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A Splendid Talk with... Kaleidoscope Horse | First Contact

Kaleidoscope Horse (Top Clockwise): Desiree Das Gupta, Sean McDonnell, Sam Maloney, Taylor Barber, Kyle McDonnell

Artist: Kaleidoscope Horse

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Peanut Gallery: Sounds


Hello there, Kaleidoscope Horse! It is nice to make your acquaintance. Who will be representing the band in this quaint chat together?

Hey Nick, can I call you Nick? What do you go by? I’m Des - I’m a lead singer/synther/writer. 26 years old, musician living in Toronto.

You can call me Nick or Nicholas (or Piers, my official first name / music moniker). I’m very flexible. Thank you for asking, Des! Who are the other members of Kaleidoscope Horse and how did you all come together to form the band? What is the origin story?

The band started when Sam Maloney and I met in college at Seneca’s Independent Music Production program. On day 1 she asked me to go grocery shopping with her and I essentially moved into her student housing (aka never-ending sleepover style) and we started writing music together. We didn’t notice at the time, but we were holed up in her walk-in closet writing an album that was really free-form and had no rules whatsoever. The name came from a giant drawing I made with crayons on Sam’s wall of a horse with technicolour wings. Kyle McDonnell, who is our bassist, was another student in the program and took notice of what we were doing and was the first person outside of Sam and I that made us feel like we were on to something - whatever that was. Kyle introduced us to his band - Sean (his brother, and guitarist) and Taylor (drummer) - and they agreed to back us up on whatever we did.

For such a spectacular amazing band name from your multicolored crayon creation, your music together must be equally as riveting. How would you describe Kaleidoscope Horse’s music?

I would describe our music as cinematic, psychedelic, and very emotion-based. Emotions aren’t always logical but there’s always a root and a connection as to why those things are being felt - so we do have reasoning behind our musical choices. We’re inspired by classic sounds - the incredible harmonies of doo-wop, heart-breaking old country ballads, groovy jams that you can dance to; but we’re also really into new post-punk, math rock and progressive rock. There is no box to what we do - we fit into a lot of genres.

With such sonic diversity, what are the Kaleidoscope Horse’s influences and heroes?

Not an easy question considering we listen to anything and everything, and it’s pretty individual. I would say our current influences include Patsy Cline, Zeus, CRUMB, King Gizzard and Radiohead.

Why these bands in particular? What do you take away from each?

It’s so hard to talk about it as one person of five, but Patsy’s simplicity and heartbreak are unbeatable. Zeus’s full band harmonies and nostalgic sound (as well as local heroes). CRUMB is so tight - full of multiple influences, trippy and beautiful. King Gizzard