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“Punk in 2018 is angry, disillusioned, isolated and almost desperate. A lot of it is directed towards the ‘system’ because of the isolation people feel towards the government.” False Heads’ frontman Luke is eloquently breaking down just why things feel so bad right now: “And the ‘divide and conquer’ nonsense that the media so blatantly does. It’s fucked.”

Luckily, bands like his own and others are in an excellent position to discuss these issues, although their methods can be suspect: “Some plaster it all over social media. I don’t know how helpful that is personally. I think social media is a pretty sickening melting point of authoritarianism with opinions of no consequence and re-enforces that censorship is okay… Fuck writing an essay on Facebook! Write a song, write an article or debate people. Music does this for so many people, especially punk or alternative.”

Music, in his perspective and our own, should have substance and provide a feeling, but too many bands lack this: “The Sherlocks – they need to be wiped off the face of the earth. It’s that mediocre, emotionless, useless music that’s no good to anyone.” But can challenging music exist within the mainstream? “I want to be in a successful band – I wouldn’t ever shy away from that – I want to also keep my principles intact. Whether I can do both… well, I guess we will see.”

Luke has a similar ambivalence about the idea of ‘selling out’, whether through clothes sponsorships or featuring their music on mainstream television: “Selling out to me is getting someone else in to change your vision because it would suit a market better or be easier to round up the sheep and feed it to them… Lias from Fat White Family said it best by saying you can’t complain about a band you like having their song in adverts when you stopped paying for their music. Well, I agree with this, as the world has changed and this is our life and career.”

Such opinions aren’t always popular – “If people get offended to a point where they want to hurt me, don’t want to listen to my music or ostracise me then that’s their problem.” – but Luke’s got no problem discussing and debating his views, especially on religion: “Organised religion is the hub of bad ideas. It’s a master-slave relationship with a complete authoritarian being that you have to follow, worship and love – while fearing him.” He doesn’t believe religion should be a system without criticism or debate: “Being critical of a belief system and being critical of an individual is not the same thing; it has been conflated, and that is very very scary. Some good people are Christians, Muslims and Jews, but that doesn’t fucking mean that I have to respect their whole belief system. That’s just utterly mental.”

The same goes for politics. In an interview, Luke discussed Jeremy Corbyn and was accused of acting like a Tory: “I would never fucking vote Tory in my life! I voted for Corbyn, but I said that just like any politician he should be open to being criticised, especially by those who support him.” Politics has fallen into an almost religious aspect, Luke feels, whereby even the mainstream media are breaking down and dividing people: “Brexit is a perfect example. All the sheep follow suit.”

 

 

It’s no surprise then that the band instil these vociferous qualities into their music in the hope their fans too can channel their passion: “I want them to feel like they can think for themselves and be critical of everything, yet also lose themselves. Even maybe inspire them to follow what they want to do in life.”

False Heads are very clear on what they stand for, exuding individualism and ensuring they are meticulous in all material they put out for fans. The band understand the importance music plays in helping people to form an identity and certainly step up to the plate in working hard to produce music that is relatable to both the younger and older generation. Luke doesn’t believe that mainstream media encourages people to form their own identity, the role that music played for him. However, he doesn’t despair as he sees youngsters coming to the shows, rejecting mainstream music and seeking just that connection: “They are desperate for a band to represent them on a cultural level. They just need to be galvanised.”

He notes that the mislabelling of music outside of the mainstream doesn’t help in creating an audience: “They keep saying that rock and roll is dead. Well then, stop saying that indie pop bands are rock when they aren’t… As soon as a guitar is involved, suddenly there is a label of rock. Pop artists can have guitars but ultimately they are not rock, and it winds me up!” As a result, he feels the industry has difficulty in grouping bands that don’t fall into either end of the spectrum, his band included: “I think it will change and if it does then I think rock and roll will have a significant cultural effect again.”

Issues of identity are important for the band as a collective, and they are also keen to engage with the growing discussion about mental health, recognising how valuable music has been for them in times of internal struggle. “Mental health has inspired our songwriting and my lyrics, and if that can help people, then that is a massive bonus.” Although the music business can be extremely testing, leading to the development or worsening of mental illness, Luke remains positive: “That’s the path we have chosen to exorcise those demons, and if that can help young people then that is a massive bonus, and I hope that it does.”

Mental health is a particular focal point on the newly-released EP ‘Less is Better’ as well as other themes of isolation, desperation and angst. Luke believes the EP showcases everything the band stands for: “I think it features our strongest tracks to date and definitely makes me excited as it’s a taste of what the album is going to sound like.”

 

See False Heads live:

FRI 28 SEP / Jimmy’s / Manchester

SAT 29 SEP / The Ferret / Preston

WED 03 OCT / Chameleon Arts Cafe / Nottingham

THU 04 OCT / The Blue Moon / Cambridge

FRI 05 OCT / Lock 17 & Dingwalls / London

SAT 06 OCT / Heartbreakers bar / Southampton

THU 11 OCT / The moon / Cardiff

FRI 12 OCT / The Mothers Ruin / Bristol

FRI 19 OCT / The Devonshire / Sheffield

 

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Photo by Alex Hurst

Video by Brigi Poti-Szaszfai