When referring to The Horrors, don’t use words like “post-punk” or “revival.” Rhys Webb, bassist for the U.K. band, emphasizes that they’re trying to make music with the original spirit of punk. But even that term might hold limitations.
“As far as we’re concerned, we just want to make music for the future,” says Webb. “We want to make music that people haven’t heard before.”
Their third album, “Skying,” which hit No. 5 on the U.K. charts last year, embodies the punk aesthetic and musically runs the gamut from psychedelia to no-wave.
“We’ve just wanted to make it trashy. We wanted to play garish music like [the original] punks saw,” says Webb.
Starting in the midst of a scene typified by Joy Division- and Gang Of Four-inspired post-punk, The Horrors strove to make their own footprint.
“Our own connection is that we had nothing to do with it,” says Webb of the London scene, “but we were part of it because we didn’t like what we were hearing. The whole thing has been a constant organic progression.”
Since their beginnings in the underground, The Horrors have become a household name in their homeland, developing their sound and playing elite festivals in the U.K.
“But, we don’t make pop music for other people to enjoy it,” insists Webb. “Our approach is not different than other bands playing to 50 fans once a month: Basically we try and do the things that make us an underground band.”
Buy ‘this bloody record’!
While the band has grown in popularity regardless of their attitude, they haven’t changed their priorities.
“We’re not a band thinking that we’re big; it’s never really something that we enter in our mind,” says Webb.
Their approach keeps them humble: While opening for Florence and the Machine and playing stadiums in the U.K., they still play modest rock clubs in the U.S.
“The great thing about this band is that the people that come out and see us really love us,” he muses, before declaring, “I think that more people in America should pick up on this bloody record.”
Banned in Boston?
The Horrors certainly made their mark in Boston, as Webb tells the story of a 2009 show at Great Scott in Allston: “We played in this venue, a weird spot that had two statues of Elvis looking over the room. Faris [Badwan, singer] smashed this mascot and they told us that we couldn’t come back to Boston. We have since.”