Get To Know Them: Cheval Sombre

When you listen to Cheval Sombre’s music, it evokes a sense of freedom within you, like a road trip with no map or uncharted territory. His music has an airiness that keeps you floating from track to track. The artist recently released a teaser video for his new single, “It’s Not Time,” and we had a chance to ask the artist a few questions about his inspiration, touring, and what he has planned for the future. His answers, much like his music, were poetic, thought provoking, and made us hopeful that we’ll be hearing much more new music from the talented artist. Speaking of, Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia has announced Cheval Sombre on the bill for a rare show this September! Follow the link for more info:

CHEVAL SOMBRE St. Mark's Church© 2014 J. Valdina

ANON: How does the music you’re working on now, including the single “It’s Not Time,” differ from your past work?

Cheval Sombre: It’s a good question, that one, and difficult to answer. I don’t go into work with any preconceived notions – or any notions for that matter. I go someplace quiet with a guitar, sit, and see what happens. See what comes through. It’s always different, as each moment is.


A: You played a show at the end of February to celebrate the release of your new single. How was the response to your new material?

CS: Yes – I did a show at St. Mark’s Church with the Poetry Project. It was wonderful. The response was – the response was something I had waited for, for a good, long while. To say that the audience was supportive, generous, kind, lovely, does not begin to speak of the magic of that night. I felt that, somehow, we all in the room were breathing together. After each song, I let the last notes ring out from the guitar, just drift away, and then I felt a space in which I was able to exhale, and after the last breath had left me, the folks in the room came in. And the applause was gentle, warm, respectful, and loving. I could feel it. We all in the room could. It was a night of giving, deep listening, of breathing, of depth. It was as though, somehow, we were all glowing.


A: What new influences have impacted the sound for your new single and new music to come?

CS: That sort of thing is very hard to distill for me. Each day I encounter miraculous moments, which lift me up. On the new single, love played an important role on both songs – and the B-side was recorded in 2006 – so love continues and continues to do so. But really each new day brings a wealth of things to hold up to the light, from an infant’s smile and laugh, to an unexpected glass of wine on the house, or the beginnings of spring, or remembering how incredible someone dear to you truly is, or watching deer go gracefully by, or hearing an old Stones song again for the trillionth time and throwing your hands up in the air and just going, wow.


A: Is there any sort of full length music video in the works for “It’s Not Time?”

CS: Hmmm, I don’t know. The music is very cinematic. My label in London, Sonic Cathedral, has had some very bizarre interest in the past. Who knows…


A: Your music seems perfect for a cross-country drive. Are there certain places, spaces, or environments that especially inspire you or your sound?

CS: Ah, the open road! Thank you. The road always inspires. But subways too, and planes, and walks. Long walks always do it for me. New York City, the Hudson Valley, Montreal, Italy, and London have all been excellent recently. And the sea. The beach. Water, always. But especially the ocean.

FRONTArtwork by Flora Wang

A: Who are your favorite artists out there right now, or who is someone you cannot stop listening to?

CS: I’ve been listening to a lot of lute music today, which never fails. Terry Riley has always been very big for me.


A: What is your favorite or most used medium for listening to music?

CS: At home I listen to records on the turntable. I enjoy putting the needle on the record every time, as much as I did as a kid. I’m not against any medium. If it plays, good; if music can be heard, good. The iPod was a great invention. My father gave me one years ago. Bring records into the woods or onto the beach? Yes, yes, yes.


A: What sort of venues do you prefer to play? Do you prefer intimate shows to festivals or festivals to smaller shows?

CS: I prefer intimacy – it’s music, after all. To those who can create intimacy at festivals? Many, many hats off.


A: What is your future plan for touring in the US?

CS: This year will be spent recording, mostly. But perhaps some recording in California, so maybe a show out there if it’s right. But mostly recording.


A: You’ve done a lot of your work and recording either in the New York area or in the UK. What is the biggest difference in your creative process or environment between the two?

CS: I find New York City and London to be strangely similar, despite all the miles in between. It’s just the flight, really.


A: Lastly, a question I always like to ask, what toppings must you get on your pizza?

CS: A good vino on the side, please.

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