With the World at My Back
With records from Run-DMC to Puff Daddy, Gun's 'n Roses to Al Stewart, and Cyndi Lauper to the Beastie Boys all under his belt, horatio's honest punk/folk brand of americana is sure to please those looking for something different in a mainstream world. Conviction. That's something you'll find at the core of everything Horatio has ever done, from thrash-and-burn live shows to lushly orchestrated ballads, in buoyantly playful and introspective ruminations, and in his self-contained approach to his work. Through it all, and through more than six years in the trenches of low-budget touring, Horatio has stuck to his guns and won himself an avid cult-following that is steadily blossoming. 'As an artist, I'm uneasy with the notion that I need someone to be the medium between my music and the public's ears. Take painting, for example. Imagine someone telling Monet or Picasso to redo a work to make it more 'user friendly.' I don't subscribe to that way of thinking. I know what I want to do, so I do it,' says Horatio. 'If people look to get something from me, I hope it is the idea that you can do whatever you want to do, as long as you're willing to die for it. Screw the naysayer's!' 'The thing is, I've never changed my idea about what it is I want to do,' says Horatio, 'It's very dangerous to define oneself by the opinions of others. I've never done that, whether times were good or bad.' Lately, times have been very good for the multi-talented singer/songwriter. After dream-come-true-performances with legends like Eric Clapton, Billy Idol, and Duff McKagan of Guns and Roses, Horatio's much anticipated, self performed, written, produced and recorded album With The World At My Back is receiving much pre-release praise. The enigmatic track, Prom Queen, promises to set the stage on radio, and it is already on hold for the upcoming film, Lights Out On Broadway. 'Making this record was a serious growth process for me,' says Horatio. 'I've wanted to whittle the recording process down for a long time, and to be directed by the music rather than directing it. Staying completely solo for all aspects of the process seemed like the only way to get what I was searching for. From jump, it clicked so naturally, and the feeling was amazing.' Horatio further describes the 'spacious and free ease of sound,' evident in tunes like 'COVERED' and the aching 'Free Spirit,' which yearns for the restoration of a relationship gone awry. The hard acoustic journey produced by Horatio resonates with a raucous power that adds new dimension to teenage, working-class angst, evident in tunes like 'Prom Queen,' which was eerily written 2 days before the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, and 'Surrounded' which is subtitled, Ode To Father Kenny. In the spirit of drunken trailer park sobriety, songs like 'VAPOR,' 'Head,' and 'American Dream' question the ability to make dreams come true in an often had to mouth existence. I'm into writing music that is from my own perspective,' says Horatio. 'Although there are a lot of people writing to emulate the perspective of a 17 year old, I think that's bogus. I want to stay true to myself, and true to my music. Anything else would be preposterous.' Even more than his previous recordings, With The World At My Back sees Horatio integrating multiple personalities into a cohesive whole. Mixing aggression with finesse, toughness with tenderness, and layers with space, the result comprises a seamless whole. Strings artfully arranged by Horatio co-exist with Mesa Boogie-driven feedback and haunting screams with lonely gut string acoustics, neither overwhelming the other on memorable songs like the wry 'DEADLY SIN,' and the inextinguishable 'I Live.' 'I think the record breathes a lot, and it draws people into the spaces rather than just pounding them with a sound,' says Horatio band drummer, Aaron Brooks. 'He's done things that were really in-your-face, but I think he's been wanting to create a spaciousness in his sound for a long time.' A Manhattan resident for a number of years, Horatio's breakout years were in Rochester, New York, where he immediately established a razor sharp songwriting ability to match his tongue. It didn't take long for those elements to startle, entertain, and win both friends and fans. That exciting content had surfaced earlier in works like the releases of Shrieking Violet and Dust Mother, both of which burst at the seams with urgent originals like 'MY OWN SLAVE,' and the somber anger of a bulimic's life in 'Ambient Dust Mother,' the latter affording a bit more mainstream recognition. Honest, unspoiled, and on occasion crass, Horatio's understanding of self and direction is infectious. Sleeping on studio floors, getting paid the occasional 'C-Note' or free recording time, Horatio honed his studio chops as a youngster in the 90's working on songs from groups like the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and Cyndi Lauper. Through that valuable exposure to such varying artists, he developed an open approach to the creation process both in production style and in the writing. Collaboration with the likes of Al Stewart and Peter Wood, Grammy Nominated Shane Faber and Kim Fowley, Horatio quickly saw where he wanted to be. He paid his dues, absorbed what he could, and developed an original vision culminating in the completion of With The World At My Back. 'He's brilliant and totally twisted, a workaholic,' says Jay Morrissey, Horatio's acoustic guitarist and occasional collaborator. 'Words like genuine, extremely talented, and hardworking to the point of insanity come to mind. In fact, much of my style and approach to composition has changed since we started working and playing together. He is a great teacher as well. It's all about heart and honesty, not chops! He wants to hear passion or pain, love or hate, anarchy or harmony. He wants real emotion, real feeling. Horatio has a lust for life and a personality that could make even the Pope laugh out loud while delivering the Christmas Eve Sermon.' Horatio's work ethic has led some to compare him to none other than the elusive Artist Formally Known as Prince, another creative force in music who is sometimes looked upon as a tyrant. On the 1997 purchase of his studio/home in the musically storied Asbury Park, New Jersey, Horatio says, 'I needed a haven, a kind of retreat. Just a place to be able to work uninterrupted and on my own terms. Until I had that, I didn't want to record another note. I wanted this project to be truly solo and pure in spirit. The BMC Label was just a natural step in keeping my independence. As for references to Prince, if by that people mean I would die for my work and that I know what I want, then I'm guilty. Who really cares about things like that anyway? I just want to get on to the next song.'