Beautiful Monster: A Night With the Horrorpops -- by Wes Kirk
Doctor Frankenstein himself could not have stitched together a more beautiful monster. Assembled over the better part of the last decade and hailing from Denmark, the Horrorpops are a rock ’n’ Roll Superbeast, broken free of its shackles and making its way across Canada.
The six pieces of the Horrorpops have come together intent on destroying musical boundaries and rockin your bones. After a few necessary part swaps, it is alive and unwell, headed by Patricia, the lead singer and upright-bassist. Two tattooed guitar-arms take the form of Nekroman, coffin-bassist of the Nekromantix, and former upright bass-man of Tiger Army, Geoff Kresge. The creature stomps around on legs provided by a bass-hating, drum-smashing operative introduced only as 009, who is prone to violent outbursts and should never be taken seriously. The curved body and pounding heart of the Horrorpops comes courtesy of Kamilla and No-No, two psycho Go-Go’s outta hell.
The Horrorpops have made the voyage to Canada, landing on Vancouver and trekking through the treachery of the east end to the Brickyard, where their first Canadian gig awaits them. “This area is fucking cool, though. It reminds me of where Kamilla and I used to live in Denmark,” says Patricia of her homeland on the other side of the world, where ghettos are on the west end of town and not the east. And while slums are similar everywhere, punk scenes are not. Patricia compares the Danish scene to “living in a mid-state small town. If you see a punk on the street with a Mohawk, either you know the persons name or you will go and ask,” she says. “It would be like living in Saskatoon,” relates Geoff, who most likely gained this knowledge while a member of Calgary’s The Daggers. 009 further fuels his excommunication by mumbling something about a “piece of shit country.”
Having come in search of brains, and in the name of their debut album, Hell Yeah!, a collection of songs to skank, slam, and stab to, the Horrorpops are unstoppable and indefinable, because that’s the point. As Patricia says, “Every song on the album is different. If you introduce “Girl in a Cage” to a ska loving person, they would be like ‘fuck yeah, this is gonna be ska.’ But there’s only one ska song, and one surf song. That’s because we are six people and we do have all these different influences, and it’s all about having fun.” Too unnaturally powerful to be restrained to any single genre, the Horrorpops were first dug up by Hellcat Records which featured the song “Where They Wander” on a Give ’Em the Boot compilation. That song is one of the very best, straight-up, punk rock songs to come out in years, and it is the only one of its kind found on Hell Yeah!
“Stuff like that you can’t do if you’re in a punk band, then you can’t play a surf song,” says Nekroman. “If you’re in a rockabilly band you can’t play a punk song. This is a band where we can play everything.” A swinging song like “Kool Flattop,” would seem pretty out of place on Nekromantix album, but on Hell Yeah!, everything is out of place and it all fits together perfectly. “It keeps things interesting for us as players, and I hope it keeps the record buying fans happy,” says Geoff. “Like everybody said, we just play what we enjoy playing, without any boundaries.” There is only one genre that comes close to summing up the Horrorpops, Patricia adds. “That’s why we call it rock ’n ’ roll, because it covers all of it.”
Having recently escaped from the studio only to continue touring and left too busy to even acquire any new tattoos, the Horrorpops are “excited just to be on the road, because we spent the last month and a half writing songs, and recording them,” says Nekroman, who will be back in Vancouver with the rest of the band for the Warped Tour in July. The new album is called Bring It On and will be out sometime in the fall. “To me, coming into the band on the second album and being able to compare it to the first album [on] which I didn’t play in at all, it’s a little more full sounding, and a little heavier, but at the same time it’s more melodic,” Geoff, the freshest appendage to the band, says grinning. “It’s not heavy like death metal or anything, it’s more rock ’n ’ roll, but at the same time it’s also more pop.”
Having gained yet another member with a penchant for slapping the stand-up bass, the Horrorpops are the perfect band to answer the question what’s so cool about the upright bass? “Nothing,” says Patricia. 009 outright “fucking hate[s] that thing,” and Geoff confirms that “it’s bulky, it’s hard to transport. Sometimes sound engineers at clubs don’t know how to make it sound at all.” He adds, “Those are the good points.” Nekroman, who is known in three different dimensions, six of the seven circles of hell and the entire punk rock community for his bass skills, customizes and builds them. This includes Patricia’s, which has been chopped and shaven so it’s lighter and can be swung and spun around, as well as his own coffin bass. He is also rumored to play chords with his tongue and face during extended versions of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” during encores.
Through customized bass’, big guitars, sharp drums and sugary, sin-coated dancers, the Horrorpops channel sounds “from Dolly Parton to Motorhead to new wave,” says Nekroman. Geoff adds that “basically music from any era starting in the twenties through to modern day” may be included when describing the Horropops’ influences. With quiffed hair, sleeves of tattoos, and a stick of eyeliner between them, the Horrorpops look like the cast of Night of the Living Dead 2, if it was written by S.E Hinton, and clearly have some sort of affliction with horror. That or they were raised by zombies. “Everything from Nosferatu and on. Anything, really,” admits Geoff of his affection for the undead. “If it’s good and its horror, then it’s good.” 009, who is a Frankenstein fan (the old one) points out, “anything from the ’20s to present.” Kamilla likes mummies, No-No likes vampires and Patricia hates them all.
Born out of this concoction of styles are the Go-Go’s. An amalgamation of rock, pop and murder, they are essential to the Horrorpops strength. “When I go to a show, people can be good, but if they just stand there, I may as well just sit at home and listen to the record,” says Nekroman. “I want to look at something, and I think we all agree on that.” Indeed, all would agree that nothing epitomizes the Horrorpops more than beautiful girls in skeleton dresses, dancing to the beat of an upright bass while squeezing a big, plush heart with tattooed arms. They practice their routine for “two minutes a day,” says Kamilla, but that’s everyday, with no exceptions. “There is no them and us,” as far as Patricia is concerned. “That’s not the reason Kamilla and No-No is in the band, it’s not just because of the show…”
“It’s because they smell good,” says 009. It is true. They smell lovely.
Patricia continues. “We’re together, the six people we are. Before music, before anything, there’s friendship. And we’re together because we’re friends, not because we want to look a certain way.” There may only be four instruments, but the Horrorpops are a six piece band. Just ask 009, who says, “I hate those bitches.”
And on that note, the interview is over. It is only a few hours ’til show time, and Geoff has just announced that “The babies and goats will be here shortly.”