The Horne Section TV Show | Interview with The Horne Section

How would you describe The Horne Section TV show to those who know nothing about it, or the band?

Will: Well, it’s a mixture, it’s comedy with music I guess as a vehicle, how’s that? Musical comedy. Some of it’s very scripted and some of it was left quite loose, there are some scenes which were improvised. Some of the rehearsal scenes we didn’t know what Alex was going to throw at us at all, which I guess was in the spirit of the old Edinburgh shows that we used to do and then some of it was scripted so we had to learn all that stuff and do it as it was pretty much.

How does the series differ from some of the live shows and tours that you’ve done before?

Mark: It’s scripted!Joe: Yeah, none of us had ever acted before and I’m still not completely sure if we have or not but we’ve tried.

Did you enjoy it more than you thought you would?

Mark: Well, I did.Ben: I think we all really enjoyed it in the end. We had some acting lessons having done the pilot, we felt a little bit like we had imposter syndrome, so we thought we should address that and we went for acting lessons which maybe gave us some confidence to do it together.Joe: I think we all enjoyed it in the end.Ed: Yeah, I definitely enjoyed it.Joe: The first week I found bloody terrifying but after that we kind of settled into it and I think it was quite fun, but obviously the process… we had no experience of, I don’t think any of us were quite prepared for how many takes it would involve. Just the fact that it was literally three minutes of footage per twelve-hour day, I think that was the average and we obviously had no idea about things like that.

What was the hardest part about performing live, ‘as live’ in a recorded series, was that something that was easy for you?

Mark: A lot of that was actually live, like the chat show element of it, they were all recorded live, similar to what we would normally do when we’re on a TV show. Then some of it we’d redo for sound reasons by miming to ourselves, stuff like that.Ed: Our role in those bits… we were pretty much just playing as a house band which is the side of it we are used to doing. So that was alright because we were playing music and sat on stage for those bits, so yeah that was probably more comfortable than the other parts.Ben: Yeah, I think there were definitely a few scenes nearer the end of the series that we had to do where we were away from our instruments, and I think we probably noticed that when we took away…Mark: I was just about to say anything where we had an instrument was fine.Ben: Yeah, and then you take that away… we all had to do a little scene with Tim Key and that was sat on the couch, and I think that, for a lot of us, really felt like a moment where you sort of come away from your instrument and lose the comfort of that.Joe: Nothing to hide behind.

What’s the typical process that you guys go through when you’re creating a new song?

Ed: Sometimes we’ll just do it, a song totally on our own or somebody will bring an idea to one other member or sometimes we all just get together and jam something out with a concept in mind.Mark: Alex has set the lyrics this week and I’ll write the music so I can produce it, but there’s no one way really. I think there’re quite a lot of ideas that get shoved into our WhatsApp group and then we sort of cobble together… when we have time to do stuff, we’ll cobble together a song from it.

How quick is that process then… hours, days?

Mark: Months!Will: The best ones are really quick; some are written quicker than it takes to perform them. When you’ve got a joke, you know, you’ve just got to get the joke across, you don’t want to string it out for too long.Mark: There’re some ideas that we think should be really funny that we’ve worked at for ages and ages and ages which have never really come to fruition, especially for live, we think this is going to be great and it’s going to have a whole performance element to it, then we try it once in a show and it doesn’t work.Will: There are ideas that we like better than the audience which we sometimes hang on to a little bit too long.Mark: It depends what the song is going to be used for, if it’s going to be used in the podcast it can be one thing, if it’s got to be for a large show it has to be another thing, the joke has to come across in a clear way.Whereas if you give it some time, like the podcast listeners they might listen to it a few times and the joke can be delayed. Having said that I think the best ones probably do both, where you can get a laugh out of it but then…Mark: There’s ones that you can see don’t work on the podcasts and then there’s also some that we’d never do live, one in particular we wrote that we’d never want to do live. It’s in the TV show, but we’ve never actually had a response as to whether it’s funny…Will: The only feedback we ever had was from Imogen Heap herself who said ‘it made me laugh’ and we were like ‘oh that’s good’.

Have any of you ever tried to teach Alex your instruments?

Mark: I have taught him a bit. He did a thing for Radio 4 so he was going to learn play the piano and he had lessons from someone else and then I tried to help him and he was fairly useless. I couldn’t tell whether he just hadn’t practiced at all or listened in the first place.Joe: I think I can teach anyone to play anything to a point.Ed: Except Alex!Mark: Except Alex, no that’s not true. Because you can teach a reasonably intelligent person to play anything, I think he does have a lack of patience for it as well, because he can’t understand why it doesn’t sound amazing.

The show itself is lots of fun, hopefully great escapism. What do you want viewers to take away from it?

Mark: Our favourite things in general are the sillier side, real silly type, like Father Ted or Harry Hill or Vic and Bob where it’s just funny for funny’s sake, I think and there’s no overriding arc or story.Joe: The stupider the better.Ed: The stupider the better…Joe: If we had a motto, it might be that. I think there’s a gap for that at the moment to an extent.Mark: It doesn’t have to be dark humour, it can just be stupid, you know.

Do people sing the songs at you when they meet you out and about, have you met fans that have learnt all the songs?

Mark: Yeah, a lot of the fans know it better than we do, especially the podcast fans. Some of them say stuff on Twitter and I don’t know what they’re talking about, and it was done in a podcast, but it’s like, did we? Quite often that happens.Will: Yeah, it’s quite unnerving when live they’re mouthing the words and you think bloody hell you actually know it.

What was it like working with all the guest stars? Was there anyone that you were starstruck by?

Mark: I think it was bizarre for them because they didn’t really know what it was about, Big Zuu especially, he thought it was an actual chat show and he didn’t realise he had to act in it and stuff. It was pretty surreal watching Joe singing a duet with Big Zuu, I think that was my favourite bit. Martin Kemp was quite… I think I was very starstruck by him in a way because he’s the most…Ed: Daunting presence.Joe: Yeah, like a daunting presence. They were all great, Imogen was brilliant, really fun.Ed: We had a jam with her just out of nowhere so that was really nice. I think it was weirder for her than it was for us because we were all in her house.Ben: I mean my favourite thing about the whole thing was just hanging out in her house and her garden.All: Yeah.

Did you get to give input on guest stars and put names forward?

All: Yeah.Ed: We really wanted Imogen, like we really pushed that because we thought she’d be great. We were happy with everyone we got in the end.Joe: It’s a pretty disparate, crazy line-up I think, which I love about it.Ben: Anneka Rice with Big Zuu were brilliant.

How would you sum up your individual character or personality traits in the band and have your roles changed over the years of working together?

Mark: I think I’m renowned as being grumpy but it’s just because I’ve got a grumpy face.Ed: And everything he says is grumpy.Mark: But I’m not really grumpy, that’s the thing.Will: The rest of us are too well mannered to have any personality.Joe: I’m sort of the village idiot character, which isn’t that far from the truth. We’re all basically a very slightly exaggerated version of ourselves I would say.Mark: I’d say Ben’s definitely the most enthusiastic.Ben: Quite keen. I’m into writing everything down and trying to do a really good job and being quite earnest.

What were your favourite moments from filming or the process of making the series?

Ed: My favourite moment was one of our jokes being explained to the whole crew, the director didn’t get the joke and when it was explained to her, she wanted to find out how many people actually got the joke amongst the whole crew.How did that go, was it a huge number of people that got it straight away?Ben: About 50/50.Joe: It was less than 50/50 wasn’t it?Has the joke stayed in?Joe: It’s been put in twice!

Why do you feel like people should watch the show?

Ed: Probably for what we alluded to earlier, just to switch off and escape I suppose, watch something silly.Mark: There’s lots of music, it’s good to watch music on TV, even when it’s not a silly song it’s all originally composed background music. I think it’s pretty packed with good music.

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.