Interview What’s Going On With… The Horrors

With gnarly new EP ‘Lout’ taking a sledgehammer to your placid pandemic listening habits, guitarist Rhys Webb fills us in on the band’s “nasty” new direction.

Hi Rhys! Where are you currently?
I actually escaped to Essex where I’ve been working. I’d been stuck in London in a basement flat on my own so I thought I’d take my gear and some instruments and get out.

Does the basement flat go some way to explaining the intensity of ‘Lout’?!
Well, the first screams of the early ideas started before the pandemic hit. We’d just been touring ‘V’ and were really enjoying the intensity [of a couple of those songs] and thinking, ‘Well what do we actually want to do now?’. We’ve been together for a long time and all I wanted to do is make a loud noise and something that’s really intense, and that was the motivation. That and thinking, who do we need to be making music for at this point in our career?
I think there was a bit of an attitude of, you know what? It’s difficult to be in a band now and people aren’t really buying records or making money from streaming, so like, what the fuck have we got to lose anyway? We might as well just do what we want. Let’s just bloody have some fun.

There’s something of the energy of your debut ‘Strange House’ to these tracks - do you think you’ll finally reintroduce those songs back into your live sets now?
We actually played ‘Sheena Is A Parasite’ and ‘Count in Fives’ when we played the Royal Albert Hall for ‘Primary Colours’’ 10th anniversary. It was the first time we’d played those songs in 10 years which is an insane amount of years to even be having a conversation about, but we were already naturally moving towards this kind of intensity then.

“We’ve all just been sitting in our separate spaces giving ourselves tinnitus.”

— Rhys Webb

So you’ve been recording new material remotely...
Yeah, we’re working on the second EP now but we just need to get into a proper studio - that’s half of the reason we’ve ended up producing it ourselves, because we’ve not really been able to get in anywhere to record it. But the second EP’s three tracks all exist, we’re looking to crack on with that and release it in July.

Can we expect a suitably feral follow-on from ‘Lout’?
Oh it’s just as nasty! I think with every album, we always have a song that’s the instigator to set the scene of what happens next. With the first album it was ‘Sheena…’, with the second it was ‘Sea Within A Sea’, and with this collection of music it was ‘Lout’, so it’s almost been like, ‘Right: let’s challenge ourselves to push it even harder’. The second EP is gonna follow in a similar way where it’s two vocal tracks, and a heavy, intense, electronic track as well.

All just sitting in your windowless basements, making a big noise...
We’ve all just been sitting in our separate spaces giving ourselves tinnitus, yeah.

Any new tracks you can tell us about yet?
The instrumental track is this insanely heavy, dark, pounding techno track which is sounding great and probably unlike anything we’ve done before. It’s completely instrumental but made for dark, sweaty basement environments. We’ve got quite a lot of stuff that we’re bouncing around though; the plan is to put out an album in the new year, which seems like an insanely long time [away]. We’re hoping to do some shows this year and then it’ll just be cracking on with the album.

'Lout' is out now via Wolf Tone.

As featured in the April 2021 issue of DIY, out now. Scroll down to get your copy.

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