No one will ever accuse the Danish trio HorrorPops of being a conventional band. But to say they have no use for convention is a gross understatement. HorrorPops abhor the norm. They stomp it with vigor and spit in its eye. And the band's Bettie Page-esque lead singer/bassist, Patricia Day, certainly isn't tight-lipped about it — or anything else, for that matter.
"We didn't start HorrorPops because we wanted to be a signed band or all these things," she says by phone from L.A. "We did it because we wanted to just play whatever the hell we felt like without any limitations or anything to live up to."
Part of breaking away from those limitations was switching from the guitar, the instrument she played in previous bands, to an upright bass. In turn, her original partner in HorrorPops crime, Kim Nekroman (of the Nekromantix), swapped her own upright bass skills for the axe. Each taught the other to play. "It's a huge instrument," Day says of the bass, "so no matter how much weight I gain, I can always hide my ass behind it." She then belts out her trademark hearty laugh.
Day and Nekroman decided to round out their budding band to a trio by adding drummer Henrik Niedermeier. Together the three excel at bending genres, crossing more boundaries than a Mexican in a border town. They drift from New Wave to punk to ska to surf and back to implement rockabilly, psychobilly, goth, and even metal. "Whenever the three of us get together, it's just whatever comes out," Day says. "Sometimes we're like, 'Fuck, let's play a jazz number,' and we'll do that for a while."
Peforming around the world in support of their first two records, Hell Yeah and Bring It On!, earned the HorrorPops a cult following. But the band's latest release, Kiss Kiss Kill Kill, displays a clear refining of its approach. The album was intended, according to Day, as a return to more New Wave stylings, but only insofar as HorrorPops can intend anything. The black-and-white 1950s movie-poster-style album cover, along with tracks called "Hitchcock Starlet," "Highway 55," and "Horrorbeach Pt. II," lend to the idea that there was a distinct concept behind the album. But Day quickly corrects those suspicions: "We didn't give it any thought whatsoever. We decided the theme fit afterward, but the three of us didn't sit down to think these things over and make a plan of what we were going to do. We're not that into sitting and picking our own navels."
Rather than the drawing board or the recording studio, the place the band really shines — and where the musicians prefer to be — is on the road. It's part of the reason HorrorPops' cult has grown since their wildly successful appearance on the Warped Tour a few years ago. They're known for attacking the stage through a frenzy of energy and theatrics, with a few go-go dancers thrown in for good measure. Asked for a description of what concertgoers can expect at the Culture Room this Tuesday, Day doles out what amounts to Fight Club's first rule.
"When you've been to a HorrorPops show, you know that you can't really describe it. You just have to experience it," Day says before mulling it over and then adding, "but you also know it's a great loss going to our show, because any other show you go to after, you'll be like, 'Errr! I like the HorrorPops show better!'" She laughs. "A HorrorPops show is a HorrorPops show. You just gotta fuckin' be there."