2004 was a great year for seminal albums: Franz Ferdinand dropped their debut, The Libertines were still – y’know – The Libertines, and The Streets’ outstanding ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ was still fresh out of the traps. The Killers were still in short shorts, we hadn’t quite worked out Johnny Borrell was quite so Johnny Borrell, and Kings of Leon were still – like – good! In amongstit all, The Futureheads dropped their bangeriffic self-titled debut record. This year, to celebrate its 15th anniversary – and also their first ‘electric’ record in nearly a decade, ‘Powers’ – the boys are hitting the road for a string of shows which will see them celebrate material both old and new. Frontman Barry Hyde tells us more.
Hey Barry, how’s it going?
I’m very well, thanks. Full of busy, and looking forward to doing some gigs soon. I’m in the middle of opening a bar in a Sunderland called The Peacock! Full steam ahead at this point. So many things to do!
So it’s been a good year then, with the new album – how have you found its reception? It must be great to get back into things.
It feels like a bit of a privilege to be able to return after a lengthy break to find that we still have fans and are well received. I feel really proud of what we have achieved as a band and as individuals. It was no small task, let me tell you!
How has your band dynamic evolved since your last fully electric album, if at all? Was it very different to work on?
It felt very much like we had re-found our ‘voice’ with pure guitar music. We have come back with greater depth as individuals and brought enhanced musical skills and a greater sense of mutual appreciation, I would say. The process was very different due to the fact we have limited time for the band, due to our lifestyles. Subsequently, we could only, for the most part, record one day a week! It was certainly the most gradual experience of making an album, 400 hours of recording essentially!
And how did the hiatus treat you? Has it affected the way you approach the band, or life in general?
A lot can change in 7 years, and much has. I feel that there is a constant opportunity for growth and also regressions. A persons life story can be one or the other, or a mixture of both. I feel we are really enjoying playing our instruments and hanging out on the road. There is a ‘light’ atmosphere amongst us, which makes being away from home much easier.
It feels like the world has changed a lot since The Futureheads’ early days, does that impact the themes you’re drawn to writing about?
I think we have always written about our immediate environment, it means all we have to do for inspiration is to open our eyes and pay attention. Writing music and lyrics are very different processes, we wanted the compositions to be contrasting and in some places very progressive and conceptual. Lyrically we always want to be indirectly relatable, so that people can put their own spin in meaning but, yes, describing the world we live in or how our minds are working, philosophically.
Are there any bands around at the moment who you feel are doing particularly exciting things with music, or their platform?
There are some great bands around, there always is. Crack Cloud, Yummy Fur, Cate Le Bon, Idles, Fontaines DC, Charlotte Adigery, Roxy Girls, Summon The Fire, Colin Stetson to name but a few…..
Your upcoming tour’s going to be super fun with the debut getting an airing in full, how have you found rehearsals for it?
Rehearsals? I’ll tell you once we’ve had some! Haha.
Looking back on that record now, how do you feel about it? It must’ve been a really exciting time.
Honestly, it hard to give a truly inclusive description of what that period was like. I remember having a lot of anxiety about how the album was received, I wish I had a more relaxed attitude towards it. We kind of recorded the album twice so by the time we were in the studio with Paul Epworth we were pretty desperate, to be honest! When I listened to the album recently, it brought back some good memories. Ideas-wise it’s pretty raw, raw, same with the performances!
If you were a new band now looking to launch your debut, do you think you’d have to do things differently?
I try not to delve into hypotheticals, to be honest. What I will say is that I wish we were more confident.
What else are you working on at the moment?
I have material for a second solo album, and we have a bunch of new Futureheads stuff also. Oh yes, and becoming an innkeeper in a grade II listed, three-storey Edwardian pub!
Taken from the December 2019 / January 2020 issue of Dork. The Futureheads tour the UK from 6th December.