False Heads Scores a Hit with ‘Thick Skin’ @FalseHeads

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Gregory Hesse-Wagner Photography

Any time I get a message from Luke Griffiths — singer/guitarist for next gen punk rockers False Heads — I know a fantastic conversation will follow.

False Heads, a London-based three-piece (with Barney Nash on drums and Jake Elliott on bass), has a new single coming out July 1 — “Thick Skin.” The tune is available for listening now (https://soundcloud.com/falseheads/thickskin) with a video to follow shortly.

“Thick Skin” has all of False Heads’ trademarks — Luke’s sneering vocal delivery, the heavy-handed bass, strompy drums and crunchy guitar licks … as well as a bright poppy chorus. Truly, the tune is a head-bangers delight!

I’ve previously featured False Heads (https://r8singer.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/false-heads-making-music-that-matters/) and I’ve seen all the love and praise the new tune is receiving, so when Luke messaged to say he wanted to talk I was excited.

Once Luke and I got talking, the conversation took a few turns off subject — as it often does — but quickly found its way back home.

To the faint of heart, be warned it also is brimming with colorful language that is saltier than you’ll ever hear from a sailor, but well within context.  Here we go …

 

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Phoebe Fox Photography

So catch me up — what all have you been up to? Lots of shows, wicked new single …

Yup, we’ve had some great shows. The Borderline in Soho, Camden Rocks was fucking great, we were first on at 12 p.m. thought it was going to be empty and ended up being absolutely rammed and we got a brilliant response, so it’s brilliant. And we’ve got the Roundhouse Punk Weekender coming up (July 8-10 in London) and loads of other brilliant shows. And our new single is coming out on July 1 so it’s all good.

The Roundhouse Punk Weekender sounds awesome. Is it new or something you’ve done before?

It’s new, we’ve never played it before. I’m not sure if they’ve done it before or if it’s a new thing. But it’s a great idea and I hope it’s going to be a great show.

Perfect idea bringing lots of punk bands together. You will get the right audience for sure.

Well, let’s hope. I think our stuff would go down well the punk crowd to be fair, there’s a nice blend of stuff in there but I think there is an attitude that comes across that the punk lot get maybe? I don’t know, haha.

Of course, your music is like I said before, next gen punk — all the punk sensibility of before fitted for today’s audience. I’m not a punk by nature, but I get your messages.

That’s good that things come across, and you know, I wouldn’t even say we’re a punk band. There is some punky stuff, there is some poppy stuff and some lighter stuff too, which a lot of people haven’t heard yet but will soon. I think that sort of is what next gen punk will be though — a bit of everything chucked in, but with some sort of sensibility.

Exactly! You have plenty of pop sensibility, like “Steal & Cheat” and “Twentysomething.” Clever choruses there.

Ah, thank you very much. I think even “Thick Skin” starts punky and ends punky, but has a pretty catchy pop chorus, really. I like melody and heavy guitars … it’s been done before, but fuck it, I think it’s the best combination (for the most part).

Yes, that’s what makes it standout. Tell me about “Thick Skin” … where did the idea originate?

I had the opening riff and a vocal melody, and the chorus, then Barney tinkered with the chords in the verse, Jake put a catchy bass line in there, and then I came up with a big sounding riff for the ending, haha .. was quite natural really.
Lyrically, there’s lots of different stuff going on in there but I guess it’s just me ranting really.

Well, that’s what the song is for, isn’t it?

It is indeed.  Everyone in the studio winced at the “my smear test, it makes a mess” line, but if you can’t work out that’s metaphorical, then you’re a stupid cunt anyway, haha.

Haha, Lol … most things are metaphorical aren’t they? In the music business, you need a thick skin or they will just walk all over you and destroy you …

Exactly, people really do not have thick skins anymore. The sort of “wanting to be a victim” culture that has arisen is just so bewildering and worrying and damaging to actual victims of actual horrible circumstances.

Just like the “Me Generation” that wants everything handed to them on a platter. I wasn’t raised that way and my son won’t be either. He will know the value of earning his wants.

That’s a good way to be. There’s a fine line. I mean, I do get pissed off at like a lot of say 70-year-olds saying my generation are wasters and they owned a house at 20. It’s sort of like I’ll need a job earning about $100,000 a year to put a deposit down on a house in London … but yeah I’m with you on that. There’s not much point expecting the world to lay shit down at your feet, because it just isn’t going to happen. And there’s definitely no point thinking the world isn’t going to offend you and that you should live in a little bubble where no one can, because that’s complete nonsense.
I mean, I don’t really understand this whole banning culture — like something is offensive, so let’s ban it. Where did that come from? Is you’re offended, offend them back, tell them why they are an idiot, debate them, argue with them. It’s weird because that used to be a very right-wing thing to do, banning shit all the time because it’s offensive, seems to have turned over to the left, and I say that as a leftist.

This whole world has been turned on its ear. Look at the shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida. The man doing it was clearly a radical Muslim, and yet our government — and the President — wouldn’t admit it was an act of terrorism. It is so scary anymore!

Exactly, and then the left wonder why the far right has grown so much, it’s because the discussion isn’t talked about sensibly or rationally by the people it should be (the left), so the right hijack the situation and turn it into ALL MUSLIMS ARE BAD and scaremongering and hate and anti-Muslim bigotry because all the left do is just deny it has anything to do with religion, blame the west for everything and close down the discussion leaving the average person extremely confused, scared and inevitably ignorant and hateful. I refer anyone to Maajid Nawaz, Ali Rizvi, Asra Nomani and Ayan Hirsi Ali to read and watch. Liberal and ex-Muslims. Brilliant people with brilliant things to say on the situation and how it can be dealt with. And they’re often called Islamophobic by middle class liberals. How the fuck do you work that one out?

No idea … I’m scared to see where our fall election takes us. Out off the millions of possible people who could run for president these are our three options?

Yeah, it’s worrying. Trump as president. Fuck me, in my eyes, religion and nationalism are the two worst things on the planet and Trump is a huge nationalist and has claimed he wants to make America a Judo-Christian nation. So much for the separation of church and state in the Constitution … stupid cunt. But you know if Trump gets in, I think a large part of the left are to blame.

But I’m worried about the other two being more of the same of what we have now, which is awful. There is no good choice.

It seems there rarely is.

OK … Enough of that … So I see Kerri did the artwork for “Thick Skin” — tell me about that.

Yeah, enough of that, on a brighter note though, there have been rallies in England supporting the LGBT communities and standing together and that’s always good to see.

But yeah, the artwork … basically me sitting on a bridge on an old castle in Somerset and we were looking through photos and I just thought it looked perfect — like the isolation on the bridge — so we edited it and stuff and I look like a Nazgul as well, which is always good.

Yes, I like the desolation of it and it’s aged nature, almost a relic of the past …

Yeah, it’s like a 1,000 years old I think, was a beautiful place.

Wow … Now, you’ve done a video too … I saw some snaps … Tell me about the shoot…

We have indeed. We had an idea of being tied up and trying to play and it sort of went from there. We used our friend James Ray who is a very talented dude. I’ll wait for the video to come out before anything gets revealed but I think it looks great.

Sounds interesting! When will it be released?

I don’t imagine too long, before the release date. Hopefully before Glastonbury weekend, otherwise it will get swept aside.

I’m really looking forward to seeing it. Yes, you don’t want to be upstaged!

Exactly! I’m looking forward to it coming out.

Any plans to release the other tunes you have ready?

Well we’re going to take it step by step, but yeah, they will definitely be released at some point in some format. We’ve got a rough plan in place with the label and our manager etc. the team basically … we just need to see where it’s going. But I can’t wait for people to hear them, but obviously, there’s more to is than just throwing it out into the abyss.

 That’s great. I’m glad to hear you have a great team in place. That’s so important these days.

It is indeed, and the things that have come from it as well — we’ve had Danny Fields looking at us as well ever since he saw us in Camden, which is fucking surreal and awesome, and from that we’ve had support from Iggy Pop which again is surreal and awesome, haha … so a good team goes a long way.

Yes, Iggy! That boggles the brain — the man is a legend! Have you actually met him?

No, no we haven’t, haha … maybe one day though.

For sure. Anything else you want to talk about for now?

I’ll give a shout out to Kerri, Jonny, Wayne, James (x2), Su, Nick, Mike, Gary, Danny and the whole dudes and dudettes currently supporting us. Good bunch of people. And you of course, haha.

 

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Phoebe Fox Photography

You can find False Heads at:

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