Faris Bad­wan

Mu­si­cian Faris Bad­wan is provoca­tive, un­con­ven­tional and marches to the beat of his own drum. Now, fol­low­ing the re­lease of his band’s fifth al­bum, he’s on his way to be­com­ing a house­hold name.

Bespoke - - THE CONTENTS -

If you hap­pened to be look­ing for a rock archetype you’d be hard pressed to find a bet­ter spec­i­men than Faris Bad­wan. The lead singer of hard-to-de­scribe Bri­tish five-piece The Hor­rors, is a sort of Gothic Mick Jag­ger with more swag­ger – tall, thin, a big mop of black hair fram­ing his boxer’s nose and wide in­tense eyes. “An in­ter­viewer re­cently de­scribed me as a 2-me­tre Mar­jane Sa­trapi il­lus­tra­tion come to life, but last time I checked I am skin and hair rather than ink and pa­per… but who knows, I don’t want to rule any­thing out in the fu­ture,” he tells Be­spoke over the phone from Slove­nia where The Hor­rors are cur­rently on tour. “Right now I am sat in a shower stall by the way be­cause it’s the only quiet place in the build­ing.” Born in the very English Kent town of Bex­ley to a Pales­tinian fa­ther and English mother, Bad­wan’s child­hood dream was to play foot­ball in goal for Black­burn Rovers be­cause he just wanted to be like all the other kids. He’s a still a big fan to­day: “A quick glance at the League One table will tell you that times are hard for Black­burn un­for­tu­nately. But I’ll sup­port them for my whole life.” By his late teens it was all about the mu­sic though. His orig­i­nal stage name when the band launched their 2006 de­but ‘Strange House’ out of Southend-on-sea was Faris Rot­ter, and he would roam and still roams around the stage, a tow­er­ing stick-like fig­ure, stage-div­ing and com­mand­ing the crowd’s at­ten­tion. Back then, he says, “We couldn’t play but that’s why we en­joyed it,” – the mu­sic un­der the ban­ner ‘Psy­chotic Sounds for Freaks and Weirdos’ was a chaotic fu­sion of 1980s Gotha­billy and Six­ties Garage rock, all vi­o­lent en­ergy and fa­mous 15-minute gigs. “When we be­gan it was so in­stinc­tive and there was no thought beyond our next show. It was a raw re­lease of en­ergy and it was a while be­fore we dis­cov­ered sub­tlety,” he says. “I didn’t re­ally have any pre­con­ceived ideas of what be­ing in a band might be. I was thrown into it with no prepa­ra­tion. When I was a kid I thought peo­ple in bands had to be to­tal masters of their in­stru­ment in a con­ven­tional way and that they had to have had lessons all their lives. And then I started lis­ten­ing to garage and the Mc5, and all the New York punk bands. At 19 I read the Si­mon Reynolds book ‘Rip It Up and Start Again’, which gave me loads of ideas.” In­tro­spec­tive Krautrock and what’s been de­scribed as neopsychedelic shoegaze was the marker of their sec­ond al­bum ‘Pri­mary Colours’, a move away from their more fu­ri­ous, fast and punky noise. Two more al­bums – ‘Sky­ing’ and ‘Lu­mi­nous’ – were to fol­low, and now comes ‘V’, a record Bad­wan sees as the cul­mi­na­tion of their mu­si­cal jour­ney so far, The Hor­rors’ dark­est yet most ac­ces­si­ble record to date. “I thought the V [of the al­bum ti­tle] was a fuck-you,” Bad­wan says. “A bit of a ‘fuck-you, we’re back’.” It’s a pow­er­ful, soaring and quite dif­fer­ent al­bum pro­duced by Grammy and Os­car-win­ning man be­hind mil­lion-sell­ers Adele and Cold­play, Paul Ep­worth, an al­bum likely to push 30-year-old Bad­wan’s pub­lic pro­file into the big time. “V is a risk but life isn’t much fun without risk. It’s the an­tithe­sis of be­ing cre­ative if you know what you’re go­ing to be do­ing ev­ery time,” he says. “I feel as if the more records we make the more pos­si­bil­i­ties there are.” It’s no doubt a rea­son why Bad­wan formed his other band, Cat’s Eyes, with girl­friend, multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist and opera singer Rachel Zef­fira. Their blend of drone-rock is some­thing en­tirely unique and some of the band’s videos are eerie in the ex­treme – 2016’s clip for ‘Drag’ for one, shows the pair vi­o­lently and blood­ily beat­ing the crap out of each other and makes for un­com­fort­able watch­ing. The song, nat­u­rally, is about a bad re­la­tion­ship. “We’re cur­rently work­ing on a sound­track to a new film.” Bad­wan has al­ways been al­ter­na­tive – quite re­moved from his brain sur­geon fa­ther and nurse mother though he says they were

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