Pittsburgh band feeble little horse discuss their performance at The Deli, signing to Saddle Creek and their upcoming tour


Image courtesy of Ryan Walchonski

feeble little horse, a Pittsburgh-based band.

By Madilyn Cianci, Staff Writer

When two Pitt students, Ryan Walchonski and Sebastian Kinsler, started to make noise pop music in 2021, it was just a “fun project.” 

After the duo added two more members to the group, they solidified themselves as the band feeble little horse. They now play shows for hundreds of people on tour and have recently signed to the record label Saddle Creek. Students may recognize their merch worn around campus or moved in the mosh pit during their recent performance at The Deli.

When the band started as a duo, Walchonski and Kinsler covered guitar, vocals and production. It took time for the group to become the noise pop band they are now because their sound missed a drummer and a lead vocalist. 

Walchonski, a 2021 Pitt alumni, was Jake Kelley’s resident assistant at Nordenberg Hall. Together, they attended house shows in the Pittsburgh area. Through their mutual love of music, Kelley, a senior economics and history double major, eventually joined the band as a drummer. 

Lydia Slocum, lead vocalist, is not a Pitt student, but she grew up in Pittsburgh. She became involved in feeble little horse after a grade school friend introduced her to Kinsler.

According to Walchonski, the band continued to make music for fun after officially solidifying itself as feeble little horse in 2021. As the band gained popularity in the Pittsburgh area, Walchonski said it was “exciting to have something we could be proud of.”

 “I think Ryan and I just always tried to make sounds that sounded like what we listen to, and Jake and Lydia fit well into that vision,” Kinsler, a junior chemistry major, said. 

On Oct. 15, feeble little horse performed at The Deli in Oakland. The band came back to “where it all started” to play for their fanbase, which attracted a crowd of more than 200 people. It was feeble’s first DIY house show in more than a year, and members of The Deli prepared to have the show outdoors for a larger turnout. However, they were surprised when people outside of Pittsburgh came to the show. 

Elizabeth Sidelnikov, a senior industrial engineering major, lives in and manages The Deli with her roommate, Gwen Valvona, a senior studio art major. Sidelnikov said although she expected a large number of locals, she noticed a “completely different crowd” the night of the feeble little horse show. 

“I was seeing people that I’ve never seen come to the show,” Sidelnikov said. “People went out of their way to go to a house show venue.”

Alex Gosek, a senior environmental science major who helps manage The Deli, said one attendee mentioned they traveled out of state to see the band perform. This is a rare occurrence for a house venue like The Deli because local Pitt students make up almost all the attendees. 

“Some girl was like ‘Yeah, I came from Ohio.’” Gosek said. “It shows that people will commute to Pittsburgh to see them, which happens so rarely.” 

Valvona was not surprised that fans of the band traveled out of state to attend a show. She said feeble little horse made an exception to play a show at a venue like The Deli because “they’ve definitely moved past that.”

Valona’s statement is true — earlier this year, feeble little horse played in Brooklyn at The Living Gallery with the band Hotline TNT. According to Walchonski, their music was an inspiration to him and Kinsler when the duo started making their own sound.

Someone from the record label Saddle Creek attended The Living Gallery show and reached out to the band after their performance. Walchonski said the band did not plan on signing to a label, but it “just felt right” because Saddle Creek gives the band the ability to set their own expectations. 

“We always wanted to do things on our own terms and thought that a label would limit that,” Walchonski said. “But Saddle Creek has, from the start, been very flexible with the fact that most of us are students and we can only play shows when we feel like it.” 

If the band could go back to the beginning, before performing for hundreds of people and signing to a record label, they would tell each other that being in a band comes with its fair share of compromising.

“I’d say the biggest thing I had to learn was not to get my feelings hurt about certain things we’re trying,” Kelley said. “Everybody’s just trying to make the best music possible and that comes with a lot of compromise.” 

Slocum would tell herself to not be stubborn — she had never worked with others creatively before joining the band, so compromising and learning from her bandmates was “very new” territory for her. However, this has become her favorite thing about being a bandmate.

“That’s one of my favorite things about being in a band now,” Slocum said. “We can make something together that none of us could make on our own.”

Walchonski said the last year has been “crazy” because they’ve played a lot of shows. Their song “Chores” recently received attention from NPR and The New York Times, who name-dropped feeble little horse along with artists Rihanna and SZA. 

The attention comes in anticipation of feeble’s upcoming tour, which includes performances in Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington, D.C. According to Walchonski, the tour runs from late December through early January. 

This tour comes with their second album, which the band is yet to formally announce. 

“Timeline to be determined,” Walchonski said. “Part of our band is just taking things as they come.”