COURTESY NIC SHONFELDBritain’s The Horrors play from their fourth album “Luminous” at the Fillmore this week.

Horrors frontman sketches and paints, too

Faris Badwan, the 6-foot, 5-inch, black-clad Horrors frontman, isn’t sure when his unique artistic vision kicked in, but it was probably back in childhood when he found unusually imaginative ways to amuse himself on cross-country holiday drives with his parents.

“We’d set off on this long car journey, and it would always be raining. So I’d always try and see things in the raindrops being blown across the window, and I imagined these titanic battles being fought between the different raindrops. And that’s how I’d keep myself busy – for hours,” says the Brit, who brings his band to The City this week to promote its fourth recording, “Luminous.”

Wisely, Badwan’s folks bought him a tiny writing desk. “I would wake up really early and go sit at my desk and draw pictures – it was the first creative thing that I became obsessed with,” he says.

These days, Badwan, who studied illustration in college before forming The Horrors in 2005, carries a sketchbook to capture fleeting images. His art has come to the attention of British and European galleries, which have shown and sold his work, including complex cubist and surrealist paintings.

“I’ve always been interested in human form, and finding different ways of describing it. I just see things differently, things that are real to me, that may or may not be there,” he says.

Musical themes also are rooted in his notebooks – both “Luminous” lyrics and concepts for Cat’s Eyes, his spinoff duo with his girlfriend, Canadian opera singer Rachel Zeffira. (The couple just finished the soundtrack to Peter Strickland’s new film “The Duke of Burgundy,” and will soon wrap its sophomore disc.)

But the genres rarely overlap. “The same things that appeal to me as an artist appeal when I’m making music, too,” he says.

Horrors albums hinge on one breakthrough composition. The quasi-psychedelic “Luminous” has the shimmering seven-minute “I See You,” which leads to the ethereal “Sleepwalk” and two oddly jubilant tunes, “Falling Star” and “First Day of Spring.” It's a quantum leap forward from the quintet's goth-garage-y 2007 debut “Strange House.”

Any Horrors completist will want to own at least a Badwan print.

“If people only realized, they could save themselves some money,” he says. “Whenever anyone asks me for a photo, I say, ‘no, I don’t like taking photos. But I will draw you a picture.’ Then they can get a drawing of mine for free!”

IF YOU GO

The Horrors

Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Oct. 16

Tickets: $32.50

Contact: (415) 346-6000, www.livenation.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

SF police shoot burglary suspect in Mission District

Man allegedly attacked officers before being shot in first on-duty SFPD shooting since June 2018

Ronen says $100M service expansion is ‘going to fix’ SF’s mental health crisis

Compromise mental health plan has backing of mayor, full Board of Supervisors

Civil liberties lawyer files to take on Pelosi

A San Francisco-based civil liberties lawyer, progressive advocate, DJ and poet is… Continue reading

Supes sound off against bill increasing housing density near transit hubs

Senator Wiener calls resolution opposing SB 50 ‘little more than symbolic political theater’

Most Read