Before Friday’s 18/1/08 show at Warwick University Market Place show I caught up with the ever smiling, ever tall, bassist Jaff (David Craig) to catch up with the band's developments since their last album, News and Tributes.
SXP: A year is a long time in politics, but how long is it in music? How would you sum up 2007 in one word?
Jaff: ‘Hectic’ – although we’ve not appeared to be doing much publicly the year has still been pretty busy. We started writing new songs in January and after 4 months we’d got a few songs we were pleased with. We also talked to a lot of labels during that time before we decided we’d go it alone. Then we hooked up with Youth, yeah, the legendary Youth from Killing Joke, and we spent 3 weeks in his studio in the middle of a desert in Spain. It was tough tho, 14 hours a day in the studio 5 days a week, but we hired cars and hit the beach on the weekends mind. We ended up with 22 songs from which we’ve made our new album.
SXP: If I got it right, your first album was full of cynicism and angst, yet the 2nd was more about you personally…what can we expect from the new record?
Jaff: Classic punk! Fast, direct approach with less ethereal lyrics than the last album. Youth brought a direct reference point to our songs. Whilst working with him he made us play classic punk songs and then he’d say ‘Now, put that into your songs’, it really worked, we feel.
SXP: I always tell newcomers that they should imagine ‘In The City’ Jam if I’m trying to describe your sound, is that fair? And who else would you say have influenced you?
Jaff: Yeah, I love that album, tho Barry And Ross, who do the writing, aren’t especially big fans…they’re more into XTC and Devo. Back to the Jam tho, I think Bruce Foxton is a fantastic bass player, and Weller, what can you say? He’s just always sounding and looking fantastic. Mind you, we may be influenced by the Jam but I don’t like The Enemy, who’ve just compl;etely ripped them off, haven’t they (looks round after realising we’re in the heart of Enemy territory – Coventry)
SXP: You’ve played 2 nights so far on this tour, and a couple of shows back in November in Sunderland and London, how’ve you been received since your long lay off?
Jaff: Really well, so well that we’re introducing more and more new songs each night. We thought the crowd would be like (stares open mouthed) when we play the new songs, but they’re getting as good a reception as our older ones.
SXP: You’re releasing the album yourselves, What will it be called? When is it out and how can it be purchased?
Jaff: Yeah, we’re financing it ourselves on our label called Nul Records (after our early EP 1-2-3 Nul). It’ll be out in May and it’s called ‘This is Not The World’. I think most bands will eventually go this way, we’re not that concerned about how many people download their albums illegally, or then copy them on, we want them to turn up at our shows. Time will come when record labels will try to start taking a cut of ticket sales rather than record sales.
We’re happy our popularity is still as it was, we’re planning to play many of the larger festivals this year, and we’re playing dates in Holland and Germany soon too.
(Digressing somewhat) I think us, Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party were at the forefront of a return to guitar based music, and since then anyone who can play has formed a band and got their music out via the internet.
SXP: The song News and Tributes is an emotional acknowledgement of the impact of the Munich Air Disaster, the 50th anniversary is on 6th February – will you be marking the day in any special way?
Jaff: You’ll need to talk to Ross about that one, he’s a big Man Utd fan and he wrote that song. I believe they’re (Man Utd) wearing the ’58 kit for the game against Man City that week.
SXP: As a Sunderland resident, any comments on the recent developments at Newcastle United?
Jaff: (laughs) Well I’m pleased for them, but I’m an Everton fan! My mum is a Boro fan and my dad supports Newcastle…I do watch Sunderland when I can tho. I suppose it’s the only answer to their problems mind, but Allerdyce really wasn’t given time, was he?
The Futureheads new single ‘Beginning of the Twist’ is out now and the new Album ‘This is Not The World’ is out in May, both available on Nul Records.