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Interview: The Horrors Interview

2 February 07 interview: Michael Simon

"I hate the term indie, I find it very offensive. I think punk is a more accurate description of our music"

Whisked away by the NME almost before they could walk, The Horrors have courted more than their fair share of controversy in their first eighteen months as a band. Between allegations of brawling, spats with The Automatic and The Fratellis, and constant criticism that they're more style than substance, the boys in black have been kept busy before the release of their first album. We spoke to bassist Tomethy Furse about life as a Horror.

Why does the NME love you so much?
I don't know, maybe because we're a good band? It's a hard one that, it's always been a bit bizarre. It is the New Musical Express, so it's supposed to be about new music, but they do get stuck on things that have been around for a while, so perhaps they're clutching onto something new and exciting.

Do you think you'll ever win over your detractors?
I'm not really bothered to be honest. We wouldn't want to be middle of the road, and have everyone like us, we wouldn't want to compromise to make sales. Everyone likes the Arctic Monkeys, but they're not exactly pushing boundaries or doing anything particularly exciting. If you're going to do something a bit weird you're going to polarize opinions, it's just the way things are. It'd nice if people can see past most of their criticisms which are usually about our image or our hair. If people don't like the music that's completely within their right.

You don't think you're too image conscious then?
No, not at all.

Where does the gothicness come from?
We'd never ever called ourselves goths or gothic ever. I think someone just said 'They wear black, they must be Goths.’ I think most of the image is from our love of bands like The Verve, The Cramps, Music Machine and The Sonics.

Do you feel a spiritual affinity with Russell Brand?
Absolutely not. I think he's an incredibly unfunny person, and his particular brand of comedy I just find offensive. It's not even comedy, it's just being a bit outrageous. It's very easy to dress like that when you've got an army of stylists. I literally have nothing to say about Russell Brand other than that. I would not want anything to do with him.

Do you ever do things with the intention of shocking people?
No, never. It's almost just followed us around. It's not always positive and sometimes quite detrimental. There were reports of us beating up girls. One paper said we smashed a bottle over a girl's head and we’d never do something like that. We've never caused trouble with the intention of trying to shock or appal.

Would you describe yourselves as indie or punk?
I hate the term indie, I find it very offensive. I think punk is a more accurate description of our music. I hate genres, because as soon as you label something it takes away from it. If you call something a punk band, people immediately think of the Sex Pistols. We'd go further to the sixties, earlier to the fifties with rockabilly.
If someone calls us a goth band that immediately harks up the wrong image, because that's not what we are at all.

What was it like working with Chris Cunningham on the video of Sheena is a
Parasite?

He's mad but he's got very much the same idea of things as we have. We became really good friends. We have a lot in common, the sort of music we listen to, the way we do things, so the video was really great. I think he was mildly obsessed with the song before though, because he was really into the idea of a punk band with drum'n'bass beats.

Is the video more literal than the song?
Faris wrote the lyrics, but it's based on Sheena is a punk rocker and a Cramps song called Sheena's in a Goth Gang. It's the last part of the story, when twenty or thirty years on, Sheena is this disgusting, parasitic, bitter old woman who has become everything she hates, leaching off other people.

One thing that seems to have generated a lot of press is the bad blood between you and The Automatic. What's it going to be like touring with them?
I'm sure it'll be fine, I'm sure they'll be pleasant. We've never met them before. I think a lot of that stuff is blown out of proportion. To be honest, I hadn't really heard of them before that NME came out and I'm not a fan of their music at all. I find them tedious. I'm all for one for people to do what they want, making their music, or listening to the music they want to. I just don't enjoy their music that's all.

What's the worst gig you've ever had?
We played some really funny ones when we were in America. You know the scene
in Blues Brothers when the stage has a chicken wire? It was like that. We were there for a few weeks and everyone in New York told us Hartford was a college town and we were going in the holidays. We were thinking 'It can't be that bad, otherwise why have they booked it?' We got there and it was a sports bar that had been turned into a rock bar. Just the freaks of the town turned up, there can't have been more than twenty-five people there. It was great though, they loved it. There were a couple of hardcore punks at the front and some obese women in Rocky Horror Show outfits. It was bizarre.

Is your tour manager on a learning curve?
Slowly. He's quite good actually. On that last tour with The Fratellis, he kept on getting into trouble by accident. They had a very intimidating production manager, who was actually an incredibly nice guy. He actually threatened to beat our tour manager up, if he caused any trouble on the last show. He then quickly retracted his statement when he realised that our management company would probably sue him.

Did you play rugby at Rugby?
I did for the first term, I fucking hated it. I think I managed to actually get out of all sporting activities for the next five years.

What plans do you have for the future?
Well, the albums coming out in March and sounds really good. Every time I hear new music, I just want to go into the studio and start recording more, so the next year will just be recording the next album. I'm really looking forwards to that. It's probably going to be a lot more interesting and unusual than a lot of bands debuts of late.

The Horrors are playing the NME Indie Rock Tour Rock City on 14 February 2007. Also playing are The Automatic, The View and Mumm-Ra.

The Horrors website

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