If you’ve got any passing interest in the quality crop of bands emerging out of Adelaide over the past few years, chances are you’ll know of Horror My Friend. The trio have been establishing themselves as a rock band to be aware of in the last two years especially and today, they celebrate the release of their long-anticipated debut album, Stay In, Do Nothing.
Chatting with vocalist and guitarist Tom Gordon ahead of the album’s release, he’s already keen to be out on the road with this record – the band has been labouring and waiting on it for too long.
“The EP [2014’s A Million Hands], I think, is a bit of a mash up,” he says. “It’s not really that consistent. On the album, there’s a sound and it’s great to know that people are actually going to hear that and hear songs that we’re really happy with. I’m excited that people get to hear it because I’m so tired of the EP and it feels so old to us. Even the album, we recorded it this time last year!”
The making of Stay In, Do Nothing took Horror My Friend out of their comfort zone, seeing the band go between Adelaide and Melbourne to record, working with Hothouse Audio’s Jez Giddings and Magic Bones‘ Richard Bowers.
“There were parts of it [the recording process] that were alien to us,” Gordon admits. “We didn’t actually record in South Australia, for one, so it took us out of our home environment. I think it was a good thing and a bad thing. We weren’t just doing it all in one place; we did vocals and drums at Hothouse Audio in St Kilda, which is a high end studio and then we were doing all the guitars and bass with our friends in a rehearsal room. It was really weird, going from one extreme to the other. Everything else we’ve ever recorded was with Matt Hills and this was the first time we’ve done that [without him]; we didn’t use click tracks, a lot of the stuff was done live. It was a completely different process, but it was really enjoyable because of that as well. It makes you really nervous as to how it’s going to turn out, but I feel like it’s better than anything we’ve done.”
“Hothouse was great,” he says of the St Kilda studio. “Jez is the in-house engineer there and he did a lot of Sincerely, Grizzly‘s record from the year before. That was our inspiration for going into Hothouse, because Grizzly are the best band in Adelaide. Jez is the easiest guy to work with and he really pushes you to keep on working on something until you nail it. Even if there’s the tiniest thing wrong, he won’t go, ‘Let’s just edit that,’ he’ll be like, ‘Let’s do it again. Do it again.’ It’s not in an aggressive way where you feel like you’re being pushed too hard, you’re just being encouraged to do it. We did all the guitar and bass stuff with Richard Bowers. He was there overseeing the stuff at Hothouse as well, just putting in little ideas. When we recorded with him, it was the easiest and most natural thing. It felt like hanging out as mates rather than anything else, it was great. They’re passionate about it. Especially Richard. He has a fulltime job and he took off two weeks of work so he could do our record, which is crazy.”
The nerves may still be present for Gordon and his bandmates, but working with two of your best friends has got to alleviate them somewhat, too. For Gordon and Josh Battersby, Horror My Friend currently exists alongside their other band, the seven piece juggernaut that is becoming of West Thebarton Brothel Party, while for drummer Sam Kolesnik, he also plays in another Adelaide favourite, Archers. To go between some distinctly different band dynamics can be a little trying sometimes, but for the boys, they’ve managed it quite well.
“In comparison to playing West Theb, it’s a completely different vibe,” he says. “With seven members, it can be the biggest headfuck just trying to do anything! In West Theb, Josh and I play more of a backseat role more than anything and I think that dynamic works. When we started West Theb, because with Horror My Friend I do a lot of the organisational stuff, I said straight away that I didn’t want be that and I didn’t want to take that role. I’m sure Josh and Sam agree, it takes up a lot of time doing it for just one band.”
“We’re best mates, it’s easy.” Gordon says of the band’s current dynamic. “With those two guys, I can’t speak for the others, but I feel really comfortable working with them and when you make criticisms and bring stuff up, you don’t feel like you’re going to be shouted down or anything. It’s always a discussion and everyone is pretty open. It’s great. There’s no tension either. Sam and Josh are literally two of the nicest, most relaxed guys I know anyway. There is no ego involved either, it’s everyone just doing it because they want to do it.”
Now that Stay In, Do Nothing is finally out, the attention is now turned towards Horror My Friend’s upcoming album tour. The February jaunt will see the band touring down the east coast and even out to WA for the first time, before returning home for a special album launch date. Touring seems to have been a priority for the band for some time and now that other obstacles are beginning to clear up, Horror My Friend are looking ahead to the rest of 2016 with a great deal of excitement.
“I feel like our attitude as a band up until this point has just been to take everything as it comes.” Gordon admits. “When we started the band, we never thought we’d get anywhere like this; even if the band ended now, I think I’d be so stoked with what we’ve done. Obviously, I want to do more and I’d just be happy with everything that happens, pretty much! We were talking about this, we just want to put everything we can into this year. Even though there are obviously other things we want to do during the year as well; I just finished my degree and so I’ve got a bit more time to work, I can afford and travel for a month. Josh and Sam are doing uni as well, so they’re going to be spending some time working on that.”
“It’s great because last year, we were been concentrating on getting it [the album] ready and for Josh and I, just concentrating on finishing our degrees.” he says. “It’s a massive headfuck just trying to get all of that done at the same time. This year, we have the album, I’ve finished my degree and Josh has one subject this semester. We can finally just play shows as much as we want to; it’s going to be a complete contrast to last year.”
Photo Credit: Sia Duff.
Stay In, Do Nothing is out now through Poison City Records. Catch Horror My Friend on the road through February! They launch the record with a special instore appearance in Adelaide at Clarity Records tonight. The free gig is all-ages, kicking off at 8pm sharp.
HORROR MY FRIEND AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
February 10th | Rad Bar, WOLLONGONG
February 11th | Phoenix Bar, CANBERRA
February 12th | Blackwire Records, SYDNEY | All Ages
February 13th | The Bearded Lady, BRISBANE
February 19th | The Prince of Wales, BUNBURY
February 20th | Hyperfest, PERTH | All Ages
February 21st | The Bird, PERTH
February 26th | The Old Bar, MELBOURNE
February 27th | Karova Lounge, BALLARAT
April 1st | Jive, ADELAIDE