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Southend’s big-haired, squid-flinging Art School ghouls The Horrors formed around the Junk club night in the basement of the Royal Hotel. Formed in the summer of 2005, their single “Sheena Is A Parasite” first gained noticeable popularity in the UK with the gory video being directed by Chris Cunningham. Armed with a crucifix and a string of garlic Grace Jessup braved the full moon to speak to bassist Tomethy Furse and guitarist Joshua Von Grimm
Let’s start off by talking about your unusual names. How on earth did you come up with them?
Tomethy: It’s my real name. We’ve pretty much all got our real names but with interesting twists.
Joshua: Grimm is actually a Polish name and they are normally bakers or tailors. My dad is actually a sheet metal worker, but I think someone down the line was a baker. I don’t know why I’m called Grimm though really, I don’t know anyone Polish.
How long have you been together as a band?
Joshua: Since July or August 2005
Tomethy: No it’s definitely August
How did you form?
Joshua: Well I met Faris in the butchers and he was actually higher up than me, but we were the only butchers who were really into music and so we talked a lot about rock and roll and such, and we decided to start a band. On our way to the abattoir, on the way to cut some meat we met the other three and so they all wanted to start a band too, so together we had enough people for a band. There was an empty room at the abattoir so we convinced them to let us practice there and after a couple of practices and stuff we started playing gigs, and the first time we played a gig we got another two offered to us, and from those two gigs we got another two gigs, and it spread until we were playing four or five times a week.
Your hometown is Southend, Essex. Do you ever go and perform one-offs for the locals and if so what is their reaction to your music?
Tomethy: We have played shows in Southend but the thing about down there is that it’s such a sort of like bleak and boring place that this kind of really interesting group of friends have really congregated together and are doing really interesting things. So I guess that when we do play we are playing to an appreciative crowd.
Who are your main influences?
Joshua: The Horrors listen to basically all types of music but I guess it’s all very much in the spirit of Joe Meek the 1960’s producer he was very in to pop, but also very into pushing music and pushing sounds as far as he could go. He’d do anything to achieve the sounds, he’d like tear his bed to bits and use the springs of his bed as instruments, and sit in the bath and record. So I guess ours is really music in the spirit of that. It’s a very punk way of doing things as you are doing them yourself, and it’s very necessary to achieve it, even if it involves destroying your bed!
Do you get spotted around Southend by people who know of your music?
Joshua: Well I’ve actually been called a fag, but that’s about it. We haven’t been back there for a while as we all live in London now.
Tomethy: Yeah, we prefer it in London
What are your plans for the future, what with the success of your EP and your album nearing release?
Tomethy: I think we are just going to play solidly for about a year; sort of all over the world and we might try and record a four track covers EP as well.
Joshua: Yeah, and after this we are going to south by south west and then coming back and doing our own tour, which will be loads of fun because we are creative; we’ll show films, play music all night and then do the festivals. Then think about going back into the studio.
Speaking of your album, what can we expect from it?
Tomethy: Completely what you wouldn’t expect, completely not what people are expecting.
What is your favourite song on the album and why?
Tomethy: Well there isn’t really one in particular that we like the most
Joshua: It’s not like one of those kinds of albums where there are only three good songs and another seven crap ones.
What do you think of the other bands on the tour? Is there any tension between you and them? Considering you have been reported to have the most radical reputation of everyone?
Joshua: Actually we have all been getting on famously.
Tomethy: Yeah The View are pretty nice guys, we’ve enjoyed watching them every night we get on really well with them
Joshua: Mumm-Ra also all love me and Pennie loves me, but I don’t care much for his band’s music.
Even with the Automatic? Bearing in mind their previously reported views about your music?
Tomethy: Oh yeah, well that was then, I’m sure if you asked them now im sure they would say something different.
Joshua: If you want I can quote the drummer saying “oh we really like you now and we don’t quite understand what it is you do but you’re really good at it”.
Tomethy: Yeah it gets very easy to chuck around un-educated and ignorant opinions especially when someone is putting a microphone in your face, and the majority of people end up regretting it. Mainly because you are pretty much guaranteed to meet the person you said it about! But yeah I have to say that their music really doesn’t do anything for me at all. Yeah I really couldn’t care less really!
How many cans of hairspray do you get through in one night?
Tomethy: We don’t actually use hairspray, I fucking hate it! It’s terrible, I don’t use anything. Josh doesn’t even wash his hair.
Joshua: Yeah I don’t wash it. I use shoe polish instead!
13) Many people may not have heard of you, how would you describe yourselves to them?
Joshua: Just the kind of music you just can’t help but be involved in. I mean with trends these days music has kind of become a more of a convenience thing what with people listening to iPods whilst jogging or having music playing in the background whilst making dinner. Our music is anything but that. At all the gigs we’re at everyone finds themselves involved and it normally provokes one of two reactions. People either love it, or they get violent.
If you weren’t in this band, what do you think you’d each be doing now?
Tomethy: Making music elsewhere. I’ve kind of realised that this is what I want to do and I’ll probably keep on doing it for as long as possible because I don’t think that we’ve worked at anything else this hard.
Joshua: I’d perhaps be training to be an engineer or a programmer both of which are very good for music.
What would you say to harsh critics of your music?
Tomethy: Erm nothing. I generally think that most people haven’t heard much of our music and if they’ve only heard very little then they don’t really have a very educated opinion about it. But if they hear the album and they still don’t like it, then I don’t really care.
Joshua: I’d quite like to hear some constructive criticism not just unintelligent comments.
Tomethy: Yeah I don’t really like reading bad press.
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
Tomethy: I hardly know what I’m going to be doing next week let alone in a few years.
Joshua: Yeah, may as well just take every day as it comes!
Mumm-Ra have a mascot - Matthew the duck. If you could chose one thing to act as a mascot for the Horrors, what would it be?
Tomethy: We want a midget.
Joshua: I want a bear
Tomethy: Well Josh really wants a big bear, I would really like a midget or a small person to introduce us and he would live in a trailer. That would be really great.
Where do you like performing the most?
Tomethy: Anywhere – on a stage, I don’t think there’s really been one place that we liked especially, nowhere that has really stood out. We just really like playing.
Which irreplaceable element does each member of the band bring to The Horrors?
Tomethy: Well none of us play our instruments in the sort of conventional way, so that would probably be it.
Joshua: I actually see myself as more of a keyboard player than a guitar player because I go about it in that way really.
Have fans done anything totally unexpected, or have you always been the ones to shock them?
Tomethy: Some of them are really rude. I mean these girls saw us from the street and came into the restaurant and sat down at the table and started eating our food, which was unexpected and I didn’t really appreciate it.
Joshua: We get builders come up to us that is the most unexpected thing that happens to us. People who come up to you and you think they are going to mug you.
Tomethy: Yeah because they are like 25 in tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt and they’ve got a crew cut, the kind of people in Southend, but they come up to you and say “That was amazing! I really enjoyed that. That’s fucking it that is.”
Joshua: That is the most surprising thing, the wide range of people we can appeal to.
And lastly have you seen ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas”? And what do you think of it?
Joshua: I don’t really like musicals so much, but that is not a bad musical. Tim Burton is very good at imagery
Tomethy: I don’t like The Corpse Bride though. I was disappointed.
Joshua: I saw it when I was a kid. Its probably one of the best musicals.