You could say Justin Karas' career in music was predestined. He bought his first keyboard---one he still uses when performing with Fall Horsie---with money saved from his career as a child model for Zellers catalogues.
"I don't know why I even mentioned that," he says with a laugh, reflecting on his past career sporting the hottest fashions available to 10-year-olds in the mid-1990s.
Yet it's thanks, in part, to those glamour shots from yesteryears that Karas is now on the cusp of releasing Fall Horsie's second album, Devil(e)Durge. Released on Youth Club Records, the album is filled with highly sophisticated pop songs with plenty of unexpected left turns. Compared to last year's From the Seam of Doors, a Cone of Light, the new album has a pronounced orchestral bent that's highlighted by the combination of Kara's piano with classical strings.
"My ultimate hope with these songs is is that people can have a relationship with them."
His own relationship with Fall Horsie began three years ago in Halifax, when Karas was an art student at NSCAD (he graduated last year). Karas took advantage of a friend's digital four-track recording device to put together a CD of his own songs. Thanks to the open-mindedness of his professor, Michael Fernandes, Karas presented this recording as part of an art show at the Khyber ICA for Fernandes' drawing class.
Positive response at the show, combined with some exposure on campus-community station CKDU, led to a performance at the Khyber that fall. Oddly enough, one of the people who played at that show was Stacey Lloyd Brown, who recorded Devil(e)Durge and will be opening for Fall Horsie on their upcoming cross-country tour.
The upcoming tour will be the second three-month journey for Fall Horsie, following a trek the band did last summer with close pals Ghost Bees. Despite the plethora of horror stories associated with groups taking on the road, Karas has nothing but positive associations with touring. "I hear from friends in bands who complain about having to travel. Maybe I haven't done it enough so far to be tired of it. But I was the happiest I've ever been touring last summer. It was really beautiful."
Best of all, Karas---who now lives in Montreal---will get to open the tour in the place where his musical life came together. He still has strong feelings about the close-knit nature of Halifax's arts community.
"I feel really lucky having been able to start playing music in Halifax, because I think it's a really conducive space to being creative. There are lots of people here interested and dedicated to supporting music and art."