The Horrors are a band from Southend, England formed in 2005. They released their debut album Strange House, which reached number 37 on the UK Albums Chart in 2007. Their second album Primary Colours was released in 2009 and reached number 25 in the UK. The band have also guest starred in TV comedy The Mighty Boosh, under the pseudonym “The Black Tubes.”
Origins (2005 – 2006)
The Horrors have their origin in the early 2000s where they became interested in obscure vinyl and DJing. During trips to London and on the Southend circuit, Rhys “Spider” Webb met Faris Badwan (Faris Rotter) and Tom Cowan (Tomethy Furse) through their shared interests in ’60s garage rock and New Wave and Post punk influences such as The Birthday Party and Bauhaus, and in 2005 the three formed a band with Joshua Hayward (Joshua Von Grimm, Joshua Third) and Joseph Spurgeon (Coffin Joe). The band formed around Junkclub, an underground club founded by Oliver Abbott and Rhys. Their first rehearsal consisted of two covers: The Sonics’ “The Witch” and Screaming Lord Sutch’s “Jack the Ripper” (heavily influenced by previous cover versions by The Fuzztones, One-Way Streets and The Gruesomes) – the latter would later find itself as track one on the band’s debut album. The Horrors made their first ever live performance at The Spread Eagle on Kingsland Road in London on 16 August 2005 at a night they put on themselves under the guise of The Brothers Grimm. They played with one other band, London’s new wave punk pop band LR Rockets.
The Horrors first gained noticeable exposure thanks to their debut single “Sheena Is a Parasite.” Their second release, “Death at the Chapel,” a high-profile show at London’s 100 Club in July 2006, and an appearance on the cover of the NME in August, greatly increased their profile. As a result of this exposure, the band played the NME Awards Indie Rock Tour in early 2007 along with Mumm-Ra, The View and The Automatic which helped them to gain further publicity.
Strange House (2007-2008)
Having released their debut album Strange House in March 2007, The Horrors played a world tour to promote it. A slot as a support act for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in the USA in the summer was cancelled due to lack of funds, and the band instead headlined a US tour in June. They made a number of festival appearances throughout 2007, including appearances at the Glastonbury Festival, the Carling Weekend (on the Radio 1/NME stage), various Scandinavian festivals, the Summer Sonic Festival in Japan, and Splendour in the Grass in Australia; their setlists throughout the summer contained a cover of “No Love Lost” by Joy Division. The Horrors also appeared in the third series of The Mighty Boosh in December as the fictional band The Black Tubes, and supported the Arctic Monkeys on their sell-out arena tour of the UK, at which they predictably received a mixed reception. The band played an NME Awards show in 2008 with Crystal Castles, Ulterior and These New Puritans, and supported The Sonics on 23 March, their last London show until their appearance at Bethnal Green’s Rich Mix on 23 May of the following year. On January 18, Counting in Fives, a documentary of the band’s 2007 tour of the USA, was unveiled at the Sundance Film Festival.
Primary Colours (2009 – Present)
At the end of 2007, The Horrors announced the forthcoming recording of a new album. The album was produced by the band, Craig Silvey, Geoff Barrow of Portishead, and music video director Chris Cunningham. Recording took place in Bath during the summer of 2008. The band were forced to pull out of their planned appearance at the Underage Festival due to recording schedule conflicts. The band signed to XL Recordings after they left Loog Records in 2007. The only release from the band between the “She Is the New Thing” single in June 2007 and the new material in 2009 was a cover of Suicide’s “Shadazz,” released by Blast First Petite as part of their tribute to Alan Vega in October 2008. A few weeks before the new album’s release, a number of songs from the album were leaked. The album’s first single, “Sea Within a Sea,” was released as a digital download-only single on 17 March 2009. A music video for the song, directed by Douglas Hart (former bassist for The Jesus and Mary Chain), was also posted on the band’s website on the same day. The second album Primary Colours was officially released 4 May 2009 to critical acclaim and reached #25 on the UK Albums Chart. The single “Who Can Say” was released on 7″ vinyl one week later. Primary Colours was nominated for the 2009 Mercury Prize. NME later gave the album first place in the 50 Best Albums of 2009.
After headlining London’s Offset Festival and touring Primary Colours, The Horrors have said that they would like to build their own studio, so they can record at obscure hours.
Unknown Third Studio Album (2010 – Present)
In April 2010 singer, Faris Badwan announced on their official forums that the band have already started working on their third album and have been in the studio for a month now. A track that may be included on the new album, “Endless Blue”, was first unveiled at Off Festival.
Faris Badwan; vocals formerly known as Faris Rotter.
Joshua Hayward, guitar also known as Joshua Third, formerly Joshua Von Grimm.
Tom Cowan, synthesizer (on Primary Colours), bass (on Strange House), formerly known as Tomethy Furse.
Rhys Webb, bass (on Primary Colours), organs (on Strange House), formerly known as Spider Webb.
Joseph Spurgeon, drums formerly known as Coffin Joe.
Temporary band members
Freddie Cowan (Tom’s brother and guitarist with The Vaccines) – guitar, replacing Joshua Third for several gigs when he was taking his exams