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The Scouting Report

Minnesota Music Month Scouting Report 2024: Prize Horse

Prize Horse
Prize HorsePhoto: Adam Udenberg, Graphic: Natalia Toledo | MPR

by Joel Swenson

April 10, 2024

For Minnesota Music Month, The Current polled the local music industry for April’s edition of The Scouting Report. More than 90 people filled out this year’s Minnesota Music Month Scouting Report ballot, and 253 unique artists were chosen overall. The top 10 artists — well, 11 because of a tie — who received the most support include Prize Horse.

Prize Horse’s debut LP, Under Sound, was released on February 16 on the Chicago-based label New Morality Zine. The album brilliantly intertwines elements of emo, shoegaze, alternative, and even a little doom — often in the same song. It’s as introspective as it is explosive and is a massive step forward for the Minneapolis-based band.

In the weeks since Under Sound’s release, guitarist/singer Jake Beitel, bassist Olivia Johnson, and drummer Jon Brenner have shown no signs of slowing down. We caught up with Beitel to discuss what’s next for Prize Horse, how the Minneapolis music scene has shaped their sound, and some cherished memories from the stage.

What are some exciting things coming up for Prize Horse?

We have a couple of tours coming up. This month, we're doing some days with Heart to Gold from here in Minneapolis, and then in May, we're doing another short run with a band called Trauma Ray from Texas. We also just confirmed a longer tour we'll be doing in July that’ll be announced soon. And we have our Audiotree session coming out April 11.

What is the Minneapolis music scene like? How does it inform your sound?

I love the community here. The three of us have all played in bands for a little while, and growing up, it's always just been super supportive. We've all been involved in many different music styles, a lot heavier stuff and some softer stuff too. It's cool to see all the unique stuff that comes out of Minneapolis all the time.

I also play in Twin Tombs and a band called Casual. And our drummer, Jon, plays in a band [called Oftener] that’s more like indie rock. Liv has also played in some hardcore bands, so we all dabble in other stuff. Minneapolis has always been a really good place to experiment with that because people here are like-minded and don't just like heavy music.

How would you define the Minnesota music scene?

In general, I feel like Minnesota music is always pushing boundaries and is kind of ahead of the curve, especially in the Midwest. I don't really know how to describe it, but a lot of people have told us that it seems like some of our music is cold or that it's written in the cold, which it is. But I feel like that is definitely an aspect of Minneapolis music is just a kind of a coldness or a darkness to it.

What’s your favorite Minnesota venue to play? What’s your dream venue?

All of my favorite shows in Minneapolis that we've played have been at 7th Street Entry. Other than that, we played our first shows at a place in St. Paul called Caydence Records, so whenever I go there, the memories are always really good, and the people who run it are super nice. I really love that place and have seen some of my favorite shows there. For dream venues, I'd certainly love Prize Horse to be able to play the First Avenue mainroom at some point. And I’ve actually never played in any of my bands at the Turf Club, but I've been to some great shows there. So I'd like to play there at some point.

What’s one of your favorite local music-related memories?

The first time I saw the band Gleemer at a house in Minneapolis in 2017. Their singer and guitarist Corey [Coffman] produced our album and our last EP, but that show in 2017 was my first time meeting him. Since then, it was like, “Oh, I can't wait until I have a band cool enough to record with this guy.”

What’s the most memorable show you’ve played?

The easy answer would definitely be our release show at 7th Street Entry in February. That was my favorite show we've ever played because it was all with so many good friends, and our best friends Downward came and played the show. They're from Oklahoma, so it was good to see them. That was just a really special night.

What are two tracks people need to hear from you and why?

Number one would be the song “Further From My Start.” Honestly, that one's my favorite single that we put out, and it was the last song we wrote for the album. It just kind of feels like all my favorite parts from [the album] highlighted in one song.

And probably my favorite song on the record is the first track. It's called “Dark Options.” It’s the longest track on the album, and the first half of it is pretty soft and slow, and it’s kind of different from what we've done before. So I really like that one because, as the first track on the album, it introduces what we're doing now.

What shows do you have coming up in Minnesota?

The main one right now is Thursday, May 2, at Cloudland Theater with two touring bands, Infant Island and Senza, and then a band from here called Valeska Surat. It’s three screamo bands, so we're kind of the outlier on the bill, but I'm really excited for that. And we do have a [house] show in mid-April that will probably be announced the week of.

Related: Minnesota Music Month Scouting Report 2024: The top 11 new local artists

Minnesota Music Month Scouting Report 2024: The complete ballots

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.