Hordes were formed in late 2011 by Chris, Jim, Dale and Darren. They jammed together for a few months and got three or four songs written pretty quickly. Dale had been asking me for a while to come to practice to check them out to see if I'd fancy doing vocals for them, but as I'm generally pretty busy I kind of kept putting it off for a while. When I finally managed to hear them I had to join, they were playing just the exact same music id been listening to for the past six months constantly.
So it took a few months to get lyrics written and gig-ready and then we've been playing shows ever since. We recorded an EP ourselves which came out via the Broken Limbs Recordings bandcamp in the middle of last year I think. By the end of last year we'd written another EPs worth of material that we again recorded ourselves, but soon after it was recorded, Dale left the band to be subsequently replaced by Leigh, and that's been our lineup since the start of this year. The second EP was then released and we've been writing and playing ever since.
How would you describe your musical sound?
It's rooted in black metal and will always be that way. But from those roots there are numerous other influences spread throughout the sound. As a band I think we play slow just as often as we blast. We all listen to different bands within the realm of heavy music and a lot outside of it as well. Our main aim is to create a bleak, uncomfortable atmosphere using whatever influence and inspiration we are feeling at the time.
We are influenced by our surroundings also. There are no ethereal passages reflective of nature and woodland. We have no trees here, only fields of asphalt under concrete monoliths. Our surroundings are bleak, austere and cold and our music reflects that. It is music to listen to walking through an underpass in the early hours. Whilst walking alongside a neglected canal path with festering shopping trolleys half submerged.
Some blood on the pavement.
There may be points in our future sound that potentially could sound uplifting, but it will never, ever be pleasant.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Its almost exclusively just abject negativity. Depression. Anxiety. That mixture of anger and apathy towards the world you live in and the vast majority of its inhabitants. Apocalyptic prayers. The gutters of Birmingham.
Occasionally I'll come across a piece of art so inspiring or affecting it will end up in a song; for example "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream" is taken from the Harlan Ellison short story, whilst "Sadism in the Name of God pt II" is inspired by the movie 'Martyrs' and a thematic sequel to part I which was on the second Fukpig album. I liked the idea of essentially separate bands referencing each other.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
It was in place before I joined so can't comment on that.
What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
To some extent all of our shows have been memorable for different reasons. Our first show was I think May of last year, supporting Falloch who are a great band in their own right but we were all taken aback by the amount of people who turned up to see us. We booked our EP launch show earlier this year and again, the amount of people who turned up was humbling. That one was particularly memorable as we made a bit of extra effort with the live show, projecting 'Guinea Pig 2 : Flowers of Flesh & Blood' behind us during our set. Really helps you get in the mood when there's footage of a young girl being hacked to bits being projected all over you...
In terms of how we approach our live show, there are no special rituals we go through beforehand (although I'll always try to smoke and drink myself into a certain state of mind), its one of those situations where you just take to the stage and shit happens. We all love hardcore and punk to a certain degree so there is a lot of energy expended onstage. Have never really spoken to the other guys about this but theres a kind of unspoken agreement to not leave anything onstage. We like to get in peoples face, I don't care if people are a bit weirded out by me rolling all around the place screaming my guts up. They will most likely remember us and that's all we give a fuck about.
6. Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
We've a few dates booked locally here and there over the next few months but nothing particularly significant. There is talk of maybe jumping on a few shows with an awesome band in September but that’s all yet to be confirmed. We've been lucky enough to play with some great UK-based bands already so a lot of shows up and down the country is next on the agenda as we've only really played locally so far. That's still good as we've been on different bills, not necessarily pure BM shows, some with hardcore bands, grind bands and doom bands. We seem to fit in alongside them all which is really important as I’ve found that most metal shows are still very genre-specific and tied to a certain style. A varied bill helps expand everyones fanbase and can open peoples minds to styles of music that they’ve never heard before. I bet you that theres such a large chunk of true cvlt black metallers that wouldn’t have even heard of Satyricon until they saw them with Pantera.
More shows is definitely the next step.
7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and sludge metal?
Again, surprisingly positive. On a modest level of course but people from as far as Malaysia have been in touch for merch and the like already. Thats the joy of the internet though, anyone anywhere can check you out. I even spoke to a guy in Moscow recently who had gone to the Nathrakh show there and was familiar with the band. That was really fucking mad.
8. Are there any other musical projects going on these days?
Loads! I do vocals in a few other bands, Fukpig - evil D-beat stuff, fourth record is almost done; Selfless - crusty old school hardcore with a couple of records out; War of the Second Dragon - pure black country grind with Shane Napalm and members of a killer local grind band called Vicious Bastard - our debut 7" has been released this past month. I play bass for Anaal Nathrakh when they play live which is the best opportunity I've ever had. Then back in the day I used to play in Mistress and Exploder, both part of that same inbred Nathrakh family tree! And finally for me, I'm trying to start back up my old noise project called eatinghumanshit.
For the rest of the guys, I know Darren and Leigh jam together in a kinda sludgy, post-metal affair called Circle of Men and thats about it. They're the smart ones as they have all the free time!!
What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
Not too far removed from the second EP I imagine, still retaining the blast but tempered with a few more tempo changes to give the songs a bit more dynamism. Can imagine the songs getting longer and more complex, although we've nothing against simplicity. We've talked in the past about taking the projections to the next level and maybe writing something to flow with visuals as a kind of soundtrack piece. I'd love to introduce some power electronic or harsh noise elements as well. We'll keep developing, that's for sure.
What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
As a band I guess we've drawn from the likes of Neurosis, Wolves in the Throne Room, Ash Borer, Converge, that type of thing. I'll let the actual musicians cover that as its all guesswork on my part. For me personally, I'm into a ton of stuff that informs my performance, lyrics and vocals. Some of it you may be able to trace back, some not. I guess my influences are probably Iron Monkey, The Smiths, Mayhems 'De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas', Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror, Disgust, Deafheaven, Whitehouse, Khanate amongst others. Recently I've been listening to 'Sunbather' by Deafheaven (album of the year), 'Nattens Madrigal' by Ulver - which I can't believe I haven't heard sooner - 'Pleasure Ground' by Prurient and loads of Sutekh Hexen, Horrid Cross, Bloodlet, Ash Borer, Primitive Man, Joanna Newsom and Chelsea Wolfe. Being the well adjusted individual that I am, of course.
11. How would you describe your views on Occultism?
We don't believe in fucking wizards.
Joking aside, other than thinking that most of the imagery is totally fucking cool, witchcraft, satan and the occult play little to no part in our daily lives. We don't subscribe to the standard, cliched black metal practice of 'wear corpse paint, worship satan'. For those who do believe, let them, we have no gripe with them, live and let live. But when evil happens on a daily basis, from a stabbing in your street to a war raging in a foreign land, its not some red chap in horns who looks like Tim Curry sat on someones shoulder egging them on. To quote Alan Moore, “Its us. Only us.” Satan - or more specifically, evil - is in all of us, some of us just need less incentive than others to unleash it. There are nasty things happening right here and now, and Hordes is a reaction to that evil on our doorstep.
Outside of music what are some of your interests?
I fucking love pro wrestling. That probably makes me sound like a right virgin but I dont care. People all too readily assume that we watch it thinking that its real, but the fact that its predetermined is the best thing about it. It allows the wrestlers to tell stories in the ring, to create real drama on a par with that of any legitimate sporting event if you are able to suspend your disbelief in the same way as you would whilst watching a film or cartoon. And much like music, if you don’t dig what the mainstream is doing, there are tons of quality independent promotions around the world. Other than that I watch tons of movies - Horror especially - and I like to get soaking wet, in the bin, piss drunk.
As for the other guys, Chris likes Horror films and small dogs. Jim enjoys fatherhood and long bicycle rides. Leigh is an enthusiast of heavy rock and glue, and Darren cultivates bodily hair.
Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thanks for the support. Thanks for checking us out. The best way to get into music is through word of mouth so tell your mates about us. Big thanks to everyone who downloaded or bought an EP, a shirt or came to see us play. And cheers for the interview, we really appreciate it.
And hails to the Ultimate Warrior, as I nicked one of his promo lines for a lyric.