False Heads release outrageous new post-punk EP "Less is Better"

Photo Credit: Alex Hurst

To follow up on a barrage of festival dates and a summer of gaining even more fans across the UK and further beyond, London based False Heads have just kicked off their tour taking their explosion of post-punk goodness out on the road in support of their upcoming “Less Is Better” EP released through These Bloody Thieves and Cargo Records on Friday 21st September. The trio will be on tour throughout this month and October, with extended dates around the UK, Europe and beyond. It’s All Indie wanted to catch up with the trio’s frontman Luke Griffiths to get the latest. 

How excited are you about the release of False Heads’ brand new EP Less Is Better?

"We have had a pretty rough time over the last couple of years in terms of the people around us but we finally have an amazing team to push what I think is our best EP and material to date. I am extremely excited, the reaction behind the scenes to the songs have been amazing so I can't wait to actually push the tracks out there into the public. We think it is the best thing we have done as well, so we are buzzing. The labels and our management, just finally worked out.

Been keeping an eye out on the range of coverage you have been getting. From an outsider’s perspective it is special to witness how the interest in False Heads is on a constant rise. But how do things look from your own point of view?

"It is an odd beast really, it is all surreal at first, and you sit and think about some of the stuff, like emailing Iggy Pop or whatever it still is a bit surreal, but you kind of get used to it because I always believed if we worked hard enough as a band and we put everything into it, big things would happen, and it is only just starting really, we haven't even put an album out."

"We work very hard and have worked very hard and the more interest we get, we feel like we have worked for it. Having said that, without amazing people that write about us and support us and tell their friends, our rising profile wouldn't be happening and we make sure that are always thankful to those people. I just get excited really, the more it grows and the more people that get exposed to our music and come to see us live, the better it is."

Hand on heart, do you feel False Heads are where they ought to be? What indicators do you use for assessing the level of your success and achievements?

"I think we are on the right path now and we deserve as much as we put in and as much as care, which is everything. It is difficult to answer without sounding conceited. I find it frustrating when a band is plastered everywhere and I think their music is just total garbage but they have the machine behind them, but they rarely last, for the most part, and they get further along, but there is not much you can do about it. I think we deserve to be a successful band, yes. We work hard and we are meticulous about our songs and what we put out and we give everything we have and I think people are responding to that."

What do you consider to be the single biggest thing that could transform things for the band and make things even better? Equally, what do you feel is working better than you or anyone could have predicted?

"That is a ridiculously good question, we have never been asked that. The most obvious thing that people would say that would transform you as a band is a huge wad of cash, but anyone with a brain knows that does not always work out, there have been terrible acts with huge budgets that have made it and they have been great bands with huge budgets that didn't reach that level, and then there is bands that were so ahead of their time it took the public ten years or so to realise how important they were so it is not an obvious answer, how many 'saviours of rock 'n' roll' have we seen over the last ten years? Signed to a major, given loads of money and nothing has really properly happened? Danny Fields said it best when he said the best promotion you can get is word of mouth."

"Everything has to line up perfectly for a massive transformation for a band I think. However, that grassroots, word of mouth, 'you have to listen/go and see this band' is where I think personally things really start to transform for a band, and it does feel like that is beginning to happen for us. A huge wad of cash would obviously go down a storm as well. Cash would make our lives easier and help us not worry about certain things but a major buzz of word of mouth is what I think transforms artists from one thing one day to being on another level the next, because everything follows after that anyway, radio, press, TV etc, everything that you can buy and labels do, will follow if you have that buzz of word of mouth."

Less Is More is a significant step up from any previous False Heads releases and your debut EP;

How did you go about selecting the tracks? 

Thank you very much, yes we did think through quite thoroughly. We did about ten demos of songs with Jonathan Hucks and we basically sort of decided a few that would go on the album, a few that still need work and what should be selected for the EP and the singles off the EP, we just listened thoroughly together and we have our management and Jonathan actually and it sort of just fell in naturally."

How did you go about achieving such an incredible consistency in sound?

"Working with Jonathan is a big part of this but also we are at a point now where tone-wise we know what we want and how to get it. My Fender supersonic amp plays a large part in my guitar tone and also we work on sounds before we go into the studio and whilst we are there to get the sound that consistency in sound. Less Is Better is a step up production-wise from Gutter Press, it is just gotta a slighter bigger sound and also it is got bigger guitars, bigger drums and bigger bass which is good, Gutter Press was a bit more of a garage sound (still sounded awesome) but us and Jonathan wanted Less in Better to feel slightly bigger."

Jonathan Hucks is a really good producer would you say the work differed from to track to track? Retina sounds different to the original version, was there a plan to change it? What were the most rewarding and challenging aspects of the recording process?

"Jonathan is a really good producer, one of the best around at the minute. He saw us live a few years back now, at very early doors and he had just started working at Grand Cru Studio and he was extremely passionate about our band and we just clicked and it went from there really. The work doesn't really differ track by track if I am honest. We will send Jonathan a rough version of the song, or he will come to rehearsal and record it on his phone or laptop, get some ideas pre-production, we will have a chat and if the song is ready we go in and record."

"But thinking about it, this time around though, the drums were recorded at Grand Cru after we picked what songs we wanted from the demos and the guitars and bass were done at this little studio near Stansted and we just got such a huge and beautiful capture of the tone, just how it sounded in mine and Jake's head that I would love to use that studio more often for guitars and bass or overdubbing and we did vocals at Jonathan's house. He can make something sound good from anywhere, and that is the truth, and that is when you know someone is a good producer."

"We wanted Retina to fit in with the EP but to be honest I think the first version sounds massive and is closer to Less is Better than Gutter Press but we had to have another version anyway for irritating reasons that I won't go into because I will just annoy myself. But we thought it will give us an opportunity to change it a little bit and add a few extra layers in, Barney came up with that cool weird spacey guitar bit at the end to just layer it and yes we could just experiment it on because we knew it inside out."

Photo Credit: Jon Mo / @jonmophotography

"I think recording is at it is most rewarding when you hear it back and it is just how you imagined it in your head, because it can be a long process involving arguments and disagreements because you are all so passionate about it, the amount of times I have looked over at Jonathan just laughing because we are bickering over a chorus pedal or whatever but then getting it back and it sounding like the sound in your head is what it is all about and then not being able to wait until everyone can hear it."

"The most challenging can be, just getting it right, some vocal parts, being unsure when you hear a guitar part back even though everyone was completely convinced of it in rehearsal and pre-production, it can be tiresome when it just isn't working and you just have to leave it for a bit and come back to it. Some songs we had to come back to it after the demos in rehearsal and re-work, but it is always worth it to get it exactly how you want it to sound."

In what way has the work on Less Is Better strengthened your working relationship with Jonathan?

"He helped us out majorly on a nothing budget and did us a lot of favours this time around, we were talking to different record labels but we weren't sure what we were going to do so we wanted to do it ourselves and then make a decision and we ended up making a huge sounding EP. So it is just showed how good Jonathan is and how good we work together even more. It is excellent stuff. And it is definitely strengthened our relationship even more."

There is an amazing live sound to Wrap Up, how did you go about capturing that?

"We knew it had to have that energy because of its place in the set and normally the carnage that follows the song live, so we knew we had to get close to it, we worked on the tone, there is a lot of my pedal 'the Muffroom Cloud' on that and some octave pedals layered into it, which is basically what I do live. Jake's bass has some distortion and chorus on it to fatten it up and Barney just did his thing to make the drums sound like controlled chaos and Jonathan and an unsung hero - Terry from Tonalex Mastering - brought it to life and I mean when we got the masters back and I played them in my car, it felt like it was live. It just came together really, but we did know we had to get Wrap Up right, that we had to bring that live energy to the record and hopefully we pulled it off!"

Management, press and recordings all seems to be going well but what do you still want to achieve? Are you a step closer to appointing an agent and a live sound engineer?

"All that stuff is rolling and I imagine they will be some announcements soon. We want our music to reach as many people as possible, that is what we want to achieve and maybe make a kid pick up a guitar, bass or start playing drums and make a band. Or help someone through some bad times or just get them into music. But I won't lie, I want us to take it as far as we can and make the best possible music we can and for it to spread as far as it can."

You have just embarked on a big tour; are you taking a different approach to your setlists? How do high profile sets such as InMusic give the band something new and how do you intend to develop your live shows in the future?

"Doing high profile sets like InMusic is experience you just can't buy and any band that wants to take it to the end of the line and make it as big as it can be will have to play a show like that, on a stage that size opening for a band the size of Queens of the Stone age. It has helped immensely, knowing we can do it on the size is very affirming to what you do and helps you look to future sets. Also, playing a set like InMusic, you can gauge the difference in each show or festival and adapt to it if you need to. For the tour, we are taking pretty much the same approach but there is four new songs in the set and it is still going to be the same high energy, high intensity that it always is. We want every show to be just as explosive as the last."

Click here to access Less is Better

Tour dates

6th – Galway / Roisin Dubh
7th – Dublin / Whelan’s
13th – Brighton / Sticky Mikes
14th – Stockton / KU
15th – Blackpool / Bootleg Social
16th – Glasgow / Classic Grand
17th – Leeds / Hyde Park Book Club

18th – Hull / New Adelphi Club
19th – Bishops Stortford / Half Moon
21st – Liverpool / EBGBS
22nd – Stoke / The Underground

27th – Sheffield / Record Junkee
28th – Manchester / Jimmy’s
29th – Preston / The Ferrett

3rd – Nottingham / Chameleon Arts CafĂ©
4th – Cambridge / The Blue Moon
5th – London / Dingwalls (EP Launch Gig)
6th – Southampton / Heartbreakers
11th – Cardiff / The Moon
12th – Bristol / Mother’s Ruin
25th – Amsterdam / Venue TBC
26th – Paris / Le Truskel
27th – Hamburg / Molotow Musik Club