Like Blur and Radiohead before them, The Horrors have managed to overcome disappointing debut albums and media hype, surprising listeners with bold, exciting records. Prior to their appearance at this year’s Electric Picnic appearance, State caught up with Horrors frontman, Faris Badwan and asked him about the follow up to 2011’s Skying – especially the rumours of a Hawkwind influence.
“You’re not gonna get a Hawkwind tribute album. The important thing is the fact that we trust our audience to be quite open minded. The band has developed at quite a fast rate. People don’t expect us to make an identical record to the last one because there’s no need to do that. It’s boring to repeat yourself. In my opinion, people get bored a lot more easily now, so I think now more than ever you have to push yourself each time. You have to want to be as good a band as you can be.”
Rather than writing the songs and then taking them into the studio, The Horrors like to record everything as they write. “Often the finished versions of the songs include very early takes so you get that feeling of enthusiasm when you stumble on a good part or something that you’re really happy with or do something by accident. Any of that stuff – it’s important to capture it. We’ve always been a band that’s quite instinctive and that’s important to our music.”
When The Horrors first appeared, Faris often came across as a confrontational performer, daubing audiences with black paint and screaming into people’s faces. I ask if his more subdued onstage persona these days is a reaction against his previous theatricality. “I don’t really think about it. It’s a natural reaction to whatever music you’re putting out. I don’t think it was anything conscious really. How can you really perform if you’re trying to second guess yourself all the time. In some ways, playing live is exactly the same as when we first came out – it’s just getting on stage and reacting naturally to how you’re playing.”
Discussing their upcoming Electric Picnic slot, Faris enthuses about the festival. “We played the Electric Picnic a couple of times. It’s definitely one of the festivals I enjoy playing the most. The club shows in Ireland were really good because we hadn’t been back for ages. They had a great atmosphere. And the festivals have been good this summer. We’ve had pretty good billings, we’ve got to play with some good bands so it’s been cool. We haven’t really stopped yet (since Skying). It’s not a case of needing a break. It’s just what we like doing, what we want to do.”
Talk turns to their tour with Florence & The Machine. In recent years, band such as Kings Of Leon and Snow Patrol have, following major support slots, altered their sound. Faris is quick to ensure that The Horrors will not fall into the same trap. “I think you can do it on your own terms and that’s what we want to prove. People take the easy way out too often and make compromises too early and I don’t think you need to – you can reach people by being a good band. We haven’t had to water anything down to get to his point and I don’t think we’ll have to in the future. I can’t imagine us turning into U2.” And with that, a herd of Horrors fans breathe a sigh of relief.
The Horrors play Crawdaddy Stage on Saturday night.