There’s no arguing that Whistle Peak is one of Louisville’s most accomplished, and most underrated bands. Back in April, Whistle Peak added something unique to their stable, as band members David Boston and Billy Petot crafted eight instrumental tracks to soundtrack the “Horse Play” exhibit at the Kentucky Derby Museum. This exhibit runs through December 31, 2014, so if you haven’t been yet, it’s a great chance for adults and kids alike to have fun celebrating one of Kentucky’s proud traditions: 140 years of the Kentucky Derby. I’ve been listening to this at work, and I’ve been amazed by how easily these tracks transport my imagination to scenes from horse races.
The Kentucky Derby Museum is releasing this soundtrack on CD and digital formats, and you can stream it below. For instrumentals that are somewhat secondary to the visual component of the art exhibit, these tracks really capture the spirit and the environment of the Kentucky Derby and add so much more to “Horse Play”.
I asked Billy Petot of Whistle Peak a few questions about the Horse Play soundtrack, so you can read his own thoughts on it.
What was it like for Whistle Peak to soundtrack this exhibit? What was the creative process?
Well, we mostly just went into it thinking we wanted the songs to represent different periods of time yet still work together well, to be playful and nostalgic. The original idea was that there would be a song for each station in the exhibit, representing different time periods. And we wanted the songs to be able to play together in some combination because each song would be playing at the same time and depending on where you were standing in the exhibit you would be listening to some particular combination, blah, blah, it didn’t work. so due to size and space constraints, the soundtrack ended up taking on a more playlist construction.
Has Whistle Peak ever done anything like this, combining or collaborating with other artistic media?
For a few of our live shows, we had Ryan Daly project video, which wasn’t just random images. He actually made all of those trippy music videos. And until you’d asked that question I’d forgotten about them. But other than working with him and performing with other musicians, no we have never done something like this, where we are approached with a concept and asked to bring it to fruition.
(this might be a dumb question, but I think it’s neat that kids got to enjoy this) The Horse Play exhibit is specifically designed to include children, which isn’t the typical audience many Louisville artists play for. What are your thoughts on including children, inviting them to participate in being viewers or audience members?
We thought that was neat as well. I have a stepdaughter in elementary school, so I really wanted her school to take a trip there, but I don’t think that is happening. It is neat to know that kids are listening though. our songs have always included children in a way. Often when writing lyrics we approach from a children’s perspective with imaginary animal and stuff like that. A lot of our songs have toy instruments and noise makers that belong to my kids or something David picked up at a flea market or something. Friends with children always say how much their kids love our music, which I find flattering. If your music makes a kid dance, I think you are tapping into something that we all naturally desire to hear and feel.
Any other things you’d like to add about this album?
I was a bit surprised with how it turned out. I like listening to it. It was nice to think less about creating for the band, our yourself, and instead to try and bring someone else’s vision to life while still holding on to whatever it is that is Whistle Peak. I think we accomplished that goal and I hope it leads to similar projects in the future. Another thing I wanted to add is that the exhibit was curated and dreamt up by Dominic Guarneschelli who works for the museum. A neat thing about working with the museum was that we had access to any archival footage of any Derby race we wanted. So we were able to sample sounds from those videos, the sound of horses or trainers bragging on their horses, or just the crowd. Also, KET gave us permission to sample audio from their documentary on the Barney Bright clock, which was really cool as well.