“LOUD and with plenty of lasers”
A very bold prediction from the Horrors guitarist Joshua Hayward, describing his band’s upcoming gig at Queen Margaret Union. But was he correct?
It has to be a resounding yes. The Horrors came to Glasgow with the intention of putting on a noisy, head-banging show that left a lasting imprint on the sold out audience, and they succeeded.
“We’re going to have more lasers than you can fit in that room you are currently sitting in and are playing the majority of our new album, which I’m really looking forward to.”
Hayward is known to be soft-spoken and has no social media presence but when talking about his music he gets very animated, especially when discussing the Horrors’ fifth album V which was released in September.
“We wanted to play live, dirty, raw, energetic rock music and the album came to fruition by us going into the studio with that intention. It’s the first album in a few years we’ve not made in our own studio and left to go do it somewhere else and the first time we’ve had a producer on-board.”
Hayward is also reluctant to describe his band’s music as any one genre:
“I’d just say it was really loud. It’s the best thing to say, otherwise you just end up quoting every genre imaginable, saying just random words, so yeah I’d just say that cause people either really like that kind of music or not and if they do, they’d probably like us.”
The gig started with a whimper, as a listless performance from the support act bored the crowd. The band, who didn’t even introduce themselves as they struggled through a heavy rock instrumental set that was dragged down by a complete lack of cohesion in the three-piece.
But the main event was worth sticking around for with the Horrors powering through a set-list that mainly consisted of their most-recent album, a noisy, messy affair. Sounding like Joy Division on copious amounts of steroids, the performance was anchored by a mercurial performance from frontman Faris Badwan. The new songs were supplemented with crowd pleasing singles Still Life and Something to Remember Me by, which proved to be a solid set-closer.
It seems like the band has learnt a lot from previous tours with big-hitters such as New Order and Depeche Mode, as their polished performance was a far-cry from a decade ago, when their supporting slot for the Arctic Monkeys was widely criticised.
Their tour with Depeche Mode over the summer took the Horrors all through Europe, and Hayward was shocked at the amount of fans that Mode garnered.
“Depeche Mode was mental, because I didn’t realise this but they are one of the biggest bands in the world ever times 400,” he said.
“We played at this stadium in Germany, which is like the biggest place you can get and afterwards we found out that too many people wanted to come so they couldn’t play in the stadium, so they set up in a large field next to the stadium, pretty much having their own bloody festival like it’s just crazy how huge they are.”
But with such a massive audience, comes a massive responsibility, and Hayward was worried that the band would get a bad reaction.
“We were told that everyone would hate us, cause apparently Depeche Mode fans hate everyone except Depeche Mode cause it’s just a waste of their time listening to other music.
“But we actually done really well which was nice but Depeche Mode, there from Basildon which is quite close to where I was born and they’ve always done exactly what they’ve wanted to do, like achieved these great heights which is nice to see. Also, they are fantastic live as well.”
The Horrors new album, V, is a return to form and has been their most highly praised album since their second one, Primary Colours, which was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2009, losing out to Speech Debelle.
This was a hard loss for Hayward to take, as he thought Primary Colours was the best album of the year.
“We didn’t win, I remember being very distraught about this and being very confused because we hadn’t won. I believed in my mind that we had made the best record of the year, let alone the best English record of the year. It went to someone else who I don’t think makes music anymore or hasn’t made music since.”
So what did Hayward do to get over the loss? Get blackout drunk of course.
“I remember going out afterwards to drown my sorrows and I apparently turned up at my front door, nine o’clock the next morning, blood all down my face, a bag of half a dozen cream cheese bagels, I’ve no idea of what had happened in the time between.
We clearly took the defeat hard but I had lots of fun afterwards so, I was also covered in candle wax for some reason.”
With the Horrors embarking on a 29-date European tour, foreign fans will have the chance to experience the live show for themselves, as long they love “really loud music”.