Manchester has a new buzz band in town, their name: FALSE ADVERTISING. It’s grungy guitars and fuzzed-up pop with twisted girl/boy vocals, simply too impossible to say no to. The band arrived on the scene early 2015 and have been busy establishing themselves as a live force, and now they’re ready to unleash their debut album on us.
But before they do that, we caught up with the trio to discuss their DIY ethos, the album, their songwriting process and much more.
There has been a resurgence growing for 90s alternative rock recently. What do you think it is about that era and that sound why we just can’t seem to let it go?
Josh: It’s essentially the music of our childhood, that 90s’ sound surrounded us all growing up so it’s bound to have had an affect. It’s influence on us wasn’t ever a conscious thing, or an attempt to play up to a trend.
Jen: I reckon there comes a point where nostalgia in music stops sounding oddly dated and starts feeling fresh again, which seems to have crept up on us culturally with 90s stuff in general, you see hints to it everywhere.
Chris: The internet has also lead artists to become more DIY in their approach to creating music. With new bands coming through and self-releasing songs that sound a bit rougher around the edges in this way, you end up with elements of this scrappy 90s feel seeping up into all sorts of alternative music too.
The DIY approach you’ve taken to the band is prevalent in everything you do and it has become your signature. Before you introduced False Advertising to the world, how much time did you spend working out how you were going to present yourselves – the aesthetic for band, stylistically and visually?
Jen: I’ve always been a big fan of bands that make an effort develop their visual identity alongside their musical one. Whilst that’s always been a huge thing for me, as we had the majority of our music already recorded before we launched, doing photography and design for the band has always felt natural as we already had gotten to grips with the way our sound comes across. I’m also my own worst critic being a designer and all, so that’s helped.
‘Wasted Away’ was your debut single, a buzz started to swirl around the band from this point on. Was this song always the clear front runner for your debut track?
Chris: Well we did finish that one first.
Jen: But we deliberated about it for some time, it seemed like the easiest way in for a new listener.
Josh: We just thought it showcased a good cross-section of our sound.
Chris: The landmark track in terms of finding our ‘sound’ was actually one Jen wrote very early on called Breaker, which incidentally is the first song on the record.
What’s the songwriting set-up within the band?
Jen: We have a few ways of doing it. Sometimes, I’ll come up with a song fairly quickly and do a lo-fi demo of it, which we’ve then tweaked a bit altogether in rehearsal and then re-recorded in the studio (Wasted Away was like this).
Chris: I think people can fall into the trap of devising some sort of formula for being creative, but the truth is there are no rules. It’s like the opposite of science in that there are infinite answers to every question, rather than it being right or wrong, This is why Jen’s vision acts as an overall filter for our output, making it consistent.
Jen: I’ve no reason to think we’ll stick to the same formula for the next album though, now we’ve got something solid to build on I reckon it’ll be a far more collaborative thing.
Josh: Jen did manage to turn a bunch of her B-side demos into her own lo-fi album called Autonomy and sneakily released it in January. Take a wild guess who the most creative force in the band is?
Chris: In Jen we trust.
What are the things that inspire a False Advertising song?
Josh: Each of our own favourite bands.
Chris: I’ve always thought it’s important to have really broad influences in music. That way you hopefully end up with something that sounds unique. Lyrically we draw from the issues facing people today, yes elements of the sound are clearly influenced by bands like The Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins, but the subject matter is up to date.
Jen: For me, it’s all about finding a chord and melody combination that I find exciting – which is no doubt a trait that I have always sought in my own influences. Once you have a good melodic starting point, the chords will just start coming out.
Within False Advertising, you share the vocal responsibilities, shifting between girl and boy vocals from song to song. How do you approach who sings what?
Chris: As alluded to before, we generally front the songs we wrote.
Jen: But we have been known to switch things up if it suits one of us better.
Chris: Yeah, one of the ones I sing Jen actually wrote, It’s called Cold Shoulder. In my defence I had a bit of a crisis mid-way through recording our album and opted to scrap all my songs (about seven or eight) apart from that one. I wrote the bare bones of the other three tracks I sing on the album in one evening.
Josh: Under Jen’s watchful eye.
Chris: In Jen we trust.
You recently finished work on your debut album. For a band that had only started releasing music at the beginning of 2015, it’s very impressive to see that you’ve already finished production on the album and you’ve already set a release date for 4th September. How does it feel to have completed work on what will be the bands most defining work to date?
Josh: It feels great of course and we’re proud of each other. I feel it’s made us into better musicians – so I’m really excited to progress with the next album rather than reflect too much on what we’ve done.
Jen: It’s been a fantastic experience for me, super eye-opening to be involved in a new kind of creative process and get an understanding of all the work that’s involved. We pushed ourselves to keep re-iterating every bit of it until it was good enough, which was sometimes frustrating, especially when you start out and don’t exactly know what ‘good enough’ is. I felt like I’d learned a whole new language by the end of it.
Having the skill set within the band to record and produce the album yourselves must have been nice?
Chris: And pretty stressful too, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Josh: Where it gives you freedom, it also brings about more work!
Jen: Getting into the studio so early on has been essential. Otherwise we’d have certainly gone down a scrappier lo-fi path with our first release.
You’ve been playing frequently around Manchester since your inception, how have the crowd responses been so far?
Chris: People generally have been quite enthusiastic, which is awesome.
Jen: The best thing is when you see people singing along to certain tracks, especially if you don’t personally know who they are. It’s a crazy feeling.
Josh: It’s such a great feeling when you win new people over. As we’ve begun to establish ourselves a bit more, it feels like we’re winning over more new faces.
You have a very busy few months lined up taking you throughout the summer and into autumn with live shows and festivals, do you like playing festivals?
Josh: We played the Manchester leg of Dot to Dot festival first which was great – walking round out home town watching some really great bands and then playing ourselves had a great feeling to it.
Jen: We liked Blackthorn, which is the first outdoor one we’ve played, very much. I learned that I should bring warmer clothes next time though.
Chris: We’re looking forward to A Carefully Planned and Oxjam in Leeds in October too. Looking forward to getting more stuck into the festival season next year.
What are your hopes for False Advertising in the future?
Chris: Touring is the dream, that’s been the motivation for me at least for years.
Jen: We want to travel to new places playing shows, and get back into the studio in the new year to start work on our next record! Hopefully it won’t take so god damn long this time.
False Advertising’s debut album will be released on 4th September. Pre-order the album here.