The Horrors
Interview by Sheraz Qureshi, September 2006

The Horrors are (cringe worthy statement ahead) "the band of the moment". Hyped by everyone from the nme to q to radio one… so why exactly is it that repeat feel the need to interview them? Well - its because they also happen to be brilliant (oh and James Dean Bradfield liking them probably had something to do with it aswell)!

We arranged to meet them before their gig at Junk in southend, and spoke to Faris.

Thanks to Andy Fraser from somefriendly for helping to set everything up!


What are your feelings regarding the last ever junk ?

My feelings are mixed. They're mainly ones of trepidation, thinking about the looks on people's faces at the end of the night..

What do you think its effect will be on the Southend scene ?

I don't think the southend scene is entirely localised around junk... I mean these bands aren't just going to disappear.. I think most of the good bands from southend have kind of already used this as a platform, and are already starting to make their way in London. But it's unfortunate because it has been a great few years.

Can other local venues fill the void ?

Well it's different music. You wont hear stuff that you'd hear in chinneries. There's more diversity at junk; lost post-punk tracks from the 70s that most people wont have even heard about - weird electronic stuff. It's a lot less mainstream. You wont really hear the libertines here. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Reading through the lyrics, especially to something like ' death at the chapel ' they come across as having this horror movie esque quality to them? Do you think that's fair? And are their any horror movies in particular that have influenced the direction of the band?

I actually hate horror movies completely! I think they're stupid!

Is that representative of the rest of the band or just you..?

I don't know. We're not inspired by them at all. I like Hitchcock and stuff but I just hate b movies! I think they are cheesy rubbish.

Death at the Chapel isn't about that at all. The lyrics are actually about all the main characters from the 60s girl groups, songs by The Shangri-Las and Leader of the Pack and people like that - and its about this guy who gets sick about the idea of ideal love - and so, he decides to kill them all.

We got that completely wrong then!

Most people do!

In the NME you are quoted as saying: " We're only ten months old and we are still learning how to write songs and get a new perspective on things "

My question based on that is, do you sometimes feel as if you would have preferred to have the press attention later on? When you have had more of a chance to develop?

Well I think its maybe about the raw energy that's so apparent in original punk stuff. And maybe that's what we want to capture. It's the reason why when you hear a band in their first early stage its so exciting - and they kind of lose it in their later stages…. So maybe its better to capture it whilst its their. But I mean - its not ideal to have so much attention at once, but you take it when you get it, you cant t say fuck of nme come back in a year!

What books are you reading at the moment?

Vile bodies by Evelyn Waugh… Actually I think I'd have more to say about the book that I read before that which was.. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

What is it about these books that appealed to you - and is there a link between them and your lyrics?

I don't think there is a link between the books that I've just mentioned and the lyrics…. Reading stuff about Rasputin and things like that links more. I always found his story amazing, the way he could kind of, not necessarily hoodwink but captivate a royal family into believing him so much - and be shot five times and fed cyanide cakes and stuff like that and still survive.

Does Rasputin feature in a Horrors' song?

Probably - but a rubbish one!

I was wondering if you could you tell us about songs like " Crawdaddy Simone " and "Jack the Ripper " and what it was about them that made you want to cover them?

We were all really into a Joe Meek and it's just a great track. We thought we could do something with it; and we thought it wasn't particularly well known. Whereas with Jack the Ripper, I guess quite a few people know it. But it was such an odd release for its time. Im not sure if you've seen videos of him playing live - but the audience don't really know what to expect…

I read a piece in Q….

Most of Q was a lie!

Well the piece mentioned your time in school? And other kids picking on you because you were different? And I was wondering whether it felt strange seeing those kind of kids / scenesters at your gigs?

That's how bands work though isn't it? If you only played to the same people who you played to at your first gig you are never going to get anywhere. I don't know - I just hate the term scenesters because it immediately depicts people that find out about a band in a negative way.

Do you not think there is a certain shallowness in it?

If someone actually went and kept going to see a band because they thought it was cool then to be honest that's pretty fucking moronic. But to be honest that's not really something I can affect. You know - if someone is telling someone else that we're cool and then they come to see us, then great. If they happen to actually enjoy it then it doesn't actually matter.

What's the weirdest present you have ever received from a fan?

I've had some weird ones!

In Germany someone gave me a flag - they'd made it themselves. And it said "you're boring" on it! They waved it… and I don't know if it was meant for me - but they waved it in my face; and they seemed quite distressed when I took it of them and held it above their head!

That's seems more like something you stole then something you were given !

Well they handed it out and then seemed to retract their offer! Erm, I got given this kind of over night kit with like a razor and a fold in tooth brush - I don't know why, and then their are the inevitable things like pictures [some of which are fucking amazing].

Your music comes across as being quite angry and almost manic in a way how reflective is that of you as people?

Inside our heads we are all psychos !! actually let me start that again… because that makes it sound like I am joking..

There was a recent interview, in which James Dean Bradfield from the Manics is quoted as saying about you: "they're like The New York Dolls and early Birthday Party. It's kinda gothic, a bit experimental but also kind of glammy. I just think they're f*****g brilliant. I heard at one of their gigs the lead singer goes insane. I like the idea of someone being so out of control."

When you read something like that - do you think its accurate?

It's true. It's about the intensity of the show and you loose yourself in that. I am probably as far away from the way I am on the stage in real life as possible - In terms of physical reaction, I don't go round hurling myself of speakers when I'm not on stage, - but the intensity is still there, in terms of the way we all think, but we don't necessarily communicate that in a physical way unless we are on stage. And that's the way it is - it's an energy born out of frustration.

Although I am aware that we are still developing in terms of song writing and we have a long way to go - in terms of the live show this is exactly what we wanted it to be like.

They're are so few bands who are actually putting on a show at the same time as getting what they mean across… and I think both are important.

Again going back to the piece in the NME, it said that during Death in Chapel people start throwing pint glasses at you? Why? And how did that come about?

That's a complete lie. And the NME also said that we glassed one of our own fans in the face - which again is a complete lie! We don't tend to glass out own fans!

Well it seemed bizarre, I thought I'd ask though - because those kinds of pieces are what people are going to base their opinion of you on.

I remember once someone threw a pint glass at me in Manchester. Unprovoked. I head butted him. He deserved it.

And there was a guy who threw a pint of water over the organ in London. and that was just odd because I cant believe that someone would be that stupid ! But at the end of the show I dived on his head.

He was later seen weeping and led away by his girlfriend…

He tried to spit at me but it just dribbled down his jumper.

That's not very impressive...

Well I don't tend to attack audience members unless they deserve it …

Well they are all there to have a good time so they aren't going to do anything anyway?

No but that's the thing though! It's not the case! Its like with the Birthday Party when they were originally playing; people would come to the show to just to start fights.

Most fans aren't there to cause trouble though.

What's your favourite song to play live?

The current set list is in a state of change at the moment.

We have a new song that we are playing live tonight. The working title is ' a knife in their eye' which is probably my favourite song at the moment. But I don't really want to say what its about at the moment.

Are any your EP songs going to be feature on the final LP?

I think Sheena is a Parasite would have to be. It's our favourite track so far… and I think we'll have a new version of jack the ripper to.

Has the somewhat polarised reaction you have received surprised you?

We always expected that - it was the one thing we were always sure we would do [in terms of the press and the audience] people would either really [like what we were doing] or think we are complete fucking lunatics. In terms of the press though we haven't had that much polarisation...

Drowned in sound / NME?

Ok, well we've never had an intelligently written bad review. So until that happens….

You make that sound like a challenge!

Well yeah! Absolutely! So far its like, oh its cool to like them; therefore I won't - and that's what they've written, so if they want to be that fucking stupid then their reviews have no worth! By all means, I wouldn't expect everyone to like us - but constructive critism is something I value really highly and no one has really done that.

Do you agree with people like Thom Yorke when they talk about how bad a state the music industry is in?

At the moment, there's a chance for a lot of people to put out records really easily and that's a good thing. I don't think it's in a bad state at all. There are a lot great bands around. I mean when you can get a band like Franz Ferdinand having worldwide success. You can't knock that. They have good influences. [And] I'd prefer to hear them on the radio then the spice girls. It's more like the death of boy bands really - which no one is going to argue is a bad thing!

Stealing a question directly from Steve Bateman, (thanks!), if I were to ask you to burn us a mix cd, what tracks would be on it?

The Diagram brothers - There is no shower. Which is about this disabled guy who doesn't have a shower in his home, and the government wont help him. And it's a brilliant song and no one has really heard of it which is why I've chosen it.

The Shangri-Las - I can never go home anymore. That's probably one of my favourite songs. Its about this girl who runs away from home and she's advising other girls not to do the same thing because it just ends in heart break.. and although it tells quite a naive tale - its still quite eerie and sinister at the same time.

Jesus and the Mary chain - Taste of Cindy. They've influenced so many bands - anyone who has ever drenched anything in feedback has been influenced by them.

The Gun Club - Walking with the beast. It's an amazing kind of highway blues song..

And.. Shock headed Peters - Parabola. No ones heard of them, they had a song on the rough trade post punk compilation… they are really hard to get hold of - but I like the track because its so imposing..

And finally: Chips of cream buns?

I actually don't like pudding. I don't like desert!

Well that explains why you are so skinny!

Well it's not a conscious decision I just don't like it!

Chips by default then !