1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard of you before?
12. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Yes. Horla consists of me, O.G. I program the drums, record all the instruments and vocals, all using very low-tech equipment in my flat in Norwich. The one-man band thing wasn't (and still isn't) out of choice: I've always wanted to write and play black metal music, but it's a bit difficult when there are few like minded musicians where you live. I started recording my "songs" in 2011. The first songs I recorded were more in a depressive vein than the ones that you can find on bandcamp or soundcloud. Maybe they'll surface again one day. I put some of the music up on the interweb for friends and others to hear and got a lot of encouragement. So here we are.
2. How would you describe your musical sound?
As a complete accident. The main verse-riff from "Spider Trap" for example was meant to be in the vein of some of the more jazzy/proggy bits from recent Enslaved releases. When I recorded it, it came out sounding horribly discordant, like someone being tortured. So I wrote the rest of the song to fit with the "torture" sound. I use a lot of jazzy-sounding chords and dissonance, and only the occasional minor bar-chord, so it doesn't really sound much like the more classical sounding Scandinavian style of black metal IMO. I hate folk-metal and folk-inspired metal with a passion (because it always sounds like a parody of actual folk music) so I try and avoid anything that sounds cheesy in that way. I sound more like French and American bands. The two biggest influences for the previous demos have been DSO and Leviathan.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Sex, violence, animals... everything a growing lad needs. I use bestial imagery as a way expressing themes of pessimism, fatalism and misanthropy. Europe has a dark recent history and economic crises are bad omens. It's quite possible that we're all about to get fucked by some political event or other, - but here's the point: how could we resist? When someone came along to channel their 'Geist' and to lead the 'Volk', the Germans couldn't help themselves. When Some Churchill or Thatcher comes along to massage the sad, misguided ego of the British populace with some ridiculous, imperialist fantasy, they immediately join the queue to shoot "dirty foreigners". I could go on. That is what the title of the song "Quella Piovra..." means: "The octopus is the pleasure, the octopus is death". My songs express the following wisdom: people derive sublime, abysmal pleasure from destroying each other.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
"Horla" comes from a novella called le Horla by the French author Guy de Maupassant. It's about a man who is haunted by a ghostly presence which he calls "le horla". He isn't sure if it's real or he's going mad. Despite his best efforts he is unable to get rid of the thing. So at the end he resolves to kill himself. I incorporate references to le Horla into my music. The sample at the end of "Spell" is the final lines of the novella (taken from a French T.V. adaptation). The song title "ces profondes et delicates racines..." is a quote.
5. Currently there is only one member in the band are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you choose to remain solo?
I would like to find a drummer to collaborate with as a studio project. I work quite hard at making my programmed drums sound as natural as possible but it's still not ideal, I'd prefer to have a natural drum sound. So if there are any drummers out there who are innarested.... I'm quite self-conscious about being just another one-man band at the moment, of sounding like another Xasthur wannabe, and I'd like to change that state of affairs ASAP.
6. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label and if so, what kind of label do you feel that would be a perfect fit for your music?
Obviously it would be great to have someone distribute and promote my music to a (slightly) wider audience. It'd be cool if someone were to help out with the cost of pressing CD's/tapes/whatever, and of making a professional-looking job with the packaging. It's all a bit DIY at the moment. As to what kind of label, I've not done as much research as I should, perhaps. There are a lot of small labels. A label with bands who have an American or French sound, I guess I would fit nicely there. I've had some attention from two or three distros. We'll see.
7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
"Tentacles" has had a good reception since I put it up a few days ago from the people who've heard it. Generally, the remarks have been that it's an improvement on "Primordial Mockery". "Primordial Mockery" got a mixed reception. People really liked the music, but often found the production completely impenetrable, which wasn't really intentional. So I might re-record those songs one day.
8. Are there any other projects besides this band or is this full time?
Yes, there's a Norwich-based crust-punk/black metal project in the offing, but as per usual, finding a drummer is proving an absolute nightmare.
9. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
I've been listening to a lot of Shining and Satyricon recently, so perhaps the next thing I release will have a darker, heavier sound to it. On the other hand, I might try and write a few faster songs, in a Mayhem or DSO style. It's just a matter of programming the drum machine so it doesn't sound horrible and plastic when I want to play fast.
10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I have a lot of friends who are into prog-stuff like Mars Volta, Tool, Porcupine Tree, which I have inevitably grown into. I also quite like some "math-metal" things like Dillinger Escape Plan and Meshuggah (but not djent). As for black metal, a mix of the old Scandinavian favourites (Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone, Satyricon, Enslaved, etc.) and the bigger USBM bands like Leviathan and Xasthur. Nowadays, I like finding underground American bands who seem to have a slightly hardcore tinge like Mutilation Rites and Cara Neir. I don't know how much any of this comes out in my music. I like classical music too, like Berlioz and Mendelssohn. But the best music ever (metal or non metal) is the music to Bizet's Carmen. No contest.
11. Does Satanism or occultism play any role in your music?
Not so much. The closest I get to occultism is the frequent references to mystical animals and tentacle-rape (like the krakken in "Quella Piovra..." and the lyrics to "Spell" which was partly inspired by the tree-rape scene in "The Evil Dead" and by the Poem "Leda and The Swan" by W.B. Yeats) but that's really just a metaphor for the libidinal aspects of war and violence. My lyrics are more an expression of my pessimistic world view than anything else.
12. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
I'm a post-graduate philosophy student. I read loads of Nietzsche, Foucault, Deleuze, etc. I also like watching old European films, like anything by Ingmar Bergman or Alain Resnais. Also the documentaries of Adam Curtis. I sound very pretentious, but I'm not going to apologize for that. It's not my fault others don't have the attention span...
13. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Yeah, three things:
1) Some black metal bands need to do some gigs in England (near me) some time soon. And I don't mean festivals, I mean gigs. If you look at the listings in different venues, there's nothing, absolutely nothing on for the next few months. Unless you like Cradle of Filth. This really isn't on, you know.
2) If any drummers are interested in getting involved with Horla, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org, or through Horla's facebook page.
3)Sorry, cheap plug: Download my music here. Pay what you think it's worth http://horla.bandcamp.com/
Thanks for the interview. Peace out.