This year’s Liverpool Sound City showcase produced some truly memorable live performances from emerging bands which rank amongst some of the most exciting sets we’d seen in years. And the good news for us locally is that three bands who produced truly astonishing performances this year, namely Avalanche Party, Hey Charlie and False Heads all return to Liverpool for Liverpool Calling which runs over two days from Friday 22nd – Saturday 23rd June 2018. It’s a stellar line-up and you can get your tickets via this link > (tickets here )
We caught up with Luke Griffiths frontman, guitarist, songwriter and founding member of False Heads, a trio from the outskirts of East London who are making huge sonic waves at the moment with their incendiary tunes and explosive live shows. They really are a MUST see live band, vital visceral, intense and f**king unreal ! As one might except Luke pulls no punches in an interview in which we discuss the reductive nature of social media, politics, the support of Godfather of Punk Iggy Pop and the new emerging wave of switched on socially engaged guitar bands.
False Heads (not Falsehood) started out in about 2016 so I suppose you’re still a relatively new band. When the three of you got together musically what was the plan? Did you have a style you wanted to play or did you just start jamming and things developed from there?
LUKE: Hahahaha well, Falsehood is the word I misread to spark the idea of False Heads actually! Jake and Barn had been in bands, I’d been in bands, I’d been putting stuff out under the name of False Heads for ages but I just couldn’t get a band together and then yeah, Jake and Barney joined and there was an instant spark and that is the truth. We’ve been developing songs organically but the first jam we had, we just knew we had that special connection between the three of us that not a lot of bands have.
So far you’ve released a number of singles and EP’s and can count legends such as Danny Fields and Iggy Pop amongst your early supporters how did that come about and what was your reaction?
LUKE: Yeah, we’ve released a few singles and Gutter Press. Basically, Danny was at one of our first shows in Camden through a Soho Radio presenter (and supporter/great friend) and we blew him away. He too has become a supporter and a dear friend ever since. He has helped us more times we can thank him. He sent Iggy our stuff and he was like ‘Iggy can be brutal so don’t get your hopes up’ or something along those lines, and then Iggy fucking loved it hahaha and me and Iggy have exchanged some emails since. He’s a fucking amazing dude honestly and still cares so much about music, new and old. One of the last real pop culture heroes. Both of them are. Legends
Your Gutter Press EP got some decent, press, but people seemed to misinterpret the sentiments. I read that the comment on the gutter press was more a reaction to social media and the conceit of those who say “We Are the Press” but refuse to think critically… So would you say social media is having a harmful effect on discourse? We all tend to surround ourselves with like-minded people and this can reinforce our sense of “righteousness,” If we do expose ourselves to differing worldviews we can simply dismiss it as “fake news”? Why bother with addressing a complex political and societal problem when we can are happier to sum it up with a simplistic Meme. Can’t be healthy, can it?
LUKE: Social media has definitely put the death nail in sensible discourse, it’s bled into everything. I think everything bad about modern political, social, journalistic and cultural debate has stemmed from social media – it’s okay’d censorship, it’s okay’d people believing anything they read without even thinking about it, it’s okay’d people writing a huge pile of shit for Buzzfeed and thinking they should win a Pulitzer. No. Fucking no! Information, news, debate, freedom of speech is not just important, it’s essential. When major news outlets like the BBC constantly resort to clickbait you feel like – what’s the fucking difference between the BBC and some random cunt on Facebook sometimes? That is scary to me. I mean, the song was a dig at the tabloids, but it was more of a dig at all of us, including me. Twitter, Facebook arguments, we all do them? But I think 99 percent of the time, they achieve absolutely nothing. You’re absolutely right, we do surround ourselves with people that think (or are scared to not say anything else) like ourselves which simply reinforces that our opinion is always right and shouldn’t be challenged and this feeds that horrible horrible sense of self-righteousness. ‘Why bother with addressing a complex political and societal problem when we can are happier to sum it up with a simplistic Meme’ You’re absolutely right. And I say this is a leftist but this horrible group of censorship-happy authoritarian cunts that have taken over mainstream left media – they don’t speak for me! I think if we really want an authentic way to maybe actually convince the more bigoted or even just ignorant, we need to take the left back because it’s going a horrible way. They both use the same tactics. I voted Corbyn in the last election because I mean you know, it’s the Tories, but they way people worship him… never worship a politician, ever. That’s obvious advice isn’t it? Never worship someone who could potentially run a country, no matter how good they seem. Yeah, there was a lot on ‘Gutter Press’ I wanted to tackle, there’s also a lot of personal stuff on there as well but yeah.
Whats next? Another EP? And you’ve got a debut album lined up – is it all written and recorded or are you still waiting to do that, agonising over track selection, artwork etc. What can we expect from the album?
LUKE: The next EP is done, being mixed and mastered as we speak. I reckon we have most of the album done but I want a good 30 tracks laid down so I can pick from new and old, to ensure the debut will be a good representation of these years we’ve been in the band. We have the album art for the EP, and I’ve got ideas for the album but that will take a while, I do agonise over those things. I always want them to be perfect. I think from the album, I want it to include every spectrum of our music. Live at the minute, it’s full throttle but we have delicate aspects like Said and Done and Comfort Consumption so it will have all these different elements.
What’s the biggest challenge for emerging bands these days, in terms of getting heard and not getting lost in a sea of noise?
LUKE: Social media really. It’s just a mess isn’t it, everything is a sponsored post, everything gets lost. You have to believe in what you do, take the music seriously but not yourself too seriously and never give up until you die. You’ll get noticed somewhere along the lines.
We mentioned the Gutter Press EP and you do often sound viscerally pissed off with the status quo. Would that be a fair comment that you use music to channel your frustration into something positive rather than venting on facebook?
LUKE: Oh yeah, 100 per cent, music is a beautiful thing, and I think venting anger, love, hate and misery into music or art or film is a much more productive experience than becoming a keyboard warrior.
You’re an incredible live unit, and you’ve done a great job a capturing your live energy on your releases to date. Is that always a challenge to a band like False Heads, to capture that raw energy and power in the studio?
LUKE: Yeah, it’s really hard, like we want that live, chaotic nature to come across but we will want it polished and to sound fucking huge hahaha like a mix of Butch Vig and Steve Albini I suppose. We’ve tried different ways to do it, recording it live without a click than overdubbing. This EP we did proper DIY because we’ve got labels and such looking at us, we wanted to record them completely ourselves so we owned them but we had barely any budget so we did the drums at Grand Cru and then the rest is like in our amazing producers ‘Jonathan Hucks’ room, a storage container and then a small studio near Stansted. But they’ve turned out fucking awesome.
Every few years there’s a slew of dreary ‘Guitar Music’ is dead articles, then the following year the very same publications proclaim “meet the saviours of rock and roll” As if the press feels one genre must die so that the other may live (like Harry fucking Potter). And its bollocks really. HOWEVER, with bands like yourselves, The Blinders, Gender Roles, Avalanche Party, Hey Charlie, Bloody Knees etc there does seem to be a change in the wind from switched on politically engaged bands who are really producing some exceptional music and incredibly energetic passionate live shows. Do you feel there’s a change a-coming and that people are bored with the sensitive faux-poetry and general vapid mewling of acoustic troubadours and want something slightly more raw and visceral
LUKE: Yeah, everything comes and goes doesn’t it. I mean people clearly want something more angry and aggressive, look at the success of Skepta or Childish Gambino’s new track? There’s clearly a market for it and there’s clearly a market for rock music to do just that and I think there’s such a big underground scene bubbling up that something will crack. And angry rock and roll could become a mainstream force, there’s a lot of people fucking sick of this fucking benign music that’s being pushed through a factory that has no consequence. A lot of people have had enough of it and they want to feel like they’re actually being represented. And music has always been such a brilliant way to do that, you’ve always had shit pop, right? But you’ve always had bursts of authenticity that penetrates the mainstream, and that needs to happen again. It doesn’t help when ‘rock and roll’ or ‘alternative’ is seen as bands like the Sherlocks at the minute. Utter drivel. That needs to be wiped off the face of the earth. Vapid morons with nothing to say.
The whole music biz is in a constant state of flux and nobody seems to know which way it’ll go. There seems to be something of an obsession with heritage acts and nostalgia, which is fine to a degree, but do you think it has the capacity to eventually stifle the hunger for new music? The industry, on one hand, has a lot of showcases for emerging talent and yet at the top end seems reluctant to sign anything other than Ed Sheeran soundalikes or reissue classic prog rock box sets.
LUKE: Great question. I honestly have no idea where it will go. I think about it a lot. I think there is enough there pushing new talent, even major companies like Spotify that there’s some hope. And nostalgia will always happen and come in cycles but just show itself in different ways, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
And finally what have been your favourite gigs to play and also as a punter and if you had to pick a seminal moment in musical history that made you each think, “fuck yeah that’s what I wanna do”
LUKE: Favourite gigs to play was Isle of Wight 2017, when we headlined Dingwalls and this Camden Rocks, oh and a Peaceful Noise supporting Josh Homme, that was incredible. My favourite gig I’ve been to was Radiohead at the O2, that was fucking phenomenal.
My moment that was like ‘fuck yeah that’s what I wanna do’ was just listening to Nevermind for the first time, I remember it just changing my life, literally. But I had a similar experience when I was a bit younger and listened to the Marshall Mathers LP where I was like, fuck authority, I want to piss people off, I just can’t rap for shit so luckily Nevermind was listened to a few years later.
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