“What comes to mind is being pricks and thinking it was funny?” muses Jacob Read. “And also toilets. I remember we used to go in the toilet and poke our heads underneath, and the teacher would tell us off.” “It’s kind of the vibe of the band still,” nods Theo McCabe frankly, “just messing around and annoying people.”
Meeting at nursery aged three, the pair’s nascent career as pre-school delinquents might have enraged the teaching staff of South London, but a couple of decades later, their friendship has blossomed into ‘Debonair’ - their long-awaited debut LP as Horsey, alongside bandmates Jack Marshall and George Bass.
Having developed a cult following around the city over the past half-decade, the bonkers glam-jazz-rock opera tendencies of their musical output matched only by the pound shop gold sequin jackets they sport on stage (“I like the gold jackets because they’re fucking depressing and we look like some kind of weird wedding band…”), it’s a record that’s been a long time coming. Flitting between surrealist lyrical images of body parts and bizarre non-sequiturs, ‘Debonair’ spans almost 10 years of cherry-picked tracks and is ultimately defined by its distinct viewpoint more than anything else. It shouldn’t work together - if The League of Gentlemen was an album, it might sound something like this - and yet, beneath the dark humour and vaudevillian characters, somehow it does. “One thing I really love about Theo’s writing is he doesn’t hold back on anything,” Jacob notes. “He gets to the meat very naturally.” “They call me The Butcher,” Theo nods.
“We don’t want people to laugh at us, we just want them to think, ‘Why would they ever think that was good?!’”
— Theo McCabe
The two clearly complement each other well. Theo, he decides, is the one who “outputs loads of shit”, while Jacob - otherwise known as noir crooner Jerkcurb - whittles it into something that sort of, slightly, resembles what most bands would call a song. “I find his creative brain really interesting. Even though I’ve known him for so long I don’t fucking get it. And the stuff that I hate, I often end up liking more because it tests my taste. I just think he’s got really bad taste,” Jacob laughs as Theo summarises: “I’ve got terrible taste and Jacob’s got good taste. That’s basically how it works.”
It’s worked well enough so far for the band to have enlisted the services of old friend and former tourmate King Krule for the album’s closing track ‘Seahorse’. There’s also another band that they’ve been pondering too… “All of the decisions we make are, what’s the dumbest thing we could do? How much closer to Tenacious D can we get before we actually become Tenacious D?” laughs Jacob, as his bandmate bats him back. “It’s a bit more subversive than that,” Theo decides. “We don’t want people to laugh at us, we just want them to think, ‘Why would they ever think that was good?!’”
Saddle up, it’s going to be a weird and wonderful ride.
As featured in the July 2021 issue of DIY, out now.