Interview: Faris Rotter of the Horrors
Mon, 11 Jun 2007 15:28:15
Sure they've got the "scary" band name (and scary hair to boot), the raucous, feedback-laden, neo-punk rock sound complete with accompanying by pop-noir music videos, but underneathThe Horrors are a gang of eloquent and esoteric art addicts who are making music just for the love of it. And, there's nothing scary about that.
ARTISTdirect caught up with lead singer and literary howler, Faris Rotter, while on the road on his first headlining US tour. The slight singer gave us a lesson on the ethos of punk, what it really means to be "indie", and of course... beating up your fans.
How would you describe what "punk rock" is now? It's seemed to morph into more than an ethos than a sound. Do you think you symbolize a new version of "punk"?
Punk has always been more about an ethos. Early blues muscians like Leadbelly could be described as punk, in the sense that they are about raw passion and energy, and bucking trends. Punk is not about a word, and has existed long before the phrase was coined...from Leadbelly, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith to Elvis to The Seeds and '60s teen garage groups. We are punk in the same way as those artists.
Your influences seem to lie in 60's and 70's garage/punk bands, but which modern bands do you relate to most?
Musically I don't know how many contemporary bands we relate to, but there certainly bands who we respect... Black Lips, Ulterior, Xerox Teens, These New Puritans, Serena Maneesh, and Effi Briest.
How did each of you choose your pseudonyms? Did you christen yourselves when you started the band?
My surname I had from my previous band the Rotters. Spider and Joshua both already had their DJ names, Tom's is his real name, and Joe's we just thought was very funny [Joe goes by the name "Coffin Joe"].
Your live set is definitely a lot more visceral than the studio album. Even though there's a ton of feedback and effects, it seems almost smooth. Was that type of production intentional?
Not particularly, I mean we just chose what we felt was right for each respective song.
Did any of you have a musical background before you started the band?
I was in the Rotters. We all played instruments we were unfamiliar with, and released one single.
You all met at a basement art/punk gathering, some of you are still in art school and you just designed a Horrors t-shirts. How much does art play into the band's influences?
Creativity overlaps into different mediums and drawing is something very central to my life. I think that we all have strong artistic opinions and are consequently influenced by writers and painters in addition to musicians.
The British press hyped you up without even barely releasing a single. Did it add to the pressure of delivering a good record?
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