Left: David Atkinson, Right: Brandon Richier
Author: Giancarlo Agogliati
Palehorse/Palerider is a Denver-based rock band that specializes in a genre they refer to as “Doomgaze,” a hybrid between gloomy doom metal and atmospheric shoegaze. They were propelled into being prominent in the doom scene in part by their 2017 debut album Burial Songs. Their real break into the scene however, and my personal introduction to their unique sound, came through their 2020 collaborative album with fellow act Lord Buffalo: Legends of the Desert, Vol. 1. Always a trio since their inception, Palehorse/Palerider went through an emotional loss in February 2021 when drummer and cornerstone of the Denver music scene Nathan Marcy tragically passed away after his battle with cancer. I sat down with the two current original members, lead singer and guitarist Brandon Richier, and bassist David Atkinson, to learn more about their journey.
Giancarlo: So how did PH/PR come to be? Seems like you guys must’ve been all on the same page to merge genres like you have.
David: Wow – I guess it’s been almost 10 years since we all got together, but when we first started we actually had a member fall out of the band, we were originally a 4 piece, but have only recorded as a trio. We had a different name at the time: Hiraeth, which we decided was way too hard to spell and pronounce, but it had kind of a cool meaning.
Brandon: Yeah, a homesickness for a home you can never return to.
Giancarlo: Well Palehorse/Palerider is definitely a great name, looks great on album covers too! Can you guys talk a little about where that fundamental doomy, fuzz-pedaled sound came from in the early days?
Brandon: I can field this one. When we first started, we had much more of a pop feel, with us intentionally playing with clean tones. Turning heavy music pretty and adding a ton of reverb was our main goal. A lot of it was based on ability too, like I can’t do cookie monster growly vocals. But it didn’t matter for playing live, the Denver music scene is so welcoming, so we were quickly playing with some doom bands that we sounded nothing like, and we started to adapt to their heavier sound in some ways.
David: Yeah, we also committed to Drop A and Drop C tuning for Burial Songs which really opened us up to making dark, ambient stuff.
Brandon: Yeah, and that really helped us fill out our sound as a trio too, those lower tunings.
Giancarlo: So you guys use a ton of cemetery imagery in your social media and albums, but it seems to be less about morbidity and more about the artistry of that phase of life. What led you to those symbols?
Brandon: I definitely contributed to some extent of our using those images because they take such a large part of my photography.
David: Yeah, we’ve had some tragedy in the band, and we really try to find beauty in those traditionally dark phases of life, cause we make music that has a really dark tone, but it’s also kinda pretty, rather than rough.
(Aside, no longer interview)
Definitely an inspiring goal, this acceptance and yearning to assign beauty to the generally avoided aspects of living can be extremely inspirational and healing.
(Back to interview)
Giancarlo: Is there anything you can tell me about what’s coming up for PH/PR?
David: Around 2023, we’ll be releasing some cover tracks we’ve been working on. We’ve been hard at work recording for pretty much the last two years, so we’re really excited to share what we’ve been working on.
Brandon: This’ll also be the first music we release as a 4-piece, since we’ve got one more guitarist on these tracks.
Giancarlo: I can’t wait to hear those, thank you so much for speaking with KXSU today!
To listen to Palehorse/Palerider’s unique sound, visit the following links, and be sure to follow them on social media to catch their upcoming releases!
(Full Burial Songs Album)
(“Lament” from Legends of the Desert Vol.1)
Social Media Links:
Giancarlo Agogliati | Drifting in and out of Space | KXSU Arts and Music Reporter