Friday, October 24, 2008

Getting to know Dragged by Horses

Dragged by Horses, drummer, Chris Jaster rides a bike on a couch, with bass player, Jody Goldman looking cool, and lead singer/guitarist Pablo Midence texting important music people, in the band's practice space, an art studio on South G., in Arcata.

Dragged by Horses chills in their practice space, L to R: Jody Goldman, Chris Jaster, and Pablo Midence.

Words and Photos By MELODY STONE, Rock Journalist

“I’ve played for a long time, and this is the hardest, most physically demanding band I’ve been in,” said bassist Jody Goldman. “I’m gonna keep coming back to that. If you’ve played a show right you should be dripping wet and blissful.”

In 2004, when Goldman and Pablo Midence decided to start a band, Midence had been reading a book about the Mexican Revolution.

When he read about a general who punished someone by dragging them behind horses, the name “Dragged by Horses” seemed a good fit for the band.

Midence says the band started out more brutal than they’ve become, and the name is a little more brutal than the music.
“We’re not as loud as we used to be. Maybe we’re just getting deaf,” said Goldman.

The band members discussed a new-found optimism Midence said he felt hadn’t been there at the start.

Drummer Chris Jaster said he doesn’t feel that optimism and still beats the heck out of the drums as a release of aggression about the world at large.

He said he gets really upset at the state of the world and channels that aggression into his drumming.

“I’m a better person because I’m not holding that stress,” said Jaster.

Goldman and Midence and Jaster (who came on the scene after initial conception), have accomplished considerable feats for a small-town band: Two albums, a review on, and a consistent touring schedule.

Each band member said they expect that sort of movement from being in a band.

All three of them have been playing music since their early teens, and Midence since he was eight (although only seriously since he was 14).

Midence said the trick is to just start with one goal, write some songs, then move to play some gigs, record, play some more gigs, play some out-of-town gigs, record some more, play some more out-of-town gigs and get on a label.

In the last four years, they’ve accomplished each goal and released their most recent album, “Deep in the Woods” on High Wheel Records, which helped them get a tour across the middle states.

Though all three bandmembers say they like going on the road, but Goldman really itches for it.

Goldman jokingly attributed his need for travel to growing up in a broken home and moving all the time. He grew up all over the East Bay and, at age 15, started playing with a hippie-jazz band who had paying gigs.

“I get itchy about it. I aspire to play with other groups on the road, just for that adventure,” said Goldman about touring. “Once you go somewhere and you win over a crowd of complete strangers, that sense of being validated, it’s not the same as playing for people who know you.”

Their plans for the future? Writing a new album they hope to release in the summer of 2009, a time frame they decided on during the interview.

They are also planning a small Humboldt County tour over the next couple weekends.

You can catch them this Saturday at the Alibi, Nov. 1 at the Lil’ Red Lion with Panther Attack and 33 and a Third, and Nov. 15 at the Alibi with Prize Country from Portland.

The writing process for Dragged by Horses involves a white board. They write a few sections of music out in symbols, and then play combinations of those sections until it feels right.

Midence said they lean on numbers a lot as a band. They mix up meter and don’t rely on the standard four-four time. Each song is carefully crafted and written out so it’s not forgotten.

Jaster said, “We’re 90 percent lean, we cut a lot of fat off our music.”

Some other random facts about Dragged by Horses: Midence did sound for the Mighty Ducks Hockey Team when he lived in Orange County. Goldman’s mid-set back flip is choreographed, and they prefer fresh fruit and spring water to hard drugs when on tour.

To read the Pitchfork review, visit

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