The Horrors are a five-piece British alternative rock band from Southend-on-Sea, Essex. The band came together in 2005 over a mutual love of 1960s garage bands; their sound is actually inspired by 60s icons and gothic influences.
Bassist Tom Cowan (Tomethy Furse) and singer Faris Badwan (Faris Rotter) met at Rugby School. They later met keyboardist Rhys Webb (Spider Webb) while shopping for records. The three of them formed the Horrors with guitarist Joshua Hayward (Joshua Von Grimm) and drummer Joe Spurgeon (Coffin Joe). Early on, The Horrors would frequent Junkclub, a club night founded by Oliver Abbott and fellow member Rhys Webb. They were infamous for covering “The Witch” by The Sonics and “Jack the Ripper” by Screaming Lord Sutch. The Horrors played their first show under the pseudonym The Brothers Grimm at The Spread Eagle alongside LR Rockets.
In 2006, The Horrors released their first single, “Sheena Is a Parasite.” The single was followed by the 2007 release of their debut album, Strange House. That same year, the Horrors spent most of their time on the festival circuit. The band also made a guest appearance on the British TV show The Mighty Boosh as the fictional band The Black Tubes. Both factors would play a significant role in the growth of their fan base. In 2008, Webb and Cowan formed the analog synth project Spider & The Flies and released the album Something Clockwork This Way Comes.
The Horrors second album, 2009′s Primary Colours, was produced by Geoff Barrow of Portishead and Chris Cunningham—the album went in a different direction and mixed shoegaze with post-punk and goth. Songs off of Primary Colours were leaked a mere week before the album’s release date. In 2011, The Horrors released their self-produced follow-up album, Skying—the album had a lighter, yet still atmospheric, sound to it. In between making albums, Badwan teamed up with Canadian opera singer Rachel Zeffira for the pop project Cat’s Eyes and released its self-titled debut in 2011.
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Canada gets excited when the rest of the world talks about us. That’s part of the reason for the excitement around Rachel Zeffira’s debut solo album The Deserters. She’s Canadian, you see, but first made her name in the pop world internationally as one-half of British duo Cat’s Eyes, with vocalist Faris Badwan of the Horrors. She branched out into solo work shortly after, releasing The Deserters overseas in 2012. It got its homecoming this spring thanks to Paper Bag Records, and, it turns out, we’re not the only ones working the Canadian angle. “I didn’t do any shows with Cat’s Eyes in Canada,” Zeffira says over the phone from snowy London. “I’m really happy I’m doing it on Paper Bag records, that I have an actual Canadian label. As you can tell from my accent, I’m still very much Canadian!” Raised in the Kootenays region of B.C., Zeffira, a classically trained vocalist and musician, was sponsored to sing at Cambridge University in the UK when she was only 17. Customs problems sent her back to North America before she barely got to leave the airport. She found a way back to London anyway, forging her resume (and age) and landing a job as a substitute teacher, with her singing aspirations largely put on hold. After an eventual gig flexing her classical muscles for the Pope, a chance meeting with Badwan led her to her new pop home. “When I met Faris it was at a time when I’d stopped doing concerts for a while,” she remembers. “We were just kind of writing songs for fun. Now I feel totally comfortable, maybe even more comfortable in this world than the classical world.” Not unlike other classical musicians trying their turn at pop, there are hints of Zeffira’s past in the gentler moments on The Deserters; Rufus Wainwright comes to mind, but baroque is downplayed by the quieter shoegaze inclinations (she covered My Bloody Valentine’s “To Here Knows When” last summer; it stands as one of the best moments on the album). Letting go of classical performance's strict discipline has allowed Zeffira to focus more on the music, she says, but she maintains that her favourite part of her new world is the studio. It could have something to do with the fact that she put herself in the legendary Abbey Road to make The Deserters. “In a way, the recording might be my favourite part,” she says. “I like the creative process most of all. I like building things, and hearing it kind of grow, and keep putting things in and taking things out. The first thing I noticed was while recording—I just sing in a totally different way now.” But how quickly and naturally Zeffira has settled into this role belies the surprise it’s taken her by. “I never planned on doing either Cat’s Eyes or a solo album. Everything is a surprise as I go along,” she says. “I’ve never had a chance to go to Toronto. I never thought the first time I’d go would be to do a pop show. It’s really unexpected.” This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of AUX Magazine. Download and subscribe for free in the App Store.
Watch The Horrors' new video, "Changing the Rain"It feels like the past six months have been filled with vocals that can either be described as "kaleidoscopic" or "a bunch of words flying at the screen," and at first glance the Horrors' new video, for "Changing the Rain," seems like the most basic example of the former. But watch past the first minute or so and see a new dynamic entered in the mix, namely some quick cut animations and floating, cartoon versions of the band's head. In the end, the Pete Fowler directed video comes together with a narrative of sorts...we just haven't quite figured out what it is yet. "Changing the Rain" is off The Horrors' Skying, available now.
Listen to Lady Gaga get remixed by the HorrorsThe Horrors take Lady Gaga down a notch in the glitz department, turning "Bloody Mary" into a brooding synth track for her remix album Born This Way: The Remix Project. The bass line that comes in at about 2:00 is particularly great, and after the Weeknd remix we've already heard, we're looking forward to more. You can listen to the remix of "Bloody Mary" below.
Watch the Horrors cover David Bowie's "Suffragette City"The Horrors recently stopped by Channel 4′s On Track and tossed out a pretty smashing cover of David Bowie's "Suffragette City". If it sounds like a studio version, that's because it kind of was. While the cover was done live, and in one take, the On Track performance was recorded in a studio and pressed immediately to vinyl. If you like what you hear, head over to SEAT's official Facebook page for a free MP3. Just be warned, you'll have to "like" the page first. [via Stereogum]
Listen to the Weeknd's remix of Lady Gaga's "Marry the Night"Continuing his sky-rocketing trip to the top o' the pops, Toronto R&B breakout The Weeknd is contributing to Lady Gaga's upcoming Born This Way: The Remix album and now thanks to Disco Naïveté his contribution (a collaboration with producer Illangelo) is available for your streaming pleasure. Listen to their remix of "Marry the Night" below. Set to feature Gaga remixes by Goldfrapp, the Horrors, Wild Beasts, Foster the People, Twin Shadow, Royksopp and more, Born This Way: The Remix is out November 21st. Meat dress not included. [Flash 9 is required to listen to audio.]// < ![CDATA[ replaceIfFlash(9,"audio_player_12247672438",'x3cdiv class=x22audio_playerx22x3ex3c/divx3e') // ]]>