The Horrors

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For other uses, see The Horrors (disambiguation).
The Horrors
The Horrors, 2007
Background information
Origin Southend-on-Sea, England
Genres Indie rock, neo-psychedelia, post-punk revival, shoegaze, gothic rock, dream pop, garage punk, horror punk
Years active 2005–present
Labels Stolen Transmission, Loog, XL
Members Faris Badwan
Tom Cowan
Joshua Hayward
Joseph Spurgeon
Rhys Webb

The Horrors are an English indie rock band formed in Southend-on-Sea in 2005, consisting of lead vocalist Faris Badwan, guitarist Joshua Hayward, keyboardist and synthesiser player Tom Cowan, bassist Rhys Webb and drummer and percussionist Joe Spurgeon.[1] Their music has been classified as garage rock, gothic rock, shoegazing and post-punk revival.[2][3]

The band have released four studio albums: Strange House (2007), Primary Colours (2009), Skying (2011) and Luminous (2014), all of which charted within the UK Top 40.[4]


Origins (2005–2006)[edit]

In the early 2000s, The Horrors coalesced around interests in obscure vinyl and DJing. During trips to London and on the Southend circuit, Rhys Webb met Faris Badwan and Tom Cowan through their mutual interest in 1960s garage rock and new wave as well as post-punk bands such as The Birthday Party and Bauhaus.

In 2005 the three formed a band with Joshua Hayward and Joe Spurgeon. The band was centred on Junkclub, an underground club founded by Webb and Oliver Abbott. Their first rehearsal consisted of two covers: The Sonics' "The Witch" and Screaming Lord Sutch's "Jack the Ripper" (interpreted in the tradition of previous garage covers such as those by The Fuzztones, One-Way Streets and The Gruesomes). The latter rendition was rerecorded as the opening track of their debut album.[5] The Horrors made their first live performance at The Spread Eagle on Kingsland Road in London on 16 August 2005.

The Horrors drew the attention of critics and the public with their debut single "Sheena Is a Parasite". Their second release, "Death at the Chapel", a high-profile show at London's 100 Club in July 2006, and an appearance on the cover of the NME that August, greatly increased their profile. As a result of this exposure, the band played the NME Awards Indie Rock Tour in early 2007 along with Mumm-Ra, The View and The Automatic which helped garner further notoriety. Webb later described this period as "we were in a situation we never expected, and it was a very intense time, at the same time it really brought the band together".[3]

Strange House (2007–2008)[edit]

After releasing their debut album Strange House in March 2007, The Horrors embarked on an eighteenth month world tour to promote it.[3] A slot as a support act for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in the United States in summer 2007 was cancelled because of lack of funds,[6] and the band instead headlined a US tour that June. They made a number of festival appearances throughout 2007, including the Glastonbury Festival, the Carling Weekend (on the Radio 1/NME stage), various Scandinavian festivals, the Summer Sonic Festival in Japan, and Splendour in the Grass in Australia; their setlists throughout that summer included a cover of "No Love Lost" by Joy Division. In December 2007 they featured on All Tomorrows Parties festival curated by Geoff Barrow of Portishead.[3] The Horrors also appeared in the third series of The Mighty Boosh in December as the fictional band "The Black Tubes", and supported the Arctic Monkeys on their short sellout tour of the UK, receiving a mixed reception. The band played an NME Awards show in 2008 with Crystal Castles, Ulterior and These New Puritans, and supported The Sonics on 23 March, their last London show until their appearance at Bethnal Green's Rich Mix on 23 May of the following year. Eventually, Strange House reached 37 in the UK album chart, with Webb describing it as "I think it stands alone for not only introducing new sounds to new ears, but also it was exactly what we wanted to do at the time."[3] On 18 January 2008, Counting in Fives, a documentary of the band's 2007 tour of the USA, was unveiled at the Sundance Film Festival.[7]

Primary Colours (2009–2010)[edit]

At the end of 2007, The Horrors announced the forthcoming recording of a new album, which was produced by the band, Craig Silvey, Geoff Barrow, and music video director Chris Cunningham.[8] Recording took place in Bath during the summer of 2008. Webb described the process as "the record, for me, starts and finishes like a complete work – that’s how it was with the writing, as it moved along, but always in its own direction".[3] Barrow's influence brought the use of keyboards and electronics although Webb described his involvment as "he had a sort of Steve Albini approach, where he was integral but hands-off, too".[3] The band were forced to pull out of their planned appearance at the Underage Festival due to recording schedule conflicts. The band signed to XL Recordings after they left Loog Records in 2007. The only release from the band between the "She Is the New Thing" single in June 2007 and the new material in 2009 was a cover of Suicide's "Shadazz", released by Blast First Petite as part of their tribute to Alan Vega in October 2008. A few weeks before the new album's release, a number of songs from the album were leaked.

The album's first single, "Sea Within a Sea", was released as a digital download-only on 17 March 2009. A music video for the song, directed by Douglas Hart, was also posted on the band's website on the same day. The second album, Primary Colours, was officially released on 4 May 2009 to critical acclaim and reached No. 25 on the UK Albums Chart.[3] The single "Who Can Say" was released on 7" vinyl one week later. Primary Colours was nominated for the 2009 Mercury Prize. NME later awarded the album first place in the 50 Best Albums of 2009.[9] After headlining London's Offset Festival and touring for Primary Colours, The Horrors indicated a desire to build their own studio to record at obscure hours.

Skying (2011–2012)[edit]

In April 2010, singer Badwan announced on the band's official forum that The Horrors had already started working on their third album, to be called Skying, and had been in the studio for some months. A track from the album, "Endless Blue", was first unveiled at the Latitude Festival in July 2010, and later performed at Poland's Off Festival[10] and Belgium's Lokerse Feesten in August 2010. In February 2011, after rumours that the album had been delayed, Badwan announced via the official forum that the album would be released in July. The first single, titled "Still Life", premiered on 24 May on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show. The full album was made available for streaming from the band's website[11] on 4 July, and officially released on 11 July 2011.

The band were announced to be headlining the Festival Republic Stage at the Reading and Leeds festivals in August 2011,[12][13] where during their performance, were joined onstage by The Vaccines due to Tom Cowan being older brother to The Vaccines' guitarist Freddie Cowan. Tom Cowan had joined The Vaccines on stage earlier on the same day. They had also been chosen to perform at the ATP I'll Be Your Mirror festival curated by ATP and Portishead in September 2011 in Asbury Park, New Jersey.[14]

The band joined Florence and The Machine on the UK and Ireland leg of that artist's Ceremonials Tour in March 2012. The band also headlined the "Word Arena" tent of 2012's Latitude Festival.

In December 2012, The Horrors released the remix box set Higher in digital format.

Luminous (2013–present)[edit]

The Horrors headlined the Y Not Festival in Derbyshire on 4 August 2013.[15] and the Truck Festival in Oxfordshire on 19 July 2013.[16]

The band's fourth studio album Luminous was released on 5 May. The record was self-produced and recorded in their own studio in Hackney, London.[1] It was described as being "fun and danceable".[17][18] They spent much of the year touring and working on some new material in 2015.[19]

Side projects[edit]

Rhys Webb and Tom Cowan have a side project, Spider and The Flies, influenced by BBC Radiophonics Workshop electronica, and have released an EP called Something Clockwork This Way Comes (2009).

Faris Badwan was involved in a project, Lumina, teaming up with ex-Ipso Facto member Cherish Kaya to record a cover of the Black Lips song "I'll Be With You". This recording appeared as a B-side on the Black Lips single "Drugs".[20]

More recently, Badwan formed Cat's Eyes with multi-instrumentalist, composer and soprano vocalist Rachel Zeffira. In early 2011, Cat's Eyes released an EP, Broken Glass, and a full-length, self-titled album.

Members of The Horrors have also played with The Diddlers (a Bo Diddley cover band), Cramped (a Cramps cover band) and Heavy Bunny.

Band members[edit]

  • Faris Badwan – lead vocals
  • Tom Cowan – synthesizer, bass
  • Joshua Hayward – guitar, piano
  • Joe Spurgeon – drums and percussion, backing vocals
  • Rhys Webb – bass, organ, backing vocals


Studio albums


  1. ^ a b Monroe, Jazz (2 May 2014). "Strange Fascination: Inside The Cult of The Horrors". Radge Media Ltd. 
  2. ^ Berman, Stuart (7 May 2009). "The Horrors - Primary Colours". Pitchfork. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Diver, Mike (13 May 2009). "The Horrors Interview". Clash Magazine. 
  4. ^ "HORRORS | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  5. ^ Stool Pigeon magazine, April 2007.
  6. ^ – Badwan announces cancellation of BRMC support slot
  7. ^ YouTube – The Horrors + Count In Fives Lead Singer Badwan has enjoyed rising tabloid fame after being linked with Peaches Geldof and model Nina Terror
  8. ^ "The Horrors: Fantasy Faris and Portishead-related new album info". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  9. ^ "50 Best Albums of 2009". Nme.Com. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "The Horrors – Endless Blue (NEW SONG!!!) @ Lokerse Feesten 07-08-2010". YouTube. 11 August 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "The Horrors". The Horrors. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "Reading Festival Lineup 2011". Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  13. ^ "Leeds Festival Lineup 2011". Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  14. ^ ATP: I'll Be Your Mirror Asbury Park
  15. ^ "Y Not Festival". 20 April 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "Truck Festival". 20 April 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  17. ^ "The Horrors set to release new album in September". NME. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  18. ^ "The Horrors new album 'Luminous' announced". Music Blogged. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  19. ^ Good, Jo (17 December 2014). "The Horros: "We Are Smooth Operators". Global Limited. 
  20. ^ "The Horrors' Faris Badwan to release Black Lips cover", NME, 7 August 2009, retrieved 6 November 2010

External links[edit]