Though the business side of their career courts its own focus these days, it’s only fair that The Futureheads are given the chance to elucidate on that thing they’re known for: the music. Not only theirs, but the stuff they love, hate and love to hate.
I reckon ‘Sale Of The Century’ (on the new album) is my favourite thing you’ve ever done. Really ferocious, very Joy Division.
Jaff: We didn’t even want that one on the album!
David: It was a contentious one, I remember it well.
Jaff: Us two were outvoted. But lots of people are saying that to us about that one.
It does sound completely different to anything you’ve done before.
David: Yeah, you’ve got to take yourself outside of the recording world and let somebody else tell you what’s good or bad.
What are the setlists like now?
Jaff: Seven old, seven new, one from News and Tributes.
Why? Because the fans don’t want to hear the second album?
David: And ‘cause we can’t play it!
Jaff: It’s too hard.
David: We can play them…
Jaff: They’ve got a million vocal tracks.
David: We found that when we started playing the songs off this album it brought the energy down.
Jaff: They relied too much on precision.David: Like we’d play ‘He Knows’ and then go on to ‘Thursday’, and it was just…
Was it to do with the way the second album was produced then?
Jaff: And the way it was written. And the idea we had writing it was to make a record that’d sound good on stereos rather than…
David: …rather than gigs. It was arrogant.
Jaff: Oh aye. We thought we’d get away with that. We did it, and it was hard to do. We’re still very fond of the record but it’s not for live.
Did Youth’s production really change the sound of this album?
Jaff: Massively. He couldn’t really be bothered with fannying about.
David: Doodling, self-indulgence...
Jaff: We’d lay the song up on the morning, work on the bass for an hour – try this, try that – then do the bass, the drumming, the guitars, the vocals, the rest of the guitars, the rest of the vocals…
David: It was very quick.
David: Mostly because of the heat (the band recorded This Is Not The World in Andalucia).
Jaff: Aye, they were long days.
David: I was done by three o’clock everyday, go and have a few drinks.
Jaff: I had to drive.
You were out there in the mountains somewhere weren’t you?
Jaff: Aye, it were brilliant like.
This album feels a lot more, well, technical. Technically put together, structure-wise. I probably haven’t quite got the right word but…
David: No, I know what you mean. The first one was a lot busier.
Jaff: Our third record is a lot more traditional. We couldn’t start a song until the lyrics were finished and the chorus was finished.
Was the album all written before you got to the studios?
Jaff: No, we wrote 20 songs when were out there – it was pretty intense. We were there for three weeks so...
David: …there was time for the beach.
David: It was brilliant.
Blimey, talk about polar opposites!
What are you both listening to these days?
Jaff: Let me try and think what the last thing I bought was… ah, the MGMT record. It’s very good. We just did a little tour with them and CSS.
David: I’ve been listening to The Rolling Stones the whole time. I hated them for years and now I love them. I don’t really listen to new music, can’t be dealing with all that crap.Jaff: Not gonna be as good as ‘Sticky Fingers’ mate, is it?
David: No, nothing can be as good as ‘Sticky Fingers’.
You sound like a 50 year-old man, Dave…
David: Yeah I don’t like any of this nu-rave business, I can’t be arsed with it.
What else can’t you stand?
Dave: Alphabeat!(Jaff gives him a sly look)
Dave: Do you like that one, Jaff?
Jaff: It’s great! It’s brilliant, it’s a classic!
Dave: I think we’re going in different directions…
Jaff: I’m definitely gonna play that one when I DJ, like. It’ll send the pulses up like David Bowie! If I’m gonna be brutally honest, there’s a trend in the UK at the minute for guitar bands. Not only do a lot of dreadful bands get signed, but a lot of dreadful bands get to be quite big. There’s a load of mediocrity on the live scene that’s come from record companies signing guitar bands and trying to make them pop bands. There’s a lot of dreadful ones. They all just write songs like (in stupid voice) “That’s nice/oh my god/got drunk/na na na” – the lyrics just sprawl on and on. There’s no rhythm, no melody, no metre, no…