Houston Calling

Interview with The Futureheads, new album, tour dates

June 13th, 2006 · 1 Comment

The new album by English rockers The Futureheads, News and Tributes, hits U.S. stores today (Tuesday, 6.13.06). I highly suggest buying it — it’s full of the same punchy guitars and great, catchy harmonies that made their debut album such as success. NME recently had this to say about the new album, which it rated an 8 out of 10: “Future generations will be able to clone whole albums from this single strand of Futureheads DNA.”

I recently asked Jaff, The Futureheads’ bassist/vocalist, a few questions. Enjoy.

HC: How did you guys cope with the success of your last record? First, the “Hounds of Love” cover blew up and it seems afterwards you were all over the place, both in the UK and in America.

Jaff: Yeah, we’ve done loads of touring – so that’s the way we’ve dealt with any perceived success. It’s fun to tour so much though.

HC: Did you guys approach making the new record differently than you had in the past? I believe I read that Andy Gill helped a bit with some of your early stuff, correct? That undoubtedly helped get the band a bit of credibility it might not have had otherwise. Did you think the comparisons to Gang of Four were dead-on or not?

Jaff: To be honest, when people “get” us, they don’t think we sound like Gang of Four. They were really funky, which is something we’ve deliberately avoided. Andy’s a nice man, but wasn’t the right producer to sue. He’s very clinical and we used Paul Epworth for three-fourths of the debut album.

HC: Ben Hillier, who has produced music for Depeche Mode, Doves, and Blur worked with you on News and Tributes. Was that a good experience? What do you think he brought to your songs that you didn’t have otherwise?

Jaff: Ben is very level-headed. You can trust him because he has excellent technical skills but a very musical brain. He’s very good at knowing what songs require certain sounds, then getting those sounds.

HC: I saw you headline a gig in Houston with Shout Out Louds & was blown away — one of my favorite shows that year. You have been able to play festivals like Glastonbury and shows with some of the more popular indie/alternative bands around today (The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Shout Out Louds, Kasier Chiefs, Bloc Party). When you play with bands like that — that you’re obviously “competing” with for the record sale — do you approach those kinds of gigs differently than you would if you were playing on your own? Why or why not?

Jaff: Bands that care about record sales have already lost. Why would a musician compete with another when music is subjective?

HC: I recently came across an alternate version of The Streets’ “Fit But You Know It” with The Futureheads on it. How did that come about — was it just a remix or did you record with Mike Skinner on the track?

Jaff: No romantic story, I’m afraid. We’re on the same label in the UK and 679 asked us to do it. They like it. We like it. He doesn’t.

HC: What is your favorite song off the new album? What song do you most enjoy performing live?

Jaff: “Burnt” is my favorite new song. I like its driving yet restrained arrangement. It’s a good one to do live, too, as it’s a bit different with an acoustic guitar on it.

HC: I went to London last year and was amazed by the difference between the British press and the American press, especially when it comes to music and tabloids. I think that musicians in the UK are seen as more tabloid fodder than American musicians. Sure, Britney Spears might or Eminem might get harrassed, but you rarely see less-popular acts “stalked” by the press as in the UK? Have you had any experiences with the press that you’ve disliked? Other than interviews, of course… I mean, you guys are no Pete Doherty, right?

Jaff: Not really – as you say, we’ve never really been involved in that equation, thankfully.

Special thanks to Jaff of The Futureheads for taking a few minutes out to answer these questions for Houston Calling.

Visit The Futureheads online. The band is currently on tour (no Houston date, unfortunately — their show at Rhythm Room with Shout Out Louds in 2005 was amazing). Here are the dates:

06/13/06 London, UK The Forum
06/15/06 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
06/16/06 Seattle, WA Neumo’s
06/18/06 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
06/19/06 Los Angeles, CA Music Box @ Fonda
06/23/06 Dallas, TX Gypsy Tea Room / Ballroom
06/24/06 Austin, TX La Zona Rosa
06/26/06 Atlanta, GA Loft @ Center Stage
06/27/06 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
06/28/06 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
06/30/06 New York, NY Webster Hall
07/01/06 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club / Lounge
07/09/06 Kinross, UK Balado
07/21/06 Benicassim, SPA Benicassim Festival
07/25/06 Philadelphia, PA Starlight
07/26/06 Toronto, ON Phoenix Concert Theatre
07/27/06 Detroit, MI Magic Stick
07/28/06 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
07/29/06 Chicago, IL Union Park
07/30/06 Minneapolis, MN Varsity Theatre
08/02/06 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater
08/03/06 Salt Lake City, UT Club Sound
08/04/06 Las Vegas, NV Jillian’s
08/05/06 San Diego, CA San Diego Street Scene
08/26/06 Reading, UK Richfield Avenue
08/27/06 Leeds, UK Bramham Park

See an ecard for News and Tributes. But a copy here.

Now Playing in My iPod: Sonic Youth — Rather Ripped

Tags: Music

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 joseph alan fears // Jul 7, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    I am the original copyright holder of the mane Jaff recoirds & I have been recording since 1969 using that name JAFF RECORDS Spelled the same way, however, i am not mad at this young man for using my name, its probably true that he didn’t realize that this name was not publicly available. like a lot of bands and names-grabbers, he just used it, however it is my Full names Frist Intials Joseph Alan Fears Flowers. and its mine, but Hey Dude” its Ok lets Just try to work Around One Another OK? thsanks JAFF P.S. try Going To The U.S. Copyrights Office In washington D.C. and checking out this name and see who the rightfull owner is ok?

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