INTERVIEW: Future of the Left | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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You generally expect to get 15-20 minute telephone interviews with most artists, hurrying to get all your pithy and insightful questions answered before they lose interest. Andy Falkous – Future Of The Left frontman and self-styled ‘digressiontron’ – gave me 47 minutes, and I think I actually asked about three questions. Of the many things I either can’t – or legally shouldn’t – include here are ‘Steve Vai Catering’, ‘destroying a Mars Volta CD with a hammer’, ‘the correct use of the word ‘awesome’ in relation to couscous’, ‘a collaboration between Kanye West and Ronnie Barker’ and numerous potentially libellous comments about Beggars Banquet.

Eventually I did get him to talk about the remarkable new album, The Peace & Truce Of Future Of The Left, which definitely represents a more in-your-face companion to their previous release. “I’m a little bit worried about the new record in that I think some people will really love it but some will miss the variety of the last album. The sound of the record, the sound of the drums on this record, it’s everything I want. There was something sort of mighty and distant about the last one, this album has a crispness to it, and an attack to it, I suppose.” Perhaps surprisingly, there’s never a plan for each record. “With us there’s never really a manifesto, beyond ‘take the really good songs and do those’. And that’s sometimes why we’re a difficult band to write about because there’s a huge disconnect between a band that are known to be quite acerbic and someone saying ‘describe how it happened.’ ’Well, we just went into a room and wrote some songs…’ There’s no fucking story, is there? It’s not, ‘basically, I keep some Tories in my basement and I go down and I fucking wrestle them, we get all greased up…’“

Inevitably, this steers the conversation onto politics. “Anyone who lives in the real world knows that though I’m definitely on the left, there’s just as many fuckwits on the left as on the right, they’re just fuckwits in a different way. All things being equal, I think the BBC has probably always had a left wing bias, which I’m pretty comfortable with because I’m on the left, and as Stephen Colbert said, ‘it is well known that reality has a left-wing bias’. But I think they are a little bit scared of the Conservative government and changed their policies in response.” Falko is in full flight now… “I don’t know, I find factionalism incredibly boring. My favourite comment of the last few months on social media was ‘how dare David Cameron attack how Jeremy Corbyn looks? The ham-faced twat!’ You think, that’s the kind of irony that Americans aren’t going to get, you know? To be honest with you, I find that the Americans I meet are so aware that they’re not supposed to get irony that they’re real sticklers for getting irony. It’s kind of post-meta-beta. The only time I’ve ever managed to confuse an educated American with that was when he told me that my t-shirt was quite creased and I said, ‘Oh yeah, Americans don’t get ironing, do you?’ and he said, ‘no, it’s irony we don’t get.’ And I was, ‘yeah…’ Sigh…’”

the new record, is rawer – you spend more money and time making something which is rawer! But that rawness needs to be captured effectively

Talk turns to the economics of being in a band like Future Of The Left. This is the second album to be funded using PledgeMusic, the target being reached in just three hours, but surprisingly Falko’s main income is his very low-key Christian Fitness solo project. “Even though they have about 3% of the profile, if we may use the modern lingo, I’ve made far more money doing those than I ever have from doing Future Of The Left or Mclusky, by about three times. There’s no overheads, and I’m selling them directly to people. That is wonderful and intensely depressing at the same time (which is the story of Jesus as we all know).”

Rather than particular songs lending themselves to either project, it comes down to how they’re written. “Generally speaking, FOTL songs are written in rehearsals really loudly, and the whole essence of the songs is to do with the timing and the volume and the sound, whereas because of the mechanics of writing something in Logic on the Mac, you’re more restricted by the formalities of bars and time signatures, whereas for example a song like Eating For None on the new record, you couldn’t possibly write that song by yourself at home. Christian Fitness is about layers and colours, whereas Future Of The Left, especially the new record, is rawer – you spend more money and time making something which is rawer! But that rawness needs to be captured effectively.”

Finally (at least for the purposes of this piece), we come to the meaning of the album title, The Peace & Truce Of Future Of The Left. “There was a movement called The Peace & Truce Of God, which was the precursor to the idea of chivalry. It was essentially brought in because even though we all have an idea that in the early middle ages, knights were these really moral forces walking around Europe through all the verdant greenery we had then, doing good deeds and rescuing maidens from towers, in fact they were just thugs in armour, and chivalry ended up formalising the idea of ‘don’t go to villages and kill people and take all their stuff’. The Peace & Truce Of God was a forerunner of that, and was highly euphemistically saying, ‘stop being such a bunch of cunts’. How that relates to our band, you’re invited to decide for yourself.”

Future Of The Left play Newcastle’s Riverside on Tuesday 19th April. The Peace & Truce Of Future Of The Left is released on Prescriptions Music on 8th April.

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