Los Angeles. Last time we used to just walk to the studio everyday ’cause we were like five minutes from it. Production wise we had Dave Sardy this time whose a different kind of character to Tony Hoffer. Tony’s kind of new; Dave Sardy’s been producing like millions of records like Marilyn Manson and stuff like that. So we kind of came from Tony Hoffer’s whose very much the same way with us, with this kind of first record, this kind of style Dave Sardy’s had. So he [Dave] kind of made it sound just a little bit different. We haven’t mixed it yet either, so we don?t know how it’s gonna wind up sounding. But it?s sounding good so far.

HV: Is it as California driven as the last one?
Kevin: Well the last one wasn’t really California driven. It was just a few place names and so you take out the place names and it’s not really California driven at all.

HV: So what’s the biggest cultural difference between playing in the states and being back home in Ireland that you guys have experienced?
Kevin: When we were starting off we always used to play the same venue in Ireland. It was one that we kind of knew the manager of and so we got gigs at short notice and stuff. So we never really did the circuit of Ireland like with this kind of style. But, um, Ireland only has like five cities and they’re all so near to each other that they’re all the same. Whereas here you get different kind of reactions. You drive, kind of, 12 hours every night to a completely different accent, completely different laws. Some states you can carry guns at the gates; some states they don’t so, you know. A lot of it in Ireland, the age to get into venues is 18. Over here, if you’re doing an all ages show it tends to be? Well, if you’re doing like a club show like this you tend to kind of get a little older audience who sometimes are a little less responsive.

HV: Right. Do you like it better being 18 and up like in Ireland or is there a crowd here that’s really impressive?
Kevin: All the fans here have been really good. Some of the all ages shows have been kind of, um, sometimes you don’t really know which is which so that the people that are 21 go up the stairs and the other people go down to the floor, if it’s a kind of big venue. But, uh, I think they’re really excellent shows.

HV: So you guys have played almost all of the major new music festivals in the past year like CMJ, SXSW, etc. How were those experiences? Do you favorite between CMJ and SXSW?
Kevin: Um, South By Southwest I think was the better of those. We had a really good weekend that time. CMJ was just, nah, we went into with this feeling and it was this real rush job. And we were playing kind of early in the day and I just remembered it, whatever venue we were in the equipment wasn’t working and the crew was like, and we had like 10 minutes to set up and nothing was working. We had a really good reaction at those things; the venues were kind of full. People said good things about it afterwards and wrote good things about it after. So, I think it’s a better vibe in Austin. New York the venues are all over Manhattan and we really didn?t get to see very much. But up here [Austin], you can just go all around because all the venues are next door to each other.

HV: Are there any good bands that you saw at SXSW?
Kevin: Um yeah, the band that was on just before us. I can’t remember their name?

HV: Oh yeah, they were from Michigan or something?
Kevin: Yeah, they were from Michigan. Yeah, and there was a girl on drums?

HV: Yeah, I remember who you’re talking about.
Kevin: I just can’t remember the name?

Kevin: That’s it!

HV: So Coachella, how was it?
Kevin: Coachella was good. That was the biggest crowd I’d say we’ve played to in America.

HV: Really?
Kevin: Yeah.

HV: How many people did that tent hold?
Kevin: We were told it held 5000.

HV: Really? Wow. That is a pretty big crowd.
Kevin: Yeah, wow, that was by far our biggest crowd in America. And it was similar to festivals?

Interruption by tour manager to make sure the interview was going on as scheduled

Kevin: As I was saying, it’s the most like UK festivals. We were playing a tent last year in the UK festivals. Just bigger tents, but the same kind of vibe. We didn’t know that 200 people were gonna show up for it [their performance at Coachella] and the Muse was on just before us over on the main stage and got to see most of that and then we ran over to our stage.

HV: What was your favorite band you saw at Coachella and the worst band you saw?
Kevin: I didn’t really see any bad bands?

HV: Any you were maybe disappointed with?
Kevin: Well I just didn’t leave the shade unless I really wanted to see a band.


Kevin: I thought Radiohead were really good and I thought The Flaming Lips were really good. The crowd really didn’t seem to be getting into them that much. I think the crowd were there to see who was headlining that night?

HV: The Cure
Kevin: Yeah, The Cure. I think they were more ready for that than The Flaming Lips. I thought The Cure was good, but wasn’t as good as I thought it was gonna be. So I might’ve been a bit of a disappointment.

HV: Ok. So, if you could be any other member of your band, The Thrills, who would you be and why?
Kevin: Um, [pause] I’m doing a process of elimination here. [longer pause] I’d be Conor.

HV: Why?
Kevin: Cause he’s the most like me. Laughter

Kevin: No, I’d like to be different ones at different times? I wouldn’t like to be Conor when he has to stand in front of 5,000 people and try to be a stage. But really, I think I have it kind of nice and easy. I get to sit down. I don’t have to do anything really except play. And nobody can really see me unless they’re really looking, so I think I have it the best.

HV: What’s one question you always wish you’d get asked in an interview and never have?
Kevin: If I could be another member of The Thrills, I think.

HV: Are you serious?
Kevin: Yeah, I’m always thinking about that one.

HV: Wow, that’s really funny. So I just asked you the one question you always wish you’d get asked.
Kevin: Yeah.

HV: What’s been your favorite place to play so far?
Kevin: In America?

HV: Yes.
Kevin: The Fillmore in San Francisco was really good. We played there last week. Cause we used to live just next door to it and Travis played there, this was like 4 years ago, they were really big and all the Irish people in San Francisco were going to see Travis. So it was kind of.

HV: Is there a big Irish population in San Francisco?
Kevin: Yeah, more so than you’d think.

HV: How was touring with Phantom Planet? The crowd reaction?
Kevin: It was good, they are really good guys. I don’t think the crowds had ever really heard of us because they were quite a young crowd, so yeah I don’t think any had ever heard of us. But we got good reactions. It was nice because we got to finish up early, when you’re not supporting someone sometimes you have to finish around 11:30 and then you gotta leave straight away, so there’s no time to do anything. At least on this tour a lot of the day is yours to look around town.

HV: How did you guys got the gig with Red Hot Chili Peppers?
Kevin: I think it’s a really big show, like 25,000 people, and I don’t think the Chili Peppers would sell that out on their own in Ireland because Ireland is so small. So they announced the Chili Peppers gig and they see how tickets go and then they make it so well now it’s the Chili Peppers, The Pixies and us, The Thrills.

HV: Whoa, The Pixies?
Kevin: Yeah. Just for this one show. It’s gonna be great.

HV: Whose been the favorite touring band companion with you guys so far?
Kevin: We did two gigs with The Rolling Stones, but they weren’t very friendly. At least they never spoke to us and they travel on different buses. But uh, we’ve had some really good ones. We have Patrick Park for a tour over here. Him and his band are really nice; his album’s really good. Who else did we have? We had Adam Green for awhile. He’s a funny guy. And we had Sleepy Jackson play three or four gigs over here with us. They’re good friends of ours, they’re really nice.

HV: Well, that’s everything I have. Anything else you want to say?
Kevin: No, they were very good questions. Thank you.

HV: Thank you Kevin!