PHOTOGRAPHY Ben Mcquaide
WORDS Julian de la Celle
False Heads have had a pretty exciting 2016: they've signed to Libertine's drummer Gary Powell's record label, had a shout out from the king of Rock 'n' Roll Iggy Pop "These kids make a lot of noise, I like it!" and has the support of famed manager Danny Field (The Ramones, Iggy Pop, etc). They're a band with drive and passion and they're pushing themselves to be the best they can be and it shows. Live frontman Luke Griffiths is a beast. He commands the stage with confidence and can either be seen crouched down on the ground singing into a fallen microphone or on top of the tallest speaker in the venue - "I always like climbing on something or other. Gets a bit boring being stage level for a whole show." Look out for these guys in 2017 because I think we'll be seeing/hearing a lot more where that came from.
FOXES Magazine: So tell me a little bit about how you all met each other and what made you decide to start False Heads.
Luke Griffiths: Well I’d had the name False Heads since I was about 15 and I knew that was the name I wanted my band to be called. Jake, Barney and I were friends at school. Jake and I used to jam on Pixies, Muse, Nirvana, Radiohead tunes and did a bit of writing together but then we all went off to Uni. I tried to get a band working and nothing came out of it, unfortunately. Then I came back home and Jake joined, then I called up Barney pissed out of my skull and asked him to join - he’d literally just moved back from Bristol, so it just fucking fell into place perfectly. That was about a little over a year ago.
FOXES: Had any of you been in bands before this?
Luke: I’ve been in loads of different line-ups trying to make it work before False Heads. Barney and Jake were in a band called the FiftyFours at school. Barney has been in loads of different bands and projects. Jake was in a band at Uni as well. So we’ve all been in and out of bands before it all cemented with False Heads.
FOXES: You’ve had some big names take interest in you already (Iggy Pop, Gary Powell) how did those come about and when did Gary sign you to his label?
Luke: Gary and his partner Wayne Clarke signed us in September of last year. That came about from me just sending demos into record labels really [laughs], the old school, boring way. We had some interest from some indies and we played a showcase for 25 Hour and then they signed us about a month later. Iggy Pop is the most surreal, that came about when the legend that is Danny Fields (who managed the Ramones, Iggy, Jim Morrison etc) came to see a band we were playing with and we blew him away and became good friends with him. He sent our stuff to some of his friends from back in the day, one of which being Iggy who took a massive shine to us and has played a lot of our stuff on his show and said alongside Skepta and Sleaford Mods we were one of his favourite acts at the minute. What a fucking legend. I’m a huge Iggy and the Stooges fan so yeah it’s fucking awesome. I hope we can support him one day.
FOXES: That's wild! If you had to choose one record that inspired you the most, what would it be?
Luke: Majorly cliché, but I don’t give a fuck it’s an incredible album. Nevermind by Nirvana. It just made me want to immerse myself in everything. New music, films, books, TV series' and made me want to write songs straight away. I think teenagers miss that from the pop culture icons that they have presented today. I mean, I was not inspired by Kurt Cobain's fame or money, I was inspired by how his music made me feel, his songwriting, his intelligence, his anger, vulnerability, sensitivity and most importantly it made me want to make something that could inspire that in someone else. After Nirvana, that came with Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Sex Pistols, Bob Dylan, the Beatles etc but it’s all blood from the same vein. I just struggle to believe you can get that sort of feeling from cunts like the 1975, One Direction, Just Bieber, Bastille, Taylor Swift... to me it seems the only thing people would want to take from them as artists is their fame and money, which I don’t think is a good thing. Wanting to be rich and famous for the sake of being rich and famous is such a fucking vapid, dead behind the eyes idea that seems to be the prevailing idea in our culture. I think it leads to people lining up outside a fucking nightclub in Essex to get a glimpse of the useless cunts from some pile of wank reality TV show. Hang them all, man.
FOXES: What has been your favorite gig of 2016? I was at that Water Rats one in November, you stage dived and stood on a huge speaker, looked like you were having a blast!
Luke: The Water Rats was probably my favorite, to be honest. Big up to Mikey and This Feeling for that, and Trampolene, they were really nice guys. Yeah, I was having a blast, I always like climbing on something or other. Get’s a bit boring being stage level for a whole show. When I climb on something I get to experience what it’s like to be Joe Hasted. Camden Rocks Festival was up there, playing to a crammed room at 12PM is always a nice ego boost. The main stage at Roundhouse was also up there for the sheer awesome factor of it. Our show at Birthdays, big up to Mark and Scruff of the Neck, (fuck me, I sound like a DJ on Radio 1 Xtra) was also a banger. We needed that as well after playing an abysmal gig in Margate the night before. The Black Heart in Camden was also an absolute banger as well. Any of those ones [laughs].
FOXES: [laughs] Do you remember the first gig you ever went to?
Luke: First gig I ever went to where I actually watched bands that I wanted to see I imagine was Reading Festival - I saw Muse and they played the whole of the Origin of Symmetry album which was fucking quality to be fair. I saw Pulp and The Strokes as well. When I was a kid I was into like Eminem so I wasn't really gonna get the chance to see him and then most bands I got into when I was 15/16 had a dead member in them [laughs] so the chance of seeing them was pretty slim as well.
FOXES: Where do you draw your biggest inspirations for songwriting?
Luke: Musically, I guess it came from anywhere and anything I’m listening to. Like there is a softer side to False Heads, acoustic songs and slower songs and I think even in the heavy stuff, the melodies still stand out. But I guess it’s a mix of bands like Nirvana, Pixies mixed with a bit of The Clash, The Buzzcocks with some Rage Against the Machine riffs thrown in at times some Elliott Smith vocal lines, that’s pretty convoluted but I think it comes out quite fresh. I mean there are obvious influences in our music but a lot of people have struggled to pin down what genre we are. We get people coming to the shows after saying they wouldn’t really know what genre to put us in, which is nice. Some girls said we were ‘hardcore indie’ which I quite liked [laugh]. Lyrically a mix of me being genuinely pissed off at something and self depreciating is normally my winning formula.
FOXES: What are your goals for 2017 then? Any bands you’d be stoked to share a bill with?
Luke: Well, we’re currently planning our tour plans in the UK and Europe. We have an EP and new single to put out as soon as 2017 hits so really we’re gunna hit the ground running. Big bands? Queens of the Stoneage, Iggy Pop and Radiohead (we can dream) Small bands? Calva Louise are easily the best small band around at the moment. We’re luckily good friends with them so we’ve shared the bill with them a few times now but they are the dogs fucking bollocks.