Decent Days & Nights
Pop-punk darlings The Futureheads enjoy life on the road, setting their sights on the U.S. for their most recent outing
February 23, 2005
by Ashley Graham

Four young guys meet, become friends and decide to make music.  It could be the story of any band, right?  Well this time it’s Sunderland, England’s The Futureheads and, though the story may sound familiar, it shouldn’t take long for this gang of four to set themselves apart for you.

Since the release of their self-titled debut LP in the fall of 2004, The Futureheads have been winning over fans in the UK and abroad.  Recently having completed their coveted spot on the NME tour positioned every night on the line-up between The Killers and Bloc Party and playing to crowds of 3,000, the band now heads to the United States for a headlining club tour.  As single-named bassist Jaff said, the U.S. crowds have been slower to catch on to the charm of The Futureheads, but their interest is continually increasing.

“You can definitely see the crowd changing and it translates to what we’ll do the next time.  There is a little pressure [on us], I suppose… but we don’t expect too much of the crowd.”

Jaff, alongside guitarists Ross Millard and Barry Hyde and drummer Dave Hyde (the band members share vocals, though Ross and Barry do lead), formed The Futureheads in 2000, backed by the influences of the punk and indie music of the nineties, to create something as Jaff says, “completely different” from where they are from.  That something has became a sound encompassing a generous mixture of variety that has come to be the band’s signature.

“We try to put as many angles in there was we can.  We emphasize guitar.  We also emphasize singing, and we can almost sound like The Beach Boys in that respect or Gang of Four. But we don’t really try to take that slant.  We also listen to classical music, and we try to do a lot of arrangements.”

With all the conscious differences, The Futureheads still suffer from the pigeonholing that can restrict any band, no matter the breadth of their creativity.  Comparisons to The Jam, Wire and Gang of Four pop up in nearly every one of their reviews, despite the fact that Jaff says the band often “don’t really think [they] sound anything like” the bands they garner comparisons to.

“There is a lot to our music,” he said, “We’re not influenced by just one thing and it can be frustrating to be labeled.”

But no matter the criticisms, the band seems confident that after years of practicing and fine-tuning their songs they really do have something to offer.

“We spend loads of time practicing our singing. I don’t really think anyone is doing what we are vocally and that’s probably the strongest thing about the band that I know.

“We played live for so long, so when we recorded we tried to play hard to get all that energy down and it’s working.  No two songs sound like each other and the songs all complement each other.”

There is nothing like the live arena, however, and The Futureheads recognize that their brand of music is best suited to the live show, be it large or small, with energy, attitude and an equally invested audience.

“We’re all very pleased with the record,” Jaff said, “but it’s not the same as live.  With the live show you get a lot more of the punk, the record is more about the songs.

“The most important part is that we all take it very seriously.  We want to do well, but we try to make it as much fun as possible and we have a good sense of humor on stage.  We just go out, have fun and do good shows.”

The Futureheads’ U.S. dates stretch from now until the end of March.  The band plans to tour throughout 2005 and has tentatively scheduled itself to head back to the studio to record the follow-up to
The Futureheads this time next year.

For more info. on The Futureheads and a sampling of their songs, head to their official website,
www.thefutureheads.com.
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