Hello dear readers!
Today`s blog is very important as we wanted to conduct this interview for a very long time. It has been a privilege to watch this very special London-based band grow for nearly two years. Things are looking really bright for the trio these days: they got signed to These Bloody Thieves Records, on September 6th they will embark on a 23- dates tour across Ireland, UK, France, Netherlands and Germany. September 21st will see digital release of their new EP “Less is Better”, while physical debut will take place on October 5th at their home coming gig at Dingwalls in London. Without further delay – please welcome False Heads to our humble blog. On the eve of the release of their new single “Yellow”, we sat down with their lead singer Luke Griffiths to talk about the music, Iggy Pop and their upcoming tour.
Barney Nash (vocals, drums)
Luke Griffiths (vocals, guitar)
Jake Elliott (bass)
Official bio: Hailing from the outskirts of East London, False Heads formed in 2016. Behind the energy of their live shows, the trio quickly thrust themselves into punk-rock limelight, catching the attention of Punk’n’Roll legend Iggy Pop, ex-Ramones manager Danny Fields and music taste maker Rodney Bingenheimer. Having quickly graduated from playing empty rooms in London to supporting The Libertines on a sold-out tour, the buzz around the young band is undeniable. False Heads are Barney Nash (vocals & drums), Luke Griffiths (vocals & guitar) and Jake Elliott (bass).
You have been making a name for yourselves on the indie circuit since 2015 yet we still wonder, who are False Heads? Would you be so kind and introduce band members to the good citizens of West Midlands.
Luke Griffiths: I’m Luke and I sing and play guitar. Jake plays bass and Barney plays drums and sings as well. Thank you good citizens of West Midlands.
You chose an interesting name for the band. The term “False Head” has several meanings rooted in the theory of communication, journalism and psychology. Our favourite definitions include an informal name for the news caster or a political TV commentator coined in the 1950’s; a social mask worn by an individual hiding their true feelings and an incorrect belief in one’s superiority based on an economic or class advantages (so called “False Head” start). So where does your name really come from?
Luke Griffiths: That’s pretty fucking awesome, that you’ve got that from the name and I always thought it was evocative. Originally, I just misread “False Hood” on a list of names scribbled down and I thought I’d written “False Heads”. I just got an image of all the people I despised from where I grew up – the fake, benign, mediocre, sleep walk through life type then die whilst mocking and turning their nose up at anyone different or creative type moron. I also got the image of irritating “talking heads” on TV of politicians spouting the same drivel they’d had written for them by the same script writer. So, it just conjured up a lot of different things for me. The name seems to be more relevant now, people are carbon copies of each other and base their belief system on what they think won’t get them in trouble. It’s nonsense.
You have been championed heavily by punk rock icon, Iggy Pop himself. He has played your songs on his show on BBC 6 Music. How does it feel to have his backing? It surely seems to be a dream come true.
Luke Griffiths: Yeah, “Raw Power” was and is one of my favourite punk albums. Iggy was a huge inspiration for me and emailing him is slightly bizarre. Him naming us as one of his favourite bands in the UK was crazy. It’s an amazing honour. He’s an incredible person and he still gives a shit about new bands.
Iggy Pop is not the only radio personality who gave you an outstanding review on air. We could mention several others such as John Kennedy of Radio X, Steve Lamacq of BBC 6 Music or Hew Stephens from BBC 1. Do you feel you are on the right track to the rock and roll greatness?
Luke Griffiths: (laughing) I guess so, but I try not to think about it too much. We just try and write the best songs we possibly can and put on a great show. But all of those people, those huge names, we are extremely grateful for the support from them.
You also won a die hard fan on the other side of the Pond in form of senior KRCQ and Sirius FM DJ, Rodney Bingenheimer (and an owner of his own star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame!) Rodney expressed sentiment that you are Nirvana-reborn and the best British act that came out of London scene in the last decade. Are you off to conquer the olde US of A anytime soon?
Luke Griffiths: Yes! Another mad surreal one! He’s a living legend, he helped break bands in America and says things like that about us. It’s crazy. He’s another one we need to thank. There’s been some initial conversations about it, yes but we will see.
Tell us more about your beginnings. You met at the secondary school in Upminster and you played in several bands before separating to attend university. Do you still remember the names of the early projects you were involved in? Did they have any influence on your current sound?
Luke Griffiths: We were all born in East London and then moved out to Upminster which is like half East London, half Essex. Just an odd place, really. Barney and Jake were in a band called FiftyFours and I always operated under the name False Heads. I just could never get a proper band going (laughing)! It was extremely frustrating for me, but gave me a lot of time to write until the band finally did happen. I wouldn’t say there’s much influence from those early days, although I did write the “Twentynothing” riff when I was 15. Although, the chemistry between us comes from school. I think Jake and Barney being in the same band helped the chemistry between them and Barney recorded some demos for me to go to uni with to try and make a band, so it was probably inevitable!
False Heads has been going on for three years now and from the start, you have received a strong support from audience and other bands from the capitol circuit. in November 2015, you played a memorable gig at The Black Heart in Camden and you attracted the attention of Danny Fields, the former manager of The Ramones. He became your mentor and a friend. We are sure you have learnt a great deal from him.
Luke Griffiths: Yes, we’ve learnt so much from him, so much. He’s done so much for us, we’re so grateful for what he has done for us. The advice he gave and honestly it is so true. He said to get a lawyer or someone to help you deal with contracts and dealings at the very least (who knows about law). The stories that guy tells us over a few drinks are unbelievable and his company is brilliant. He can outwit anyone, trust me – do not try and mug him off (laughing). A truly wonderful human being.
Your new EP “Less is Better” will be released very shortly. Tell us more about it. How many songs can we expect on the EP? Where did you record it and who’s producing?
Luke Griffiths: It was recorded and produced by the wizard named Jonathan Hucks and mastered by Tonalex (who are also incredible). Jonny is like our Nigel Godrich at the moment. There’s four tracks on the EP. It was recorded very DIY, sort of all over the joint – some in his room, some in a little studio near Stanstead and some in the epic Grand Cru Studios. It’s a follow on from our first release, “Gutter Press”. The themes and things I wrote about on that have only got worse. The echo chamber, social media culture is extremely damaging. We’re completely fine with censorship, we can’t tell the difference between a joke and a bigot. We have created an environment where people are scared to say what they think, then we wondered how such fucking awful things like Brexit and Trump happened? But at times, it’s also more personal than “Gutter Press”. “Retina” sort of came about from an acid trip, but every song has a few different themes going on. It’s difficult to just pin point one and I also don’t want to sound like a broken record (laughing). It’s a scary world we live in man and the hope shrinks every day, without sounding too bleak. The cover art for me was like there’s this beautiful open blue sky/colour/whatever you want to think it is and there’s so much space there for discourse. Life and building relationships and changing peoples minds yet we’re just sucked into this horrible black hole or echo chamber and people are scared to step out of it, even though it’s much more beautiful.
You also have a brand new label, These Bloody Thieves Records so congratulations are in order! We are interested to hear how your co-operation started.
Luke Griffiths: Thank you! Rob Hirst, the owner, is an incredible guy. He has been a big supporter of us for a long time. He spoke to our manager, Cargo Records, got involved and we built an amazing team around us. It’s all gravy. Rob deserves some serious credit. He is an amazing bloke with an amazing work ethic.
This Autumn we will have a chance to see you on your first European tour. You will be playing UK, Ireland, Germany and France. Are you excited?
Luke Griffiths: Well, our first European tour was early on this year. Sorry to be pedantic (laughing)! We haven’t played in Ireland or Germany before yet and we cannot wait. We played France and Belgium on our last tour and played Rock Olmen Festival and InMusic Festival in Croatia. Europe is amazing for bands so we can’t wait to get back. And we fucking love Guinness so can’t wait for Ireland either. Whelans in Dublin is so iconic as well. All amazing stuff, really!
The famous last question and this is going to be hard! Name a song you wish you have written that was released in the last 12 months.
Luke Griffiths : “Blind Faith No Future” by Strange Bones
After speaking to Luke and hearing the praise for their new record label, we decided to approach Rob Hirst himself and ask him few questions as well. We didn’t think he would agree to do it, but he was more than happy to speak to us. This way, instead of just one interview, we got two! And that’s why we absolutely adore the DIY scene. Musicians, record label people, PR teams, fans – they are out there for each other. It is more than just everyday kindness. This is a genuine friendship, a true interest, that can only come from those who really care. People are taking care of one another, they look out for others, they participate and support. It is amazing to see it happen! As our good friend keeps saying: “What a time to be alive!”. We at Vanadian Avenue, are extremely privileged to be a part of that movement.
But coming back to Rob and his record label. This is what he said:
Rob, your dream is coming true. You are now an owner of an independent record label! Can you tell us more about These Bloody Thieves Record. Is there any rock and roll history behind its name?
Rob Hirst: The name of the label was actually the name of the very last band I was in. A very short-lived band that I believe was the best I was in and certainly the best band name I had come up with. I just thought it would be a good way for me to continue my past into the future and I couldn’t be bothered with spending hours of thinking of a label name and branding.
How did you set it up?
Rob Hirst: As you know I already work with bands & my Spotify playlist gets hundreds of submissions a month. I was scouting for other management companies and labels. I just woke up one morning and just thought ‘I’m going to start my our label’ and I did (laughing)! I must admit I have been very fortunate with the support I have had around me, especially coming from Rich (False Heads manager) & Ditto Music.
False Heads are your first release. How did you convince them to join you?
Rob Hirst: They approached me. I’ve known the band for a while and I’m a huge supporter. As soon as they asked I knew I had a label & a solid foundation to show that this label is serious. What a band for a first release.
Besides “Less is Better” EP, do you plan any other future releases linked to False Heads?
Rob Hirst: Er! Really, everything has gone into this release. The band has a great team around them and at the moment it’s all about this release. I’m sure there will be as the band have been in the studio with legendary producer Jonathan Hucks and have a bank of unreleased material in their locker. It’s very exciting times! False Heads have nowhere near reached their potential as a band. Pretty exciting really when you consider how great this EP is.
Are you accepting submissions from an unsigned acts? If so, what are you looking for?
Rob Hirst: I am always searching and always accepting submissions. It’s one of the most exciting aspects of running a label. Nothing better that discovering a band that you instantly gravitate towards and fall in love with everything about them. I don’t have specifics for what I’m looking for. I don’t really know until it comes along and slaps me in the face and says to me ‘Here I am, love me’. The label has a couple of other acts on the radar, one close to signing who I have been following for the last four months and a single deal out next month that is due for announcement anytime now.
You can follow False Heads and These Bloody Thieves Record on social media:
These Bloody Thieves Record
Thank you Luke and thank you Rob for speaking to us! This week is fantastic for so many great new bands and we are happy to be able to witness the revolution in popular music. False Heads will release their new single entitled “Yellow” this Friday, so please come back as we will have a full review for you to enjoy.
Until then, we bid you farewell.
Keep on rocking in the free world and make sure you listen to your vinyls/cds/digital albums loud. Very, very loud.
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz