The best live band around now, no doubt of that, False Heads are an insanely riotous raucous three piece heading up a revolution in what DIY post punk guitar rock really is. Luke’s snarly spitting vocals are harsh and raw, and his riffs are insane, particularly the solo riffs in Retina and Slew. The thrashing aggression from Jake’s bass guitar and Barney’s drumming sets the tone for a rough, gritty punk edge, and all their tracks are packed with this abrasive grit. Lyrically punchy and focused on nuances, Luke Griffiths is genius in his lyricism. Witnessing the three piece live is always an experience and a half, and if you crave a dose of real punk then look no further than East London’s finest.
“Fuck it, we’re gonna be the biggest band in the world”
Made up of Luke (lead vocals and guitar), Barney (drums) and Jake (bass guitar), False Heads are a force and a half to be reckoned with, taking this year by storm and striding into 2018 with an impeccable reputation. The last twelve months have seen the three piece perform at the UK’s top festivals, play a series of sold out gigs and tours, work with the biggest names in the rock industry (like This Feeling, Radio X, Pirate Studios and more), as well as release the Gutter Press EP and formulate a selection of killer new tracks like Yellow, Fall Around, and Retina. Striding into 2018 with nothing to lose and a domination of the underground post punk rock scene to gain, I caught up with the band last week in Hoxton, a drunk interview at its best.
So tell me about this year so far
Barney: It started in January…shortly after that came February
Jake: It was a good start to the year, we played a gig at the Tooting Tram & Social where our now manager saw us for the first time, so that was the start of a beautiful relationship, and then after that we went back into the studio, recorded Retina and Remedy and around that time we released Gutter Press…this is very dry, very chronological
Luke: We put Gutter Press out which was well received, it was great it was brilliant
Jake: You know that feeling on the first day of spring, after winter, it was a feeling like that, our bones were a bit lighter
Luke: well we were embroiled in some legal complications… Gary was a good bloke and we appreciated what he did for us but the other two people involved were weasels, and were slimy and shouldn’t even be in the music industry- but now we’re free and talking to some big record labels, Retina’s coming out soon so yay
Barney: We now have a soon to be limited company too, it’s called Riff Factory Limited. We are also the Riff Factory Unlimited…
Jake: No we’re limited
Barney: But we have unlimited riffs
One thing that would stand out for me would be the festivals you played, Y Not, Reading, Isle of Wight and so on. Tell me about that
Barney: So started with Isle of Wight that was really good fun, it was a good vibe we enjoyed it. Reading was weird though, we got chucked out
Luke: Isle of Wight was my favourite, I thought that was definitely the best festival
Barney: Most of them were good fun though
Jake: Yeah they were all really good fun
And what’s been your favourite gig that you’ve played this year?
Luke: Isle of Wight festival, or Nambucca on our This Feeling tour. Oh no shit sorry, ULU, completely forgot about that, yeah ULU Peaceful Noise any day of the week
Jake: Isle of Wight for the festivals, Peaceful Noise was amazing, but 229 supporting Trampolene was a really good gig
Barney: ULU by a mile- (upon interruption by Luke) fucks sake I’m doing an interview
Luke: Yeah I’m taking over, so what did you like about it?
Barney: You know what, I feel we should never play a venue different to that, like now we’ve done that I don’t wanna look back from that, I’m sick of playing small venues, fuck it we’re gonna be the biggest band in the world
Luke: Well said
Who’s been your favourite discovery of the year?
Luke: Strange Bones
Jake: Strange Bones and We Are Parkas
And moving on from that, who’d be your top bands to watch in 2018?
Barney: False Heads, False Heads…
Luke: Heads of False
Jake: Calva Louise
Barney: In terms of bands to watch is this to watch ‘cause they’re gonna be big or just go and see this band?
Luke: Ohh God this is excruciating I’m moving on
Jake: I’d say Calva Louise, Strange Bones, The Americas, me and Luke’s untitled acoustic spin away from this cretin over here that’s gonna be really good, Griffiths and Elliott, it’s gonna be beautiful
Luke: The “No Nashes”
Jake: (laughs) yeah the No Nashes
Luke: Mine is Strange Bones, The Blinders, Calva Louise, BREED and We Are Parkas
What’s been your favourite release this year, so album, EP, single etc?
Luke: that’s a good question actually
Jake: The National, Sleep Well Beast is fucking great I really like that
Barney: LCD Sound System
Jake: ooh that’s fucking brilliant as well
Barney: thank you, Thundercat Drunk is really good
Luke: I don’t really know, what’s come out this year? It’s all good stuff
Gig wise, what’s on your setlist right now?
Jake: Starts with Fall Around, then Twentynothing then Yellow– not the Coldplay song…sometimes the Coldplay song- then Remedy…
Luke: then Slew, Retina, Weigh In and Wrap Up. And there’ll be a new one in there
Barney: Yeah we’ve got new tracks on the rise
And what’s your favourite track to play live?
Barney: I kind of don’t like playing any of them to an extent
Me: yeah that wasn’t really the question
Barney: nah I don’t know why though, why is that?
Luke: ‘cause you’re a freak of nature that’s why
Barney: we’ve played them so many times I dunno
Luke: at the moment it’s Yellow for me
Ok so tell me about your upcoming single Retina
“It was kind of about manoeuvring your way through your own mind”
Barney: it was initially called the ‘Slaves-y one’ ‘cause the riff is a complete rip off of Slaves
Luke: but so much better
Barney: it kind of just developed, Luke was playing it and we got a riff, and I jammed a bit with Jake and it was like ‘shit we’ve got the verse, all it needs now is like a pre-chorus,’ and that was really easy to play ‘cause I just did what was being implied by the chorus and yeah that was it
Jake: Yeah, what Barney said pretty much
Luke: the lyrics are sort of trippy weird mental stuff
Me: what inspired it?
Luke: an acid trip, it was kinda like an acid trip to be fair that inspired the lyrics and it went from there. Which is a really shit answer but yeah that was kind of the start of it, it was kind of about manoeuvring your way through your own mind
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Jake: I’ve been on a Leonard Cohen hype for about six months,
Me: ahh yeah You Want It Darker, it’s so good
Jake: so fucking good man yeah that album is brilliant, Treaty on that, and Steer Your Way when the violins come in in that chorus, beautiful. But I’ve recently moved into a new place and we’ve got a record player in the living room now, and Anna my housemate’s got all the old Beatles records and I’ve just been listening to like classic Beatles, like you forget how good the stuff before Revolver and Rubber Soul is, just like the pop stuff
Barney: Slint Spiderland was the last record I bought, fucking really amazing record, been spinning the Flying Lotus record a lot too, the one with the fucking thing on the front, and Jon Hopkins as well is getting a lot of spin time
Luke: Dylan, been listening to a bit more Bob Dylan recently, yeah to be honest I haven’t really sat down and listened to much recently though
What’s the best gig you’ve been to this year?
Luke: to be honest it’s probably a Peaceful Noise, watching it, seeing Josh Homme in that environment was pretty special, and it was a great event
Jake: we were at Manchester Off The Record and we got recommended a band called Queen Zee & The Sasstones, they were fucking brilliant
Barney: on record, it’s a bit sketchy but live they’re fucking sick
Jake: it’s punky as fuck, it’s loud, aggressive, energetic
And finally, what can your fans look forward to in 2018?
Luke: Retina’s coming out, tour, European tour (thank fuck finally), festivals. All good in the hood
Jake: World dominationnnnn
Barney: We’ve got our show on the 23rd at Nambucca, classic Christmas party, everyone down Nambucca getting really fucked up, a white Christmas everyone loves snow, so yeah come down
You heard him; False Heads play 229 tomorrow (22nd) & Nambucca Saturday night (23rd). 2018 is going to go OFF for these lads, so get them on your radar now
False Heads feature on the cover of Some Might Say Zine Issue Two; buy a limited edition print copy here