Interview: Cowtown


Hailing from the northern city of Leeds, Cowtown was formed around 2003 as a guitar/drum duo playing GBV lo-fi dirge noise. Originally it was housemates Hilary Knott and David Michael Shields, before introducing Jonathan Nash and therefore creating the trio that they are known as today. But what really makes this group of musical friends turned band tick?

HTF: Why the name Cowtown?

Jonathan: The name comes from a They Might Be Giants song. In hindsight we all agree it was a bad idea.

HTF: Tell us about your first gig.

J: Hard to recall but I remember we were originally billed as Horse The Band before finding out that, unbelievably, the name was already taken by another music gang. At this point we were still playing dirgy lo-fi rock written primarily by Hilary and the line-up was drums and two guitars.

HTF: What would you say is your biggest influence? (Musically and personally)

J: Again, hard to say. We are influenced mainly by what we chose to consume, namely, Coffee, street pipes, cherry cola, ginger beer, bananas, falafel and pizza. Dave is partial to fish butties, I enjoy an ale and Hilary likes the buffet because you can try a little bit of everything without having to make any solid decisions.

HTF: Is there a dominant member of the band or do you all settle things equally?

J: We are all equal in the eyes of Cowtown.

HTF: What can you tell us about the Leeds music scene?

J: The streets are rife with music gangs…baiting for blood.

HTF: What process do you go through when writing a new song?

J: The process is one of initial creative enlightenment followed by gruelling repetition, refinement, assessment, self-doubt and rejection concluding in an eventual compromise between what we hoped for and what we’re stuck with.

HTF: Time for a controversial question… Do you think that bands can be friends with other bands or deep down are all bands just competing against one another?

J: Of course bands can friends! Friendship binds the whole thing together. That’s how the bands start, that’s how they get gigs and that’s how they eventually end up making records. Now there isn’t a proper music industry friendship in KING! Personally I enjoy a bit of band rivalry, I think it’s fun but I don’t come across it much in Leeds or anywhere else for that matter. Everyone seems to be too busy eating pizza and getting wasted.

More controversial questions please.

HTF: And finally, do you have any upcoming events/projects that you can share with our readers?

J: For now you can buy the album digitally for a fiver at

Outside of Cowtown you can find David Shields playing drums with gore-prog wizards Monster Killed By Laser, Hilary will be playing drums her new group Hilary And The Hate Crimes and showing her manipulated 8mm films at various events and exhibitions under the guise of Bear Trouble and I’ll be busying himself playing drums with Hookworms and Nope.

For more information on Cowtown, head to their Facebook page at –

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