The Creators Project: Under what circumstances did you first pick up a guitar?
Joshua Third: I was 15, I started playing it to settle an argument with a friend who was a bassist. I thought the guitar part in this song was better than the bass part. I learned how to play it to show him the guitar part was better. After that, he got me in a band and I was kicked out for not knowing how to play Hendrix songs and generally being a bit too wild.
What were you listening to at the time?
Sonic Youth, so you can imagine how those two different worlds might collide.
Were you also interested in circuitry back then?
It came later on actually, when we started The Horrors. That’s when I started playing guitar again. We wanted all of these 60s buzz pedals and stuff, but we just couldn’t afford any of them. I had heard they were really easy to build; then I started reading about it. Suddenly I had this array of 60s effects pedals. I was really happy, and then I realized I could make pedals do even more stuff.
And at this point you were also studying physics at a university? It sounds like you had a full plate.
Yes, I was in my last year. I was actually interested in electronics before that and I was going to go into electronic engineering. Then someone told me that I’d end up having to make mobile-phone satellites, so I studied physics instead.
You must possess a large and high-functioning brain to have been admitted to a physics program at a place like University College London. Did you get straight As?
I was all right. When I did A-levels they were broken up. In my AS-levels I got straight As, and then I realized I didn’t have to do any more work so everything after went down to Bs.
Has your physics training directly helped you create pedals and other equipment?
It doesn’t really help you but it sets your mind up for it, if that makes sense. It makes you good at math and good at looking at something and tearing it to bits. Electronics are really about knowing how something works and how you can change it. But I imagine if anyone knew I was completing a physics degree to go on and do this they would laugh at me.
If they did it’d be out of jealousy. But, since you say that, do you feel like there’s something else you should be doing?
I should probably be discovering new particles and having them named after me. Whoops, never mind. Who wouldn’t want that? [laughs] Why am I in a band?