Laura Prior 26/04/2010
The Futureheads want you to empower yourself. Not in a David Cameron way, I hope, though their new album The Chaos does get to grips with the Big Issues of the last 18 months - global warming (“Stop the Noise”), war (“Dart at the Map”) and, um, barons (“The Baron”) - as well as containing some of the most potent, signature Futureheads musical smart-bombs to date. No, they want you to kick against the cynicism, hypocrisy and snidiness threatening to bodysnatch the UK next month in the name of ”big society”. I interviewed Barry Hyde before their club show at the Kingston Hippodrome's New Slang night last Thursday...
Hi Barry! Nice to meet you.
You've been going for nearly ten years, and this is your fourth album, yet it seems like you're just getting started...
Yeah, I mean, it feels like our first album.
...With This is Not the World, it like a liberating time for you as a band, as it was the first time you went it alone without a major record label. Was this a situation that continued to work on the new album?
More so. I think last time, TINTW, it was like a total rebirth for us...something we needed to do to kill the demons. Beginning of the Twist was like a mission statement, it capsulated the liberation we felt. The day we got dropped was a really happy day for us, man. It was like, 'freedom'! This time we're still in a really liberating, rejuvenating situation. The longer we go on, the more we feel like that.
Would you ever consider going back to a major label, or is that not really the point?
Um...well, we're on a major label in Japan, because it's the best way to distribute our music there. Our label doesn't have offices in Paris, New York... Nul Records - meaning null, invisible - was always considered that: a means to an end, just a way of getting out the music.
The Chaos is quite experimental, is that a fair assessment? For me, it was the sort of album I maybe didn't get at first - like, I just didn't understand it - until I realised all the songs had been stuck in my head all week...you have to take time with it. That's a compliment, by the way.
I appreciate you saying that. Yeah...a good album you have to go back to, make an effort to understand...like Family Guy, or a film. You don't quite get it at first, it's more meaty.
“Jupiter” is a weird song - it's like Bohemian Rhapsody!
Jupiter, hahahaha! That's right, it's The Futureheads Bo-Rhap. We wanted something pompous for this album - I mean it's called Jupiter for god's sake. Jupiter [and the album] is about.... about self-empowerment, self-strength, liberation; having fun...laughing smiling, saying hello to people! Doing what you want, feeling happy. We don't want to be a mediocre, middle-of-the-road indie band.
There are a lot more 'issues', on this album, though...was this a conscious effort to write more politically-motivated songs, or did it happen organically?
Totally organically, it wasn't an 'effort' at all. With this album, we had taken a bit of time off after heavy touring. We had a year with Youth to take time and make something sounding really meaty.
We are showing we are not your cynical, business-minded indie band - we want to make music that's literate, interesting...that just completely feels like “us
You're playing London on the day of the election...what do you think the energy will be like?
Good question. I dunno...it's impossible to tell...
...You could play political songs?
We were actually asked by [nameless television broadcaster] if we would be able to write a song for any of the three Parties, unoffically...so they could use it on TV, but they or we wouldn't say we'd written it for that...
How would that work? It would still be really obvious.
Yeah, I know, we turned it down.
Finally, you've just been announced for Reading & Leeds. Do you look forward to the festival season?
We love playing festivals. It's like being thrown to the lions by the Romans. 20,000 rowdy people - being thrown to the angry mob! You've got to prove yourself; if you don't pull it off, which happens rarely, it's a total disaster. When it goes well, it's just the most ecstatic feeling.
It'll be funny to see a field of people shouting “5-4-3-2-1!”
It'll be a good way to end it, anyway!
The Chaos is out on Monday 26th April
The Futureheads tour the UK from 26/04/2010. Go to www.myspace.com/thefutureheads for details.