The attraction for me is instant. A band whose name is Ho99o9 (pronounced Horror) has my attention immediately. I confess that since a very young age I have cultivated a fervent if, for obvious reasons, somewhat unlikely-to-come-true fantasy of marrying Bela Lugosi, and my love for him has brought me to grow an admiration for all things dark and out of the ordinary.
So, as I prepare to meet the duo from New Jersey, I vividly imagine intense conversations about scary matters and movies. I look forward to discussing the frightening and the unholy whilst exchanging tales of Draculas, Nosferatus, werewolves and monsters, and I want to talk of death and darkness and fear… As I walk to the venue I build these thoughts in my head until finally I meet the band for coffee before their show.
They are both smiley, friendly and have a very down-to-earth attitude, which makes it easy to talk to them. They tell me how much they are enjoying their European tour and the experience of playing on different stages and to different crowds. Not much horror here.
I have read Ho99o9 are likened to Bad Brains and Death Grips, but it seems opportune to ask them about their British favourites before their show tonight at the notorious 100 Club. Eaddy tells me he likes Discharge a lot and listens to Sex Pistols. Sonically, the band are a very interesting fusion of punk and rap, with intense guitar riffs and dramatic drums which give unsettling sensations and create an atmosphere of suspense and hostility: the perfect setting for horror stories.
Finally, the moment comes when I ask the question I have been waiting to ask more than anything else: “So, tell me more about the horror subject – how did that come about? Which horror movies are you into? And what has influenced your videos?” These questions are not unexpected as their videos are charged with violent, bloody imagery and unorthodox sexual scenes, which has raised curiosity from many interviewers.
They explain that the idea of horror in their music and videos was somehow prompted by the harsh reality of the poor and deprived neighbourhoods they grew up in. I would like to ask more details but time is no friend of mine… I have to let them go and can only look forward to their gig later on.
My expectations are not let down: the show is truly terrific! The pair roar and thunder their heretic songs to inebriated and possessed London fans and it is simply the best performance I have seen this year; I am having so much fun, I wish it won’t come to an end… but eventually it does and, as I am home and sit with my mac to write this, I feel I don’t have enough.
I would have wanted to know more about the “poor neighbourhoods” they were mentioning and the social circumstances that brought about this “ho99ific” yet amazing act. I wish I had heard it from Eaddy and the OGM, but time was nefarious and deprived me of the pleasure so I am left with what is available on the internet. I look for info, official stats and newspaper publications on the state of New Jersey because I want to get a sense of its socio-political make up. I find that the poverty rates are at a record high. The census data I read is not showing positivity and hopes for a speedy improvement look feeble. I gather that almost one million people live in poverty here, in a state that counts a population of almost 9 million; this is alarming and what is most shocking is that within the last 10 years the percentage of households living in poverty has increased… The more I read, the more I understand where it all comes from … The Horror… the Horror!
I have yet not visited the place, but my super-stylised horror dream in chiaroscuro is already not seeming so frightening compared to certain urban realities.
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