"Yet another band creating music that it's unfashionable to say you don’t like, with pretentious fucking haircuts and a musically elitist aesthetic…okay glad that’s out in the open. Hailing from London, The Horrors have created a public buzz around them with one of the biggest publicity stunts since Janet’s tit popped out - they have managed to rope the legendary Chris Cunningham in to direct the video for their Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster rip off that is ‘Sheena Is A Parasite’. With tunes that nod heavily to-yet sound as if they wouldn’t have made it onto a Cramps or Stems B-side record as the synth organs and distorted guitars are mundane and unimaginative. The eyeliner warriors known as The Horrors have made music for the indie fascists, if you don’t like the 70’s spooky horror movie tunes and out of tune drawls in the form of ‘Death at the Chapel’, you are obviously not cool. Over indulgent fashionably out of tune music with a horror theme that kinda worked when Eighties Matchbox were around, but sucks this time round. Oh what’s that you are gonna throw fake blood at me or attack me with bouffant hair styles?"
Lee Glynn, Gigwise, July 2006
Last time this hack had the pleasure of meeting The Horrors was backstage on their ill-fated tour with The Fratellis. When I mentioned I was from Gigwise their faces soon turned and they asked “are you the ones that hate us?” At the time I was not aware of the review posted above and I said no and assumed a chip on the shoulder was the band’s problem. You see, the thing is a lot of people hate The Horrors - for every one person that likes them there are detractors and that’s what I wanted to get to the bottom of. Is this something that bothers them or do they get off on it?
Now, February 2007, backstage at another NME tour we are met with a similarly frosty reception. Luckily a quick explanation regarding a lack of a common Gigwise consensus and a bit of mild sycophancy puts the interview back on track. Lucky really as one member says “Glad you like us, I was getting ready to throw something at your head otherwise”. A frosty welcome from Britain’s most confrontational band.
So what is it exactly that people seem to dislike so much about The Horrors? We asked guitarist Joshua Von Grimm and bass player Tomethy Furse. “The immediate thing is the image, people find it impossible to get past how we look” says Furse. “I think a lot of the time it’s the extremities that upset people. None of our songs have even the slightest chance of getting on Radio 1. People just want something that is safer and can be put on in the background. You have to actually listen to our music and I think a lot of people don’t actually like that”
What do the band hope the fans get from seeing The Horrors live? “A headache?” jokes Furse. “I think with us a lot of people have pre conceptions about us, probably seen us in magazines or how people talk about us but never seen us live and we are a very good live band,” says Von Grimm “A lot of people who slag us off in the media have really ill informed opinions because we have only had three singles out, it’s not enough to judge a band on fairly. So I feel playing live is a place to show what we are really about” adds Furse
The Horrors much awaited debut album is tentatively scheduled to hit the shelves on March 5, titled ‘Strange House’. So what can we expect? “A surprise, the people that know us as a garage rock band will be surprised. It’s not ten versions of ‘Sheena Is A Parasite’. It’s ten very different songs. There is an industrial song on there, an instrumental spoken word track too.” And who produced the album? “A variety of people but Ben Hillier (Blur) mainly. He was a great person to work with. We wrote most of it in the studio, we took about three weeks off and wrote it all in a week. Ben has a really creative studio, it’s just a big open space. The Horrors have previously worked with Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs fame however his tracks did not make the album cut and will instead be released as B-sides.
The album will include fan favourites ‘Death At The Chapel’, ‘Count In Fives’ and new single ‘Gloves’ we asked Furse and Von Grimm to tell us more about the new single, “Faris (Badwan, lead singer) kept finding single gloves all over London and he began to collect them and putting them in plastic bags. Soon he realised he had amassed hundreds of them and became very concerned. He wanted to apply it to an art project he was doing but it became a song about his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder”
The inverse of all the hate The Horrors face is the love they receive. Every gig is attended by hordes of fans, devoted and committed to the Southend band. So what’s the weirdest or strangest thing a fan has ever done for the band? “There were a couple of girls who dressed as pirates who followed us around but I told them I have paranoid schizophrenia and they stopped that! People have come from Australia to see us. They had not left Australia for twenty years but they just really wanted to see us live. In Japan they have their picture taken with you in the morning and then when you arrive back in the evening they have had the picture developed and want you to sign it, that’s a bit weird.”
And how about strange celebrity fans? “I heard Alex Turner and Arctic Monkeys were fans and Muse really like us. That’s really nice because Muse are such a good band. They are so unfashionable it’s ridiculous, they have never been the same as anyone but still done quite well.” I inform the band that Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance is also a fan. “Oh yeah I heard that” says Von Grimm” I can kind of understand that, he probably thinks we are English goths”.
Finally what are the hopes, plans and ambitions for The Horrors in 2007? “After this we are going to America to play South By South West then coming back to England to do our own tour then after that we are going to Europe for three weeks. After that it’s festivals, we are doing Glastonbury, Reading and some European ones, then back to Japan I think. We are playing live for about a year solid I think”. “The headline tour is going to be special, much more of an event than these faceless NME gigs. You get to influence a lot of people so we will be taking bands we like on the road with us, playing our records too. We have booked the Coronet in London and will be there all day playing films and records before the gig actually starts.
Don’t let the appearances fool you, The Horrors are a really nice bunch of guys who are passionate about their music and band. Not scenesters, fashionistas or any other names you may call them. Sure their music in a bit inaccessible, but they are one of the most exhilarating live bands around and actually pretty unique in a world of indenti-kit indie bands singing about their weekends. The Horrors are a band to appreciate on a different level. Before the interview I heard the band sound checking from outside the venue, a parent of one girl said, “What is that? it’s just noise”. Then when the band took to the stage a bemused audience looked on, the bar suddenly got very busy and when one lad walked past me three pints of lager in hand his face turned sour as he asked his friend “What the hell is this” He was obviously there to see The View.
The Horrors make you feel special for ‘getting’ something that repulses and reviles other people. That is why they are so important and must be written of at your peril. Hate them if you will, it only makes them stronger.