Horror My Friend on keeping creative and music side hustles

Fuzz-fuelled rock often comes from a place of complexity, with artists taking their cues from a vast pool of creative projects and influences.

Adelaide’s Horror My Friend wear the fuzz label proudly, having developed an infectious and melodically mature brand of alt-rock – heavily reminiscent of ‘90s college rock and shoegaze – that’s helped to set them apart from their South Australian counterparts.

It’s natural to wonder how the trio eventuated on their sound from the sleepy suburbs of Adelaide, especially when their local scene is so increasingly dense with indie-inspired, radio-friendly rock acts.

We sat down with the band to talk more about their influences, their creative endeavours as individuals and their united place within the Adelaide music community.

“We grew up on bands like Nirvana and My Bloody Valentine,” bassist and vocalist Tom Gordon explains, “A lot of it is about guitars and tones. First inspirations come from hearing cool guitar sounds, like Swirlies.”

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Catching the attention of an International booking agency like X-Ray Touring makes sense for Horror my Friend when you consider the weight of their International influences. They name Sonic Youth and German pioneers Neu! among their other favourites. Despite their growing reach across the UK and Europe though, Horror My Friend remain deeply connected to their local scene in Adelaide.

“With anywhere, there’s always gonna be healthy competition,” guitarist and vocalist Josh Battersby explains. “Everyone’s trying to do the best for what they want to do and what they want to achieve, but everyone’s very friendly with each other and everyone really supports everyone else’s successes.”

“People think of music too much as a competition,” Tom adds. “I think a lot of people see a band’s success as limiting their ability to succeed but I feel like it’s actually the opposite of that.

“If you’re friends with a band in Adelaide and they get hugely famous, are they going to bring someone on tour with them that they like and have supported them from the start, and are doing okay? Or are they going to bring someone on the tour that they don’t know?”

Across the band, each Horror My Friend member channels their creativity through different projects outside of the band but still within the music industry.

L-R – Sam Kolesnik, Tom Gordon, Josh Bettersby

Drummer Sam Kolesnik is a Graphic Designer who creates the band’s plethora of killer artwork, as well as working with other local artists.

“I’m trying to do as much music-related stuff as I can,” Sam explains. “So posters, album artwork and any freelance stuff I can get. It’s a nice little outlet because it arose from just needing to do stuff for the band.

“It became something that I really liked and felt I was passionate enough to actually pursue.”

Guitarist and vocalist Josh Battersby tells how he studied Marine Biology at university, but was lured into a life of fixing broken gear.

“I guess through our gear breaking, I got interested in trying to fix it,” Josh jokes. “Through enjoying problem solving, I got into repairing and building that kind of stuff.

“I got lucky finding heaps of good test equipment on Gumtree and now spend my days trying to fix people’s amps.”

Bassist and vocalist Tom Gordon began his career as a high school teacher, until a hectic tour schedule meant it was a hefty juggling act. After interning at an entertainment company in Adelaide, Tom moved into a role with Music South Australia, before getting into artist management.

“A couple of years ago I got into managing a local band called Siamese,” Tom explains. “So I do a lot of artist management stuff.

“I run an artist management company with another guy in Adelaide. We manage a band called Paradise Club and I also work for an artist management company in Wollongong called Rad Music, and they also manage Horror My Friend.”

Talking more about his step into artist management, Tom says, “I just found it so interesting. When you’re a kid you’re like ‘I’m just gonna write the best song ever’ and [think] it’s just gonna work, and then you slowly figure out that there’s actually so much more to it than that. And that really interested me.”

Tom and Josh are also members of Adelaide seven-piece West Thebarton, who’re signed to Domestic La La Records/Unified Music Group.

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Horror My Friend’s ability to side hustle in the music industry is a familiar tale, with many (probably most) musicians finding themselves side-stepping into production, engineering and management positions whenever they’re not working on their own music. The life of a touring musician isn’t a 9-5 gig after all, so finding creative outlets that compliment that lifestyle is a big win for any musician.

In the case of Josh, Tom and Sam of Horror My Friend, without needing to pinpoint a genre or one singular influence for themselves, they have opened themselves up to a world of creative opportunity within music, both as band members and standalone creatives.

Their increasing presence on the International touring circuit means sky’s the limit for Horror My Friend, but their loyalty to their local Adelaide scene ensures that wherever they go and however fast they get there, they’ll be back to pay forward some success.

‘Turned Loose’ by Horror My Friend is available now.

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