IT can take a lifetime for some bands to get recognition…
from the big boys of the media and a true Rock legend – many do not reach those giddy heights at all. The boys of False Heads have recorded at Pete Townshend’s studio and been highlighted by NME and Radio X – where they recently played Slew live. A certain Iggy Pop has a soft spot for the trio; they play Brighton’s Bleach on 17th after a trip to Nambucca (London) the week before. If that wasn’t enough, they are recognised across the pond – claiming merchandise sales are pretty steady and impressive in the U.S. Not that I want the chaps to have a horrible, diarrhea-related ending but they seem the epitome of most musicians. I was eager to try and chip away at their armour and find some flaws: I am afraid I only discovered gems, bonuses and positives. An all-access-pass, expletive-heavy and fun interview comes from guitarist-singer, Luke. He talks about the single, Twenty Nothing and their latest E.P., Gutter Press. I was keen to know about the title’s derivation and how 2017 is shaping up for the lads; how important East London is for their creative flow and what we can expect from them when they hit the stage.
Hi guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi man. I’m all good. Bit of a dodge stomach from a curry, currently; but all good. Yeah, been good. Did a little stretch of northern dates and having a small break before our launch show. Back to our sh*t part-time jobs for a bit (which is always bad times).
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Me, personally? Haha, I’m Luke. I mumble/shout and play guitar. As a group, we’re False Heads: where my mumbling/shouting and mediocre guitar playing is (it is) backed by loud drums and heavy basslines. ‘Snot-Pop’, by the legendary Dave Beech, is my favourite description of us.
Gutter Press is the new E.P. – it is coming out later this month. What was the experience like recording it and can you reveal anything about the sort of songs included?
There’s a few songs people would have heard before on there. We wanted to include them to sort of sum-up (us) being a band over the last year-and-a-half. The selection of songs are a pretty accurate representation of that.
Recording it was pretty pleasant to be honest – it was a pretty smooth process. We recorded it live and then overdubbed on top, which I think gives it a nice cross between that raw live energy and a full sound.
The title seems like a bit of a dig at the tabloids. Is it that obvious or is there something else behind that name?
Yeah, it is a bit of a dig at the tabloids. It’s meant to be and that is quite obvious but it’s also a dig at everyone. This Facebook-essay-culture does my f*cking nut in. We’re all the gutter press: mainstream news sites like the BBC and sh*t posting the same sort of clickbait as The Daily Mail or Buzzfeed. We all share it and perpetuate this bullsh*t news culture.
Everyone has the right to an opinion, of course, but everyone seems to think they have the right for their opinion to be right.
So, the idea of Gutter Press is (sort of) a lot bigger than just having a go at the tabloids.
I cannot fuck*ng stand people who post a big, long essay on Facebook and then pat themselves on the back like they’ve actually done something of any worth. This horrible reality T.V., fame culture has bled over into everyday life – where people seem to be utterly desperate for recognition in every aspect of their lives and end of living like open wounds. So, it is a bit more encompassing than just the gutter papers.
You just performed Slew, from the E.P., as part of a Radio X live session. That must have been quite an honour playing at the station? What was the vibe like there?
To be honest, it was a great vibe. The engineer comes out and helped us with all our gear. We set up in the Radio X studio and smashed it out really. The engineer made it sound great and we were really happy with it. It’s at Global Radio as well – where Capital (F.M.), Classic (F.M.) and L.B.C. are. So, I was thinking about shitt*ng in the Capital studio; playing some violin versions of our tunes and then chatting some sh*t about politics – but we didn’t have time. Maybe next time around…
Can you take me back to the start and tell me how you guys got together? When was the moment False Heads sort of ‘clicked’, as it were?
It clicked when I finally got Jake and Barney in. I was trying to get a band going for years and years and it (just) never quite worked. I came back from uni. and when Jake and Barney joined it just all fell into place. The first rehearsal, we all kinda (sic.) knew it was going to work. There was just a banging energy straight away. We were all friends from school. Me and Jake had been jamming on tunes for a while. Barney and Jake were in a band at school as well so it made sense that worked out so well. I’m glad it did because I was getting sick of trying to get band members in.
Looking at a song like Twenty Nothing, the lead single from the E.P., it seems like you revel in the video format and performing. Is it good to sort of cut loose in a different way and record a music video?
Yeah. I don’t mind doing music videos. Chris Hanvey is, sort of, our official videographer at the minute so we come up with (we think anyway, haha) effective ideas on an Indie budget. There’s not much stress in doing a music video really, either: maybe that will change in the future. It does feel like you get to cut loose a bit as well. We’re really a live band so it’s good to get that coming across in music videos too.
It must be a pretty cool thing to have on your C.V.: you can say False Heads are one of Iggy Pop’s favourite new bands. How did Iggy first come across your music and have you met the great man?
We owe that to the legendary Danny Fields, really. He came and saw us in Camden and has been looking out for us ever since. We also struck up a great friendship with him. He got in touch with some of his old firm (including Iggy (Pop) – who he managed) and Iggy really dug it and it sort of went from there really.
We haven’t (played with him) but we plan to, haha.
The U.K. press has thrown their weight behind you and you’ve also been noted in the U.S. – when you did an interview for The New York Times. How important is that media backing; any plans to conquer America in the future?
Yeah, that kind of media backing is important. One, because it shows that your name is making some kind of wave, if it’s reaching that sort of level, and Two, it’s obviously great exposure. I think word-of-mouth is still probably the best natural form of exposure – and the most important though.
We’d love to (tour America). It’s mad the response we get from America. So many people get in touch from there and it’s pretty balanced on the U.K.-to-U.S. ratio – on who has bought our merch. so far – so we think we need to. We’ve had a fair amount of college radio-play as well. There’s some talks about it and some stuff in the pipeline so we’d love to.
PHOTO CREDIT: Gregory Hesse-Wagner
You’re signed to the 25 Hour Convenience Store (Libertines drummer Gary Powell’s label) and had the run of Pete Townshend’s studio to record in. Does the label give you a lot of freedom and what has it been like recording at a Rock legend’s studio?
Yeah. We get a fair amount of freedom over what we record and we put out, to be fair. There’s talks about what the best single is etc. but there’s a lot of freedom. Yeah, it was awesome recording there. There were little hard drives with ‘The Who’ written on it (and shit), haha. Was tempted to nab one and make a few grand but thought about how hard Pete Townsend can punch – with all those years of arm-swinging!
Being based in and about East London, you must take a lot of inspiration from the street and cultures there. How important is London to the music and the particular area you live in?
Yeah. We’re top Gs on the mean streets. Honkies with Attitude, haha! Nah, it is important, but mostly just (like) the observation stuff for lyrics. We’re all from East London and then moved out closer to Essex (which is fucking full of T.O.W.I.E. c*nts and useless chavs). So, a lot of frustration comes from that really. It’s a weird place now, man. Sh*tholes that are trendy-as-f*ck; chavs that are metrosexual. It’s like The Twilight Zone.
Let’s talk about the past and gigs. Thick Skin and Weigh In were out last year and were supported by gigs at The Roundhouse and Camden Rocks. What were the best memories from 2016 and was it quite daunting playing those big stages?
The Roundhouse and Camden Rocks probably were my highlights to be honest, haha. Nah, they weren’t that daunting. The Roundhouse was a bit (daunting) before, but once we got on stage, it was pretty natural and was kinda (sic.) like playing anything else. Backstage was fuck*ng awesome, though. Camden Rocks was at 12 P.M., so we’d just fallen out of bed – so there wasn’t really time to feel daunted.
You’re launching Gutter Press at 25 Hour Convenience Store on 10th March; you’re playing Nambucca on 11th (in London). You play Bleach in Brighton on 17th. You chaps looking forward to those gigs and any plans for future dates at all?
Yeah. The gigs should be great. London is nearly sold-out and Brighton is always good fun.
We’re announcing more tour dates after Brighton and some festivals. Also, a single release.
Your live sets and music have been compared with Buzzcocks and Pixies by many. Are those the kind of bands you guys grew up to? Who were the artists that compelled you from a young age?
Yeah. I was obsessed with the Pixies at like sixteen-seventeen and was big into London-Punk, but probably more Sex Pistols and the Clash than the Buzzcocks. Although, I do like the Buzzcocks. In my teens, like fifteen onwards, bands and artists like Bob Dylan, The Beatles; Pixies, Nirvana; Radiohead, Elliott Smith; Hendrix, The Clash and Sex Pistols were what drove me and made me wanna be in a band (and to write music).
If you had to select the three albums that have meant most to you; which would they be and why?
Eminem – The Slim Shady L.P. Because it was the first artist/band I got into – even if I was a horrible little chav. It made me hate Pop music and like music that was more aggressive, rebellious and angry.
Nirvana – Nevermind. Because it made me want to play guitar and be in a band and…
Radiohead – OK Computer. Because it was just so unlike anything I’d heard before.
False Heads is a true, rowdy Rock ‘n’ Roll band. Who, would you say, is the most hardcore? Perhaps that one member who is likely to throw a T.V. out a window? Any of that happen at a False Heads tour?
Hahaha, I don’t know.
We’re probably all capable of throwing a T.V. out of a window, although it hasn’t happened, as of yet. Most of that sh*t happens on stage, really.
I jumped on Barney, off a speaker and split his arm open at Camden Rocks. Few guitars and sh*t have been smashed. We’ve not really stayed in hotels, as of yet. Haha. Living out of a Peugeot and people putting us up. Thrown a fair few T.V.’s out of my Peugeot, though.
Who are the new artists you recommend we investigate?
Have you any advice for songwriters coming through at the moment?
Get another one in: claim you wrote it and then let the money roll right in.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song you like and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Calva Louise – I’m Gonna Do Well
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PHOTO CREDIT: Gregory Hesse-Wagner