10 August 2017

The Horrors’ fifth album V marks their new not-holding-back attitude as they experiment with weird sounds ahead of UK tour

THE Horrors have never strived for success or settled for sounding the same.

And fifth album V has the goth rockers from Southend at their most experimental.


The Horrors are staying away from tradition in their fifth album, V[/caption]

“For us to be excited and motivated it has to be challenging to our ears and be fun to create,” says frontman Faris Badwan.

“A majority of groups find a template that works and stick to that possibly for their whole career. That is something that has never interested us.”

In a South London bar, nursing a two-day hangover, bassist Rhys Webb says: “It’s our most experimental, but also our most accessible album.”

Webb, 34, is the first to arrive for our interview, chatting away about his weekend and proudly showing photos of his baby nephew (Webb’s sister Harry is married to Horrors drummer Joe Spurgeon and they have an eight-month-old son).

Lanky singer Faris, 30, and guitarist Josh Hayward, 32, arrive late, apologising again and again.

“We did write a lot of songs for this record and I would say it is the favourite,” says Badwan.

The Horrors performing at The Roundhouse in October 2011
The Horrors performing at The Roundhouse in October 2011
Getty – Contributor

Webb adds: “We’ve been together for over ten years now and this is our fifth album.
“We were enjoying everything we were doing but we wanted to be shaken up and excited about what happened next.

“To feel that energy on this record is quite rewarding.”

The Horrors had self-produced their last two albums — 2011’s Skying and 2014’s Luminous — but wanted someone who could really push them in the studio.

That was Paul Epworth, the producer behind records by Adele, Coldplay, Paul McCartney and U2.

“Paul has had massive success with some of the biggest pop records of the last 20 years,” says Badwan.

“But when we started, he was doing things with bands like Bloc Party and the more punky stuff he was involved with.

“I think the music he’s into is exactly where we are coming from.”

The Horrors self-produced their last two albums but are now working with Paul Epworth, who worked with Adele, Coldplay Play McCartney and U2
Getty – Contributor

Though Epworth is a Horrors fan, after confessing to listening to their album Primary Colours non-stop when it was released in 2009, and working with Badwan on an earlier Horrors track (Falling Star on Luminous), the band didn’t know him well.

“I’d played football with him once,” says Badwan. “He’s good at football as well as music.”

They recorded a number of songs at Epworth’s Church Studios in Crouch End, North London.

It was previously owned by David Gray and Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart where the likes of Bob Dylan, Radiohead and Elvis Costello recorded.

“We didn’t want to work with someone who would just let us do our thing,” explains Webb.

“We knew Paul would be enthusiastically involved and push our ideas and songwriting forward.

“He didn’t want to be speaking to the live room through a microphone — he wanted us all in one big space.

The Horrors wanted to work with someone who would be involved in producing their album not just letting them do what they want
The Horrors wanted to work with someone who would be involved in producing their album not just letting them do what they want
Getty – Contributor

“He was really into working with a band who wanted to be experimental and who he could sink his teeth into doing some weird stuff with.”
Badwan adds: “Paul is a really good pop producer but he’s also versatile with a real passion for a broad range of music.

“It was cool to work with someone who appreciates both ends of the spectrum.

“We’ve always wanted to experiment with proper song structures with proper melodies. He was perfect to work with.”

We are chaos. Disorganised chaos

The HorrorsThe Big Interview

The songs on V are all excellent, from first single Machine to scuzzy six-minute album opener Hologram.

“At one point that track was over 25 minutes long,” says Hayward. “Every Friday night was party night so we’d just play and enjoy it.”

Webb adds: “When Hologram was an ambient house track, Faris’s vocal didn’t come in until 15 minutes into the song.

“Imagine dropping that version in a club. The Church has this real disco environment in the evening. It’s a great track to open the album.”

2016 Andrew Benge

One of their new songs sounds like an ambient house track[/caption]

Badwan — whose partner is Rachel Zeffira, his Cat’s Eyes bandmate — says it is his most personal album lyrically. It’s A Good Life, with the line “the light in her heart is softly dying out again” is about the late Peaches Geldof, who he dated in 2008.

He says: “I had to have a real conviction in what I was writing. It is very difficult to write lyrics because they are very personal. I don’t like speaking about them.”

Other stand-outs include Weighed Down — “the turning point track on the album” — Ghost, with its heavy guitar and distorted wooziness, Point Of No Reply, about an abusive relationship, and the euphoric new single Something To Remember Me By which sounds like New Order.

“We very nearly left that song off the record,” says Badwan. “We forgot about it. It’s one of those amazing things that can happen in The Horrors.

One of the songs on their new album is about an abusive friendship
2017 David Wolff – Patrick

One of the songs on their new album is about an abusive friendship[/caption]

“Rhys and Tom had put together a demo, I did a vocal and we put it away. It’s ridiculous one of our strongest songs was nearly left off. But that’s how we work. There’s no planning. We are chaos. Disorganised chaos.”

Rejuvenated by their new album, V marks a new chapter for The Horrors who release the record on their new Wolftones/Caroline label.

“This feels like a new start,” says Badwan. “So V seemed like a good album title as it’s a ‘f**k you’, in a British V, two fingers way. We thought it was funny.”

Looking back at over a decade of being in the band, Hayward says: “We didn’t expect to last one album.”

Webb adds: “We never doubted what we were doing, we just didn’t think it was going to last ten minutes.”

The Horrors have shows in Japan, Mexico and America before their UK tour starts in October

The Horrors have shows in Japan, Mexico and America before their UK tour starts in October[/caption]

Badwan says: “We didn’t look at it as a career. We just wanted to make some noise.

“And we still take it as a day-by-day thing.”

Even after recently supporting Depeche Mode in Denmark, France, Germany and at London’s Olympic Stadium, Badwan says it is not a goal to play stadiums.

He says: “We played to huge crowds and we had great reactions. We are lucky because we can play anywhere.”

For a band with an ethos of not looking too far ahead, they point to going to Japan, Mexico and America, and their UK tour which begins in October.

“We are excited about this album coming out and seeing what happens then,” says Webb.

“We are all in a good place and just happy to put V out and see where The Horrors’ journey takes us next.

“We don’t plan and it will involve some chaos but that’s how it is.”

  • The Horrors’ single Something To Remember Me By is out today, followed by their album V on September 22.
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