PHOTOGRAPHY Wanda Martin
FASHION Kamran Rajput
HAIR Emma Tierney MAKE-UP Verity Cumming
Faris Badwan, frontman of UK band The Horrors, fronts one of the covers of our latest "Subculture Issue" currently available here at our online store, or on newsstands worldwide. In the issue's feature we decided to ask Badwan to pen an article discussing how subcultures influenced him, the band and his style, an excerpt of which you can read below.
"The idea of subculture is particularly enticing to a kid waiting for something to click. It implies freedom of choice, the door to an alternative path. The possibility of rejecting what is immediately available to you rather than just accepting it and ignoring the nagging sense of discontent. Subcultures are created through a mixture of accident and design - by a group of people pursuing their interests or looking for a support system.
I remember going to school aged 8, wearing a pair of destroyed leather gardening gloves and a bandana, looking ridiculous, like some kind of impoverished Karate Kid on the set of Mad Max, but feeling like Ralph Macchio himself. I was obsessed with gangs such as the ones depicted in The Warriors or The Outsiders, even West Side Story - anything with ripped leather and denim. I devoured David Wilkerson’s autobiographical book, 'The Cross and the Switchblade', about an evangelist who converted New York street gangs to Christianity. I was willing to endure 200 pages of religious propaganda for the promise of a few paragraphs of knife fights.
As a child trying to establish your own identity, you grasp at any means of expressing yourself, whether that involves raiding the garden shed or finding God.
The idea of bands as gangs hadn’t entered into my head at this point - I discovered my parents’ 'Sounds of the 60s & 70s' cassette tapes and was making compilations, but didn’t know what any of the bands looked like. I loved the Ronettes and the Shangri-Las - and the way they clashed biker imagery with teenage romanticism.
My first exposure to distortion in a song was the two-chord guitar hook from 'You Really Got Me' by The Kinks, which even now wouldn’t sound out of place on a Royal Trux record. Reading in the cassette insert about Dave Davies getting the guitar sound by slashing his amp speaker cemented the track’s status as my favourite for several years.
In the same liner notes I saw the Kinks for the first time: all in black with white shirts, matching haircuts.
Aged 16 I remember Tom [Furse] from the Horrors saying to me, 'When we move to London we’re going to start a garage band, and we’re all going to wear black.'"