Back on form with the industrial grind of fifth record ‘V’, The Horrors talk through their first decade of making a racket
The beginning – with eyeliner
STRANGE HOUSE (2007)
The sound: A garage punk-inspired goth-fest of swirling Hammond organs and Faris’ balked vocals.
Faris says: “When you start a band, it’s not like you know how to make records. We just wanted to make a racket and have fun. That’s how all records should be made.”
The look: Zombie goths with huge hair.
Rhys says: “We are a gang and we looked like one. It was a DIY look. The jeans cost £8 from Primark and the shirts were from school uniform shops. Nothing cost more than 10 quid.”
Rhys’ highlight: “We played at [east London pub] The Old Blue Last, which had a mirrored ceiling. It was such an insane gig. People we jumping up and down so much that glass was falling from the ceiling. They shut the pub for three months after that gig because they had to renovate it.
The sonic breakthrough
PRIMARY COLOURS (2009)
The sound: An unexpected about-turn; expansive synths and soaring melodies.
Faris says: “We surprised ourselves with that record. Straight away we were really excited about the tracks. It sounded unique.”
The look: Toned-down street goth.
Rhys says: “When we started, most of us were in our late teens. By the time you’re in your early 20s, you feel different. Things change. We grew up a little bit.”
Faris’ lowlight: “We played those songs to Polydor and they said, ‘These aren’t gonna get played on the radio.’ We ended up getting dropped.”
The party years
The sound: The Horrors go baggy!
Rhys says: “We were definitely having euphoric… ‘experiences’!”
The look: A splash of colour.
Rhys says: “I started to wear a lot of Paisley shirts to reflect the psychedelic influence in the music.
Rhys’ highlight: “It was just a great time in London. There was a really big scene of young people wearing good clothes and enjoying music.”
The low point
The sound: A continuation of the expansive sound the band explored on Skying; heady synths and pulverising bass.
Rhys says: “There were moments where we didn’t enjoy. We never really had a falling out but there were moments where we were retreading old ground.”
The look: Just like the ‘Skying’ era.
Faris says: “When you’re excited, naturally things do change. The whole aesthetic hadn’t shifted as a result of us not being invigorated or excited.”
Faris’ lowlight: “The video for ‘So Now You Know’ didn’t feel like it had enough of The Horrors in it. It felt like it could have been any band.”
The hard and fast comeback
The sound: Industrial elements – grinding percussion, shimmering, metallic guitar riffs – replace the psychedelia of old.
Faris says: “Our live shows have always been aggressive and maybe that didn’t make its way onto the last record. But it’s back.”
The look: All black and back-to-basics.
Faris says: “With ‘Luminous’, everyone had gone off in their own direction visually, which felt like a good representation [of us having difficulties]. We’ve brought that gang aesthetic back again.”
Rhys’ highlight: “The songs were coming together with us not really thinking about it. It felt really natural and spontaneous again.”