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Horse Tornado is the moniker of songwriter and producer Dylan Hilliker. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, Hilliker found his whole summer free from touring and any job commitments. “I finally picked up my guitar again,” Hilliker explains.
Built from simplistic acoustic guitar lines and electronic drums, Horse Tornado’s debut album, The Great Pause, was made entirely during the quarantine of 2020. His mother was the inspiration for the title of the record. “When I was thinking about a name for this record, I wanted it to reflect the state of the world when I was writing it,” Hilliker says, “I’m a very driven person and when I don’t have something to be working on, I tend to get down on myself. My mom was the one who told me that this was the time, if any, to follow your passions even in the face of this immense suffering. ‘We’re living in ‘The Great Pause’, she said.’”
Made with the help of producer Zach Zurn and members of Why Not, Greentop, and Hilliker’s old band Dystonia, the record strikes a balance between expansiveness and intimacy, commenting on how even in the isolation of the pandemic, there is a shared human experience. “Most of this record is me trying to get through the things happening presently,” Hilliker interprets, “I have to keep reminding myself that all of us are going through a lot of the same things. It’s both comforting and terrifying.”