Krakow Calling – The Futureheads Interview

On the road chat with Ross Millard

Currently on tour, and wrapping up a year which saw their triumphant return, ClashMusic caught some phone time with The Futureheads’ Ross Millard.

Releasing their Indie chart topping third album ‘This Is Not The World’ in May, the band has been busy capitalising on their popularity and are currently on the final leg of a tour which has seen them cross Europe.

ClashMusic caught up with the band’s Ross Millard as the band prepared to play Krakow, Poland.

So, what’s with the new non-album track coming out? Your not going to start playing Bloc Party tricks on us are you?

Nah man. Don’t worry. We recorded it in the same session as the album. Back last year. The way the song sounds. It didn’t really suit the album, it was more like a one off bubble-gum pop single. I’m quite pleased that we kept it off the record so that we had something now to slip out before the tour. It keeps everything interesting.

This line has quite the delay. Where are you?

Krakow. In Poland. We’re in the middle of a tour. Warsaw last night, Krakow tonight. We’re basically just doing the outer rim of Europe. Then back to the UK to face the English tour. Its all on like!

How does that match up against your previous Australia tour?

Aye, its a bit bloody chilly like, when you have been in Australia for a few weeks. We had only been there once before, and that was supporting QOTSA. So its nice to do shows of our own now.

Still excited for the UK tour though, yeah?

Yea man. It’s our last jaunt, before we make plans for the next record.

So keeping up the momentum?

Yea. Come January we want back into the rehearsal room. We rehearse at home in Sunderland so its not hard for us to get together. We want to work quickly though. We don’t like hanging around. We want to make the record in Sunderland, do it ourselves, produce it ourselves. Get the record out after the festivals in 09. Then get a huge tour planned.

What’s it like actually playing Sunderland? Pretty messy?

It’s always really crazy because its quite small, everyone is crammed in like a can. Mental.

I managed to catch you at One big Weekend Sunderland. That was almost scary…

Oh yea, I love playing Sunderland like. You just stroll up there, pick up the guitars and start playing. No pressure, just pure passion. We actually have a really special gig coming up at the Sage, in Gateshead. That is an honour. Its is such a beautiful building. We have loads of North East bands playing with us like Detroit Social Club(Read Clash’s Ones to Watch feature on the band). It’s bang on Christmas time too. We are gonna make it a real special one.

Speaking of live gigs, what is it with avoiding second album material? Anything related to your split with 679 Recordings? Or did you just not like it?

No man, we loved it. We kinda reassessed everything after the festivals this summer. We decided we need to start playing more songs. So, we rehearsed more, and nearly all of our songs now are from all three records. So we can have a different setlist every night. The minute the festivals finished. From the second record we are now playing ‘Worry’, ‘Yes/No’, ‘Fallout’. A handful more than we have done.

Just those ones?

There is still songs like ‘Back To The Sea’, ‘News and Tributes’, ‘Face’ and ‘Thursday’. I don’t think we will ever play them again live, they are just so hard to pull off, in the context of the rest of our show. Everything else is million miles per hour. Then you throw them in and it feels weird.

Never again? I’m upset.

Well… Maybe a one off show somewhere, we could get a string section in or something, and get a bit indulgent.

That’s more like it! Sounds like big gig material?

Maybe after the next record, we could look into it. Do something a bit more special, think about playing some tracks that have been ignored of late. Even stuff from before our first album. Not many bands these days even reach a 4th record. I am so proud of this band for getting this far.

What’s it like financing yourself?

We still have a tour bus and crew, but you do watch the budgets a bit closer. At the end of the day now, if we make a profit, it is OUR profit. Rather than it being 679 Recordings profit or anybody elses. I think with 679, we abused them and they abused us. If we had started our own label at the beginning, we would have had no money to do it and we wouldn’t have the loyal fan base that we had when we left 679. Warner Bros spent a lot of money marketing and advertising us, and we would not of been able to do that out of thin air. It great now feeling like we are totally responsible for our music. No regrets for how it has gone. Started out on a major, then switched to our own. Best way we could of gone.. I have a lot of respect for smaller bands who are grinding it out just now. Its hard times for everyone.

Over at Clash we are disputing the albums of 08. Any suggestions?

Top album this year? Let me have a think about this one. Its a hard one. I mean, that Glasvegas record was brilliant. For me though, it has to be The Week That Was. Credit to Peter Brewis (ex-Field Music) for making such a good record, with such good press. I’m biased like. I’m emotionally attached to North East music.

Finally, can you describe 08′ in three words

Oh Christ, three words. Let me think. Comeback. People had written us off. Glory. Thanks to the popularity of ‘Beginning of the Twist’. Efficient. Because we are penny pinching bastards now.

Rounding off 2008, The Futureheads are currently on a UK tour:

Tue 9 Dec 2008 – Dakota Club, Cheltenham

Thu 11 Dec 2008 – New Slang, Kingston

Thu 11 Dec 2008 – Banquet Records (Free / No Tickets Needed) (Under 18s Only) Kingston upon Thames

Fri 12 Dec 2008 – Sheffield Academy (Pet Sounds Night), Sheffield

Sat 13 Dec 2008 – Leeds Academy (Pet Sounds Night), Leeds

Mon 15 Dec 2008 – Cyprus Avenue, Cork

Tue 16 Dec 2008 – Dolans Warehouse, Limerick

Wed 17 Dec 2008 – The Academy, Dublin

Fri 19 Dec 2008 – The Sage, Gateshead

Sat 20 Dec 2008 – The Dutchess, York

Buy tickets to see The Futureheads live on

The Futureheads recently supplied a track for ClashMusic’s Track of the Day feature, their new single, and non album track, ‘I Wouldn’t Be Like This If You Were Here’. Listen to ‘I Wouldn’t Be Like This If You Were Here’ here.

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