The Horrors interview
Smoke & mirrors
They are among the most musically uncompromising and sartorially aware new bands of 2007 but The Horrors are more than clothes horses and they have made enemies to prove it. Miles Johnson catches up with them.
The Horrors are in need of a fag. Having had their chance for a nicotine fix disrupted by fans who are loitering outside The Caves in Edinburgh hoping for a glimpse of the band, they now find themselves upstairs experiencing first hand the realities of smoke-free Scotland. Mop-headed organist Spider Webb is hanging out of the window. ‘You don’t think anyone is going to catch us up here do you?’ he asks as he lights up. If it were not for the eyeliner, shock-headed bouffants and assembled fans they would almost resemble school boys behind the bike sheds, and not the hottest musical property in the country.
But The Horrors are just that. First their feral take on 50s and 60s garage rock managed to woo legendry director Chris Cunningham out of retirement for the gory (and subsequently banned) video for ‘Sheena is a Parasite’. The band had released just a handful of singles but soon found themselves slapped across music magazine covers. Then came the small matter of frontman Faris Rotter being named second in the NME ‘Cool List’ and the band amassing enough look-alike fans for their recent shows to resemble dumping grounds for extras from Night of the Living Dead. Now the London-by-Southend five piece have been shunted onto the same publication’s Indie Rock tour.
‘We really didn’t set out to conquer the world,’ says guitarist Joshua von Grimm. ‘The thing we thought about was maybe putting out a seven inch single. We’re all record collectors, so the idea of just doing that was exciting enough.’
Webb nods in agreement. ‘Obviously everything has happened so quickly that people are quick to attack us as a gimmick band’, says the organist. ‘The thing is it’s almost too easy to dismiss us like that. People often don’t know anything about us or understand where we’re coming from. We have just finished recording our album and that, we hope, will settle things. At the moment people just know we have released two singles and wear smart clothes but the album is amazing and after that it won’t be as easy to dismiss us.’
The Horrors have also attracted attention for their off-stage antics, most notably the alleged rivalry that developed between them and The Fratellis when the two bands toured last year.
‘That was definitely a case of certain magazines trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill’ says Tomethy Furse.
Webb, though, is quick to interject. ‘All the other bands hung out together on the tour bus but they were pretty unfriendly and difficult to work with. It was quite funny, every night they would thank everybody for playing but they wouldn’t thank us. There wasn’t really an active rivalry but there was definitely some bad feeling there.’
Relations between them were further soured when Faris placed a dripping black handprint on the Glasgow band’s stage banner. ‘It was in good humour but their tour manager went mental,’ says Webb. ‘You can only laugh about it really.’
With their debut album set to appear in March The Horrors are understandably happy. ‘I’m pleased we divide opinion and provoke controversy,’ says Webb. ‘It’s much better than being boring.’ That agreed, if their album matches the intensity of their live shows then The Horrors might well be releasing one of the best albums of the New Year.
The Horrors play as part of the NME Indie Rock Tour, Carling Academy, Glasgow, Thu 1 Feb. SOLD OUT. The Horrors’ debut album, The Horrors, is out on Mon 5 Mar on Loog Records.