I recently got the chance to meet False Heads at Camden Rocks to talk about how they met, This Feeling, Gary Powell and their views on politics.
[Photography courtesy/ shot by SHOTS.BY.HANVEY]
Now signed to Libertines’ drummer Gary Powell’s record label and stealing Iggy Pop’s attention, these guys are undeniably destined for fame. Hailing from the outskirts of East London, playing in what drummer Barney jokingly describes: “a Nirvana rip off band”, the band have already had the official nod from alternative music’s most enduring tastemaker.
Spawned from the ashes of bands at school, False Heads came together in mid 2015. Describing their sound as ‘crack rock punk’, their infectious guitar riffs alongside mighty lyrics, makes these guys perfect to rock out to. Frontman Luke Griffith’s gritty vocals bring a deep and raw sound, with a grungy approach. Singles Weigh In, Thick Skin and All Eyes all display a classic rock audible, with Slew having the most heavy yet enduring riff. “Here’s the False Heads, Rock ’n’ roll, alternative guitar whacking and bashing music.. I liked it!” says Iggy Pop, which seems hard to disagree with.
Backed with a series of energetic and frantic live performances, False Heads have had a huge year when regarding 2016. Recently the boys have announced some UK tour dates, with their video for new single Twenty Nothings due to be released the ‘first week of February’. They have recently been mentioned in This Feelings Big in 2017 and off course already being spotted by many hugely influential eyes. Danny Fields (manager of Ramones and Iggy Pop) stated: “I was almost giving up, but now hope for future of rock and roll renewed- for me that’s a very big deal”, so make sure to watch out!
For False Heads background story, Luke seems to be the creator behind it all. “We were in different bands at school” Jake says. “The name has been around for ages” Luke continues. “I thought about changing the name because when Barney joined it was kind of like a new band from what I was trying to get going. Then I thought, I like the thing I have crafted and worked for so long to get to click. When the band I wanted came together, it was a nice thing you know. I worked at it and it finally happened so I kept the name. Plus I thought it was a cool name anyway.”
In terms of work and having Gary Powell as their manager/producer, it appears they get on really well. “Gary is just sort of the figure head of it really” Luke admits. “He is a lovely guy, great to share a whiskey with – he loves his whiskey”, Barney says. From the impression given from the boys, Gary is a great guy “to go on a night out with.” “Before The Libertines did their third album we went out because obviously we had to play a few shows for him. His partner Wayne who is also our manger, was the one who sort of picked us up when we were sending demos about. I went for a drink with him, then he said to come and do a showcase,” clarifies Luke.
Taking inspiration from other music, Barney takes his favourite comparison he believes their band represents, “I mean we are a Nirvana rip-off band”. “I guess for me it’s people like Elliott Smith, Nirvana and Radiohead probably” Luke shares. “Yeah if you want to know, we have a playlist on Spotify” Jake says. “It’s called big juicy bangers” Luke laughs. “For me I would say Unknown Mortal Orchestra at the minute are really good. Then Grizzly Bear stuff like that” says Barney. “Radiohead, Neutral Milk Hotel..” lists Jake as he begins to open up.
Some may say that False Heads comes across as being one of the many very opinionated bands. When asked about politics and todays society, Luke seems to be the most assertive amongst the band. As told by Barney, “I think we are a very opinionated Luke- that is what we are.”
“I don’t want to get too far into this but I sort of hate everything” Luke tells me. “Like I voted in and I end up finding myself defending not even for people who voted leave, but the day after, it was when people were saying how they thought there was an age cut off because they are going to be dead. That’s borderline thought crime for me, if you’re going to start banning people from voting then I don’t know. It is a bit annoying but where does it is end? I don’t agree with that shit. I hate censorship, I find it pathetic!” He pauses then resumes, “You can sit here and talk for hours about it, which we do” they laugh. “To enable you to say ‘you’re a fucking idiot’ and have your opinion, you have also got to let others have the stage” Barney explains. “ I struggle to get on board with that though,” Luke proceeds. “The example I always use was when VANT was like- ‘everyone that voted leave, fuck off out of our Glastonbury tent’. I find that such a damaging point of view because it is saying that their idea of getting people on your side, is to surround yourself with people that only agree with you. I think that’s fucking stupid, I just find it pathetic to be honest.”
When discussing the topic of current affairs, Luke proceeds with his views, “I mean the whole Brexit thing, I thought both parties should have been ashamed by the way they did it” Barney agrees by adding, “The same applies for Trump and Hilary just more drastic”. The conversation swiftly moves onto the American election, with Luke taking the lead, “I think Clinton was the worst candidate to be put up against him. I think the main reason Trump got in was because Clinton comes across as very robotic and almost machine like. Trump fucking stood up there like a cartoon character.”
“Fuck me Trump is president. What state of the world are we in? I find it depressing to even talk about it really”
After keeping quiet and earlier stating he was “building up to something very profound”, bassist Jake brings the lightness of humour to our deep discussion. “If you had a transcript of what he [Trump] actually says, there would be about four words”. Barney adds, “Fair play though, he did learn the words”. Our relentless giggles start to become apparent. “It is just utterly stupid. Absolutely mind boggling.”
On the subject of political lyrics, interestingly these guys have chosen to keep their music separate from their strong political beliefs. If their music was a way for them to spread their views and thoughts would it be a good idea? In response Luke says, “Not really. I mean I like talking about politics and social stuff but only some of it comes across in my music. I think our anger, frustration and sometimes misery I guess comes across in our music, but the bands I have always loved gives you that feeling. It’s not directly said to you, you get it through the music”. “It’s all down to expression” Barney emphasises. In agreement Jake adds, “There has got to be a space in music where it isn’t political. Just a place where you can go and get lost away from it all.”