It may only be late afternoon but The Horrors' Rhys Webb is, perhaps understandably, tired but elated.
Elated, because his group have just blitzed through a Hyde Park set, supporting Blur at their Barclaycard British Summertime jaunt. Tired, because The Horrors have travelled through the night to get here.
“We were playing in Madrid last night and I think we got offstage at midnight, got back to the hotel at one, left the hotel at 5am, flew back here, came straight to the site and we were here and ready to go. But actually, I thought it was really good fun,” he grins.
“I don't take it for granted, I do really enjoy it and it's always great to play with bands that you really love as well,” he says, before adding: “Festivals are difficult. I really prefer, I have to confess, a club show. I like the intimacy, it doesn't matter how big it is, the idea of everyone being there. But you can have some really magical festival moments.”
The show has added meaning for Rhys, with Blur being one of his formative live experiences. “Blur was probably one of the first proper gigs I went to see at the Crips Pavilion in Southend On Sea and I guess I was probably about 13/14. It was when Blur's 'Blur' came out and I queued up in the snow for seven hours to get tickets and it was amazing. I think it might have been the Monday that the album got released, and it was fantastic. I think I've probably seen them about 12 times, maybe more. But they're definitely one of my favourite bands. Well, favourite British bands!”
A tenuous connection could be drawn, Clash offers, between Blur's ability to re-invent themselves and The Horrors' own dynamic musical shifts. “I think it's something that we would always do for ourselves,” he states. “Certainly, we respect and appreciate bands that do that, but I feel we didn't have a choice in the matter. It's definitely the way we would roll, anyway. It goes to show that the bands you really love are the ones who take those risks and evolve and experiment. They're certainly the groups that I enjoy.”
The Horrors are once again undergoing a period of musical introspection, with the group plotting their next studio album. Working with producer Paul Epworth, sessions are already under way, with the band set to once again choose a singular path. “We're actually working on a new album at the moment. So we're not really having any downtime. We're writing and recording. Hoping to release a new record this year.”
Desperate to get back into the studio, The Horrors are conscious that their tour commitments are keeping them away from making fresh music. “It's just because time flies, and it moves so quickly and before you know it, it will be a couple of years between releases. We wanted to get back in there and get writing. We had a really busy year of touring, so we were ready to get working on new stuff.”
With their downtime, though, the various members of the band have embarked on a new round of side projects. Faris Badwan has contributed to a new Cat's Eyes record, while Rhys Webb has his sights set on something quite different. “I'm working on a group at the moment, actually. We've just played our second show. Someone's approached us about recording something, so we might do an EP. We're called Death Fuck Leather Party.”
“The band formed at a party and we decided it would be more fun if leather was involved. It's Sam and Charlie from the Voyeurs, and Charlie's girlfriend Annie is the singer. It's synthesisers, drum machines, a guitar which is mainly used for feedback and insane walls of noise and Annie up front singing. And our inspiration, to start, was Cabaret Voltaire and Suicide. Our manifesto was to get together, work on some songs and play them.”
With only two shows under their belts, Death Fuck Leather Party is something extremely new. Starting afresh, Rhys wonders aloud at the dearth of small venues in London, with more and more outlets seeming to close on a weekly basis. “There's an incredible lack of venues – all those little venues have shut down and it's a real shame because where else are new bands going to play? This is the problem. There was a point where you could go and watch new bands playing in little venues around London everyday. But you know, it's crucial that there are those venues.”
Very much an extra curricular hobby, the abrasive sound of Death Fuck Leather Party could well signal something darker, noisier for The Horrors' next record. “I think it will in some ways. The thing with Death Fuck Leather Party is that we're trying to make the most awful, horrible noise possible but in the most beautiful way. Actually, it's now taken shape where it's gone in a different direction. I mean, that always feeds in. There's some wilder moments which we're working on with The Horrors, which I think everyone wanted to get back involved in.”
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