The Horrors, Cambridge Corn Exchange, 20.2.07

This week's comments on "Sheena is a Parasite" on Youtube:

"Utter shite, these lot are one of the worst 'bands' I have ever heard. They can fuck off"

"In my opinion The Horrors are the best band to come along for a longgggg while, LONG LIVE THE HORRORS!"

R*E*P*E*A*T's Rosey and Jordy caught up with Guitarist Joshua Von Grimm and Bassist Tomethy Furse in a backstage launderette to find out why this band is polarising opinions right down the middle…


*(J) I've not heard a lot of your music but Rosey sent me some links to some songs on Youtube and Myspace, so what can you tell me that's good about your songs?
- What, stuff we like about them? It's something new and refreshing, it's a definite step away from what's going on in music in this country at the moment.
* (J) Are you enjoying the tour?
- Yes, very much so!
* (R) So you don't mind playing with indie bands like The View and The Automatic?
- Well you can take it two ways, either see it as tagging along with bands we're not really interested in or see it as a chance to play to 2000 people every night, most of whom have never seen you before.
* (R) What's the reaction been like? I read on the internet that you got bottled off one night, is that true?
- NO it's not true. We have had a few bottles thrown at us, but that just goes to show how we polarise people, and while there's people that don't like us there's a gang of two or three hundred kids going crazy down the front at every show we play.
* (R) I think that's really healthy, all of my favourite bands have polarised people - The Manics obviously but also The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Pistols of course, lots more …
- And there's no one who does it anymore. It wasn't a conscious, deliberate thing on our part, it just turned out that way. But the fact that this hasn't happened for so long, surely shows that we're doing something right, it's time for something good!
* (R) So you're not worried about being hated?
- No, not at all! I think it's something that's just naturally going to happen, if you're making great music or great art for people to really enjoy rather than just music to jog to or play in your car as you pick your kids up.
* (R) I love the comments on Youtube, the way people are split dead down the middle between loving and hating "Sheena is a Parasite".
- Yeah, it's definitely 50/50 with as many loving it as hating it. And that's one of the good things about this tour, seeing the wide range of people that like us, such as kids who're really into Oasis and have come along to see The View. People we'd never expected, who'd have tried to mug us back in Southend, are telling us they really love what we do.

*(J) Who was dancing in the video?
- Samantha Morton, she's an actress and a friend.

*(J) I read that you had a fight with The Automatic…
- No that's not true! They once, or on a few occasions, said that they greatly disliked us but in fact the keyboardist loves me! I don't think we have a lot of time for each other's music but I'm not going to spend the tour scowling at people, it's a waste of fuckin time. The thing is, it's slightly infuriating that if you spend an entire interview enthusing about bands that you love, and trying to spread the word about bands that don't have a lot of publicity, such as the Xerox Teens or These New Puritans, and right at the end you go "I hate X", and then you find that the headline is "The Horrors Fucking Hate X!" - it's such a waste of time! I find out about new bands by reading about who other people are listening to, I'm not interested in who they hate - it's not a fucking soap opera!

(J) What's the best and worst things about touring?
- The best thing is that you're playing everyday, that 20 minutes every day is such fun - the worst thing is the other 23 hours 40 minutes! It's so boring, driving round the country in a small, cramped van and then hanging around waiting for things to happen - you start to realise why bands get drink and drug problems! The whole day leads up to this 20 minutes on stage!
*(R) But that's why you can put so much energy into it, that's why you can be so focussed on it. So yours is the little van out the front is it?
- Yeah, that was a real surprise, on the last tour we did all the bands were driving around in identical spacers but on this tour everyone's got big buses!
*(J) What do you miss most about being away from home?
- My records. There's a few people too but we really enjoy spending timed with each other so it's not that bad.

* (J) Who influences your music?
- I have a really hard time answering this question cos I listen to such a range of genres of music spanning the last 50 years. I don't think you'd expect it but we have some Acid House and Electronica in our record collections. We try to incorporate whatever we consider to be good music into what we do. We all love Joe Meek, the 60s producer, he loved pop music but he also wanted to expand sounds and to see how far we could take pop music, and that's what we try to do. We're not inspired by bands, we won't listen to a song and be inspired by that, it's more the spirit of how things were done. We're very influenced by the spirit of punk, by doing things yourself, and we're trying to do something different; I build a lot of equipment and spend time trying to find ways to make things sound different and going about songs in a non linear fashion.

* (J) I've just recorded my first CD which I'm hoping R*E*P*E*A*T Records is going to release, can you give me any tips?
- Have you? Great! Do something interesting and new and don't do anything like anyone else.

* (J) You went to Rugby School, what was it like and how did that influence you?
- It was really boring! I definitely wasn't your stereotypical student! It was just a school. I was renowned there for being the biggest freak, dressing like a dandy and wearing extravagant velvety clothes.
* (R) Do you think you reacted against it?
- No, not really, I think in a place like that you just have to make it work for you. I don't think it really had that much effect on me…

* (J) Does Faris still do art?
- Yes, constantly! I think he's slightly compulsive about it, he's always drawing in his book and if you take his book away from him, he can't do anything!
*(R) Has he got any artwork on the album?
- Yes, on the inner sleeve.

*(J) When you die, would you like to be buried or created?
- Cremated I think, I don't like the idea of being eaten! And being buried alive sounds horrible, something that happens quite regularly it seems!
*(J) And what song would you like at your funeral?
- Ha ha, we were talking about this the other day and it's a really hard question. I'm actually going to write out a list soon, it requires a lot of thought. What about 'I Hope You're Well'? Something by Joe Meek?

* (R) Is attitude or ability more important in a band?
- Personally I think both are extremely important and I think you should always strive to improve you ability. I think that the way we play doesn't rely on conventional ability and I don't think there are any bands around now who play like we do, who experiment the way that we do. But there is a line between musicianship and technical ability; we all know guitarists who are technically brilliant and can play all sorts of things perfectly, but they wouldn't be able to write a song or do something interesting. We all taught ourselves to play our instruments so we may not technically the best, but we have other attributes.
* (R) Can you remember what was the first song you learnt to play?
- (T) The first things I learnt to play on bass were Pixies songs, I started by playing along to records.
- (Josh) The first thing I remember playing was Catholic Block by Sonic Youth; I vividly remember it cos I had to retune my guitar into some mad, horrible tuning!
* (R) I've been teaching my classes both some View and Automatic songs, so which one of yours should I teach next term?
- People often ask me what the bass tab is to 'Sheena' and it's actually just 2 notes, so maybe you should do that. That'd be a good one…

* (J) Do you have any consoles on your bus?
- We've got a Playstation but we just use it to watch DVDs.
* (R) But according to Sheraz's interview with Faris, you don't watch horror films, he was quite adamant about it.
- No, never been into horror movies. We tried to watch 'Jaws' the other day, does that count? I've never been one to be into the gore and all that…
*(J) Have you seen 'Phonebooth'? It's well good.
- Yeah I have, isn't that an 18?
* (J) I think it's a 15…

*(J) And this is the R*E*P*E*A*T must ask question to finish with; what's best - chips or cream buns?
- I don't really like cream so it'd have to be chips. Unless I could have Belgian buns, I like them. I used to live on them, I love them!
*(R) I think there's a posh shop in Cambridge that sells something similar.
*(J) I like those Viennese Whirls and buns like that.
- Yeah, they're great!
*(R) Now we have to get a question from you, can you give us a question for our exciting competition please?

Win a signed Horrors promo CD...

And here it is …

Competition now closed

(there then follows an off the record discussion about The Horrors plans for world domination, and a confession that while they might do better in States than the Manics, they'll never have the same attraction in Wales)


Thanks to the band for their time, to tour manager Darren who was having a bad day and to Warren at Chuff Media for sorting it all out.