Nina Nastasia

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Riderless Horse is my first solo record, and it’s the first record my former
partner, Kennan Gudjonsson, didn’t produce.

I haven’t made an album since 2010. I decided to stop pursuing music
several years after my sixth record, Outlaster, because of unhappiness,
overwhelming chaos, mental illness, and my tragically dysfunctional
relationship with Kennan. Creating music had always been a positive outlet
during difficult times, but eventually it became a source of absolute misery.

Kennan, a cat, and I lived in a studio apartment in NYC for 25 years, finding
ways to survive while making records and going on tours. Our apartment was
the place where people would come stay, eat, drink, play music, and use our
tub. It was quite a home we had created, but it was decaying steadily from the
moment we moved in, and in the end, it was as if black mold was growing
beneath the surface, undetected, and the two of us were dying and getting
too weak to ever leave. We loved each other. We were each other’s family,
but there was ongoing abuse, control and manipulation. We hid. We didn’t
want anyone to see how ugly things could get, so we increasingly isolated
from our friends and family. We were lost.

On January 26, 2020, I made the decision to separate and live apart, and on
January 27, Kennan died by suicide. What a thing, suicide. I can only feel
sadness and guilt about it. Maybe I’ll have other reactions to it later on.

Riderless Horse documents the grief, but it also marks moments of
empowerment and a real happiness in discovering my own capability. Steve
Albini produced this record with me, and Greg Norman assisted. The three
of us are old friends, and we did a field recording in a guesthouse built like a
lighthouse that two very dear friends of mine have in Esopus, NY. It was
exactly the right environment to work on this record. We all had meals
together, cried, laughed, and told stories. It was perfect. It made me realize
how much I love writing, playing and recording music.

Terrible things happen. These were some terrible things. So, what to do –
learn something valuable, connect with people, move the fuck out of that
apartment, remember the humor, find the humor, tell the truth, and make a
record. I made a record.