Friday, September 9, 2011

The Horrors at The Glass House - Music

Not only was I fortunate enough to talk to Rhys Webb of The Horrors about their kick ass new album, but I was also able to score tickets to see them live at my favorite venue, The Glass House in Pomona.

Until then, as promised, here is my interview with The Horrors from the fine pages of Inland Empire Weekly.
Reaching New Heights: The Horrors' newest release Skying receives rave reviews

The Horrors first album, Strange House, was a screaming, punk-drenched blast of experimental noise, garage rock and industrial metal. It featured thrashing guitars, clamoring drums and dirge-like organs for the black-clad, leather jacket crowd.

The Horrors followed up with Primary Colors, an album that took its sound in an entirely new direction. The guitars strummed with control, the drums and organs hinted at voodoo melodies and dark horizons of rock and pop-inspired oceans of goth.

The group’s latest work, Skying, is gorgeous. With this piece, The Horrors could be compared to New Wave ’80s bands that kept it sinister like Joy Division or the Jesus and Mary Chain, although the overall effect is decisively modern. British critics have hailed the album as an artistic achievement and it’s now number three on Billboard’s Tastemaker Albums Chart for good reason.

Rhys Webb, bassist and organ player for the band, keeps it cool despite the success of Skying. “We’re still touring with the same gear we used in Primary Colors, except now we’re playing larger venues,” he says. “Our music has changed, our method of attack has changed, but it’s still the same as when we were playing small gigs in West London.”

From Strange House to Primary Colours to Skying, each album The Horrors creates brings the band greater success. How is it able to change while the rest of the music industry is replete with bands that never seem to adapt or evolve?

“It’s a combination of things,” Webb says. “I think the band is constantly changing, but we have to keep on moving really, to prove that we are great songwriters and musicians."

Additionally, while it’s only been six years since Strange House, The Horrors has performed everywhere and often. “There’s going to be a natural evolution from playing a lot.”

“Our sound has changed. Perhaps it’s more accessible, but it’s just doing what makes us happy. We haven’t compromised ourselves or anything. We can explore and experiment with each album, but we also want to keep on moving as a band.”

Even Webb has to admit that with Skying, the band has achieved a success that has given it greater opportunities. “We’re making great records and reaching wider audiences, which is certainly cool.”

The entire album is available for streaming on the band’s website. This accessibility has given the group an entire new wave of fans, boosting ticket sales accordingly.

“We treated every track as a single. We just attacked each song until it was the best one on the record.” Well aware of the tendency for listeners to pick and choose “the best” from an album, ignoring other tracks, they just aimed for the bull’s-eye with each selection.

The Horrors will be playing with The Stepkids and Slipping into Darkness on Monday at The Glass House. I asked Webb: Is there a difference playing for an American crowd, rather than a British one?

“I don’t think there’s a difference between playing for an American audience or a British audience,” he says. “People come to have a good time, so you always feel appreciated. It’s not wildly different. Sure, in New York a crowd might act too cool, but then you can play another gig somewhere else in the same city and get a vastly different reception.”

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