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Fahrenheit V13: Austin Greaves of Horseshoes Shares How Books Shape His Music and Life

Frontman of DC rock band Horseshoes, Austin Greaves, sits down to chat about how books impact his music and life in our latest Fahrenheit V13.



Austin Greaves (aka Horseshoes), photo courtesy of Austin Greaves

Indie-rocker Horseshoes is known for his authentic storytelling and compelling lyrics that accompany his alternative-rock soundscapes. It’s entirely possible that his lyrical prowess comes from his love for words and literature.

The recent work of Horseshoes – “Say What You Mean” – exhibits this storytelling component as the person narrating is initially frustrated that somebody isn’t being upfront about who they really are. In an attempt to understand this person, the narrator puts himself at risk of getting hurt. The main character wonders if this person hasn’t developed a sense of self, and therefore doesn’t know what they want. The lyrics reflect an unexpected ending to the song when the confused narrator admits that he has difficulty understanding others because of his own narcissistic consumption with himself.

The man behind the band – Austin Greaves – sat down with V13 to chat all things books – books he loves, books that shaped his childhood, and more about why books are important in his everyday life. Continue reading for the newest installation of Fahrenheit V13!

Cover art for "Say What You Mean" by Horseshoes.

Cover art for “Say What You Mean” by Horseshoes.

What was the most memorable book from your childhood?

Austin Greaves: “Honestly, Harry Potter. Easy answer. I was dyslexic and couldn’t really read until after I started heavy tutoring in the third grade. I attribute Harry Potter to curing my dyslexia. I went from being repulsed by books to staying up all night reading. Waiting eagerly for the Prisoner of Azkaban to drop.”

How important were books and reading in your family growing up? Did you share that same level of enthusiasm, or did you differ from them on that?

“Yah, people in my family were pretty big readers. My dad loved historical fiction, My sister – fantasy, my mom – poetry. Early on, I remember going on vacations and feeling like the odd man out because they would all be reading which I thought was unbearable at the time (because of my dyslexia). I would get pretty stir crazy. It wasn’t until after college that I became a big reader.”

Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? What’s your preferred genre?

“I go back and forth. Generally, I like fiction, but right now I’m reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain which I’m pretty into. Big Anthony Bourdain fan.”

Who are your favorite writers?

“Pretty tough question, but Ben Lerner, Donna Tartt, Sally Rooney, Jonathan Franzen, Ottessa Moshfegh, Hanya Yanagihara to name a few. Hemingway and Fitzgerald.”

What is the book that has made the most impact on you as a person?

“The War of Art by Steven Pressfield has definitely been pretty impactful as of late. It has helped guide me as a musician to try and embrace the spiritual aspects of making art. Trying to not let your ego interfere with the art that you are channeling. Just allowing it to flow out and trying your best to nurture it into existence. Putting in time and not allowing resistance to overcome/paralyze you.”

How often do you find or make time to read? Are you paperback, hardcover, or ebook?

“Something physical for sure – paperback or hardcover if it’s first edition. I generally ready every morning for 10-20 minutes as I ease into the day. Then, sometimes at night as I’m going to sleep, and if I’m really into the book sporadically throughout the day.”

Austin Greaves reading a favorite book. Photo by Austin Greaves.

Austin Greaves reading a favorite book. Photo by Austin Greaves.

How many books do you own? Any titles or editions you’re particularly fond of?

“I own a bunch of books but I’ve been considering committing myself more to minimalism and donating them. I think that I have been unconsciously collecting books because I don’t want to let go and forget about them, but I recently started a Goodreads account where I keep track of all the books electronically. They are definitely cool decoratively though so I don’t know, maybe I’ll change my mind.”

Have you ready any musical biographies? If so, any favorites?

“Patti Smith’s Just Kids for sure is my favorite. I don’t even really like her music but the book is awesome.”

What’s the best part of reading for you? What’s your ideal reading setup?

“Best part of reading is getting totally lost in a book and entering into a different world. Getting out of my own head thoroughly and into a deep reading hypnotic trance. To do this I generally need to be in a pretty relaxing environment and commit to just putting my phone away for a bit.”

Photo of Austin Greaves (aka Horseshoes) by Nancy Breslin.

Photo of Austin Greaves (aka Horseshoes) by Nancy Breslin.

Which book series do you think deserves a proper screen adaptation? Who would you want to play the main characters? Which artists would do the soundtracks?

“I would love if the Cohen Brothers adapted Lonesome Dove and Streets of Laredo by Larry McMurtry. I know there was a TV adaptation some time ago, but we need the story refreshed into an epic western movie or TV show.”

Dawn Jones is the curator of the V13 imPRESSED Column. Previously known as imPRESSED Indie Music Blog, Jones and her team joined forces with V13 in 2020 to collaborate on an exclusive column on V13's site (imPRESSED) to bring a niche focus to the rapidly evolving indie music genre. Dawn is also the founder of Pressed PR - a boutique PR agency that focuses on PR for independent creatives. Pressed PR’s team works on a variety of campaigns partnering with independent filmmakers, independent artists, and independent labels. Pressed PR’s music clientele has landed in the pages of Billboard, Atwood Magazine, EARMILK, HYPE Magazine, and many others.