E-Mail interview by Bones, June 2019

I often feel that when a band I love finishes, a little part of me dies inside. Just like the end of a personal relationship, I wait in hope by the (gramo)phone for contact that never comes. Eventually I accept that it's over and all I now have are the aural memories to sustain me during the mourning period. One such band for me were the FUTUREHEADS. Having loved their debut album, I followed them avidly for the next decade, both live and on recording. Suddenly, and with little warning, they stopped returning my calls and eventually it was evident they were no more.

But fast forward to early 2019 and an unheralded press release announcing that, in an act of Lazarus like proportions, the band had come back to life. Not only that, they had a new album in the can and would be gigging to boot. Suffice to say, having recently caught them on stage in Cardiff recently, I can attest that they have returned better then ever. So when the chance came to put some questions to lead singer BARRY HYDE about the bands past, present and future, it was not something I was going to miss out on.

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

· First up, how's life treating you at the moment?
Life is going well thanks. It’s great to be doing the band again and extremely excited to be releasing a new album at the end of Summer. I have three beautiful children and a wonderful partner and am enjoying teaching music. I am fully re-infatuated with electric guitars. Which is nice.

· Can you tell me about your earliest musical influences and why they first got you into music?
Music was a big part of our childhood due to the fact that my parents were music lovers. Especially my father. I have vivid memories of hearing all sorts growing up. Music was a special event, something to be actively engaged with, not just in the background. It was the star of the show. I recall hearing the Cocteau Twins, Velvet Underground, The Proclaimers, Virginia Astley, XTC. I know we were lucky to brought up in that environment, it gave me and brother a huge advantage when we became musicians later in life, we had highly developed ears so to speak, and found making music to be a natural, fun and accessible activity.
It was hearing ‘sunshine of your love’ by Cream in a cheesy American style diner in Newcastle that made me want to be a guitarist though. I was about 14 and was desperate for a girlfriend but was terrified of girls! My thinking was ‘if I could play that song then I would get a girlfriend no problem’, I went home and straight to friend's house, he had a cheap guitar, I worked the riff out from memory. Well, kind of. Then I was hooked. Didn’t get a girlfriend though!

· I think I'm right in saying the Futureheads formed back in 2000.  How did that come about?
The band formed in a very natural way. I had been back packing round western Europe with friends in September that year and got the ‘wanderlust’. I had been in several bands already but had ever rarely written anything or sung. I wanted to form a band that would be good enough to tour abroad. Within a year and half the band was touring Germany and started making waves in the UK indie scene. It was an extremely exciting time, the early days, I felt like we were doing something new and vivid. I feel like that again now with the new record ‘Powers’.

· Your initial album gained commercial success, culminating in a top ten position for "Hounds of Love".  How do you now remember those heady days, touring with the likes of the Pixies and Foo Fighters?
It was amazing. Like a dream. But If I’m honest we always felt like imposters in the house of success and I can’t quite put my finger on why that was. I wish we had been more confident and pushy. Four canny lads from the North East of England flying on Foo Fighters' private jet, it was surreal. Pixies were simply amazing. What songs!! We were flying all of the world and I must say we always delivered the goods and performed with undoubtable passion. When Hounds hit we were actually away from the country in America building a fan base. It felt like we were on a different planet!

· Was there any resentment that, after all the stellar songs you wrote, the band was best known for a cover version?
No. It has never felt like that because the aspects of our version that people loved were our own creation. We ‘owned’ it and did something with it that nobody else could. You never get tired of getting a massive response to one of your songs, whether you wrote it or not. In fact Beginning of the Twist was equally as successful as Hounds in terms of radio play etc and we have a bunch of bona fide anthems. 

· The second album "News and Tributes" was not as well received.  Is it true the band were close to breaking up at this point?
In fact that's not true, the album got decent reviews across the board. I think it was more a case that the album was too sophisticated and not as ‘instant’ as our first record. It’s our best sounding album, the tonality is very luscious and interesting. It never got close to splitting the band up, not even remotely. We just cracked on and made a new album. 

· You last release before the band was put on hold was the entirely a cappella "Rant" which received a fairly mixed reception.  I think you even said at the time that any Futureheads fan that didn't get Rant was not a Futureheads fan!  How do you view the album in retrospect? 
We love ‘Rant!’. I was tremendous fun to tour! Not carrying any amps was also rather nice for our backs! After ‘The Chaos’ we felt like we had exhausted the esoteric potentials of electric guitars and really needed to take a break from it. Rant naturally evolved and we followed our instincts. We had the pleasure of performing the album at Durham Cathedral, which was incredible! Again, I disagree that the album had a ‘mixed reception’, it was well received. I’m not sure why you would make that statement! If you are implying that it didn’t receive 5* reviews across that board, well, no albums do really. 

· What was the catalyst for the band subsequently going on hiatus?

After Rant! we found ourselves a bit lost to be honest, making a typical ‘heads album just seemed like a lazy option but we also didn’t know which direction to take. I became extremely depressed and started soul searching, and became a spiritual maniac. Eventually I had to go to hospital to heal. I was given medication that made my life extremely hard. On my third stay in hospital I called a break on the band. 

· The following years I know were a personal struggle and you have been very honest and open about suffering from bipolar.  I suspect that it's not something that is 'cured', but do you feel you are now more able to recognise the warnings signs and deal with the situation accordingly?
The thing to remember about diagnosis is that it is essentially an intelligent guess. I was never fully convinced as the doctor that diagnosed me also gave me the meds that really fucked me up. The most important step is acceptance of one's own madness and live in harmony with it. Teaching has really helped me. And Cindy my partner, since meeting her my life has become much more stable and I have been able achieve a great deal. She inspires me everyday. I feel very grateful that the band has been able to reform and run with it again, obviously it’s different now, but we are enjoying having it in our lives again!

· Did the jobs you took in the interim (as a chef and a music tutor) assist in your recovery?

100 percemnt, although if I had stayed a Chef I probably would have lost my mind again. Crazy job! I did love it but felt I was a bit too old to really make a go of it, I think you have to start young to really excel in that industry. It was a part time job. 50 hours a week! Crazy. I did nothing but drink coffee and smoke cigarettes, it was not sustainable for me. One day I realised ‘what am I doing making scotch eggs and sausage rolls everyday?’. I started teaching when I was 15 so it was a natural endeavour for me. Due to reputation I was able to succeed very rapidly in education. When you get firm positive signals in life it’s important to explore those avenues. I adore sharing knowledge. 

· Around this time you released a solo album "Malody".  Did you find the writing and recording of these songs somehow cathartic?
Recording Malody was really challenging as I was the artist/producer/arranger and was working alone most of the time. It was a very ‘bity’ experience because I couldn’t do too many sessions in a row because of other commitments. I think all musical art is some kind of catharsis for the writers, but in this case, with it being a very personal album it was really important that I did it. I realised that the ‘malody suite’ was like a portable therapy session for me, allowing me to revisit, in a sense, the absolute worst period in my life and then ‘leave it on the stage’. It was very helpful. I found the bouts of touring for that record to be quite lonely at times, and stressful being my own tour manager/driver. I once drove to Brighton from Sunderland and did a gig, carrying a 10st keyboard then drove for a few hours after the gig to get to my hotel, which was half way between Brighton and the place I was playing the day after. It was torrential rain and I kept getting lost because of indecipherable diversion symbols. It was terrifying. I almost was crying. A man in his mid 30s. 

· What was the catalysts for the band to reconvene now?
It’s quite simple really. I was offered a gig in London playing some Futureheads stuff, the promoter was very persistent and twisted my arm, so to speak. I was persuaded and I loved it. Subsequently I booked a load of other gigs. Which brought about a conversation with the band and we decided to get together in a rehearsal room and enjoyed it. It was a bit ‘start/stop’ at first but eventually we were cooking on gas and working really hard to make the best possible album we could. 

· Given the current musical landscape, do you see a possible renaissance for guitar driven bands?
Guitars come in and out of fashion periodically, it’s like a dance between guitars and synths. By the middle of every decade there is a new variation of guitar music after several years building up to some kind of relevancy. We are seeing the early moments of a resurgence with bands like Idles and Fontaines D.C, two bands that I really enjoy. You can’t destroy the human beings love for a good guitar riff!
If you think about it the decade prior to the one we are in is always seen as unfashionable then it resurges. As we enter the 20s I expect the 00s to resurge and been seen in an increasingly favourable light. There was some great music being made and we will be celebrated I hope as purveyors of the ‘good shit’, I think the longevity of our songs speaks for itself really. 

· What was it like playing live together again after such a gap and are you enjoying being back on the road with the rest of the band?
It took a few gigs to get the hang of it again. About ten minutes in to the third gig it clicked. We have now done 10 gigs after reforming and we are playing as well as we ever have, possibly better because we have all grown as musicians and blokes. The audiences have been proper listening crowds, perhaps not as much moshing as before, but to be honest that always distracted me because people are seemingly getting hurt. We went away for 5 days and it was I think tricky at times  being away from home but the atmosphere between us was really lovely and we worked our arses off every night!


· Do you see yourself back for the long haul or are you just seeing how things progress before making a full time commitment?
I don’t imagine we will do this ‘full time’ or really see the need for us to aim for that. We could get by being in the band and doing nothing else but music, but in fact I love teaching music. I see it as a complimentary arrangement. I have enhanced kudos as a teacher because I’ve realised 6, soon to be 7 albums as a professional musician and teaching makes me a more capable musician. It feeds into itself very well. We all have outside interests and that is very healthy. Nobody gigs on a Monday morning!!

· New track "Jekyll" is a quintessential Futureheads song, but it also seems quite dark and haunting.  Is it representative of the rest of the new album?
My intention with the riff of Jekyll was try and see of I could write a prog-punk motif that would almost break my fingers and brain. It almost worked. Yes, it has a very dark tonality. In fact it contains partials of two different symmetrical scales. I’m very conscious of contributing songs ‘that haven’t been written before’, whether it be structurally, harmonically or rhythmically. Or some cases all three at once. I was extremely surprised that that track became a favourite to release first as a ‘come back single’. It is, I guess, one of the most uncompromising songs on the record and I’m glad we released it first as it sets a bold precedent moving forward. I’m really excited to release the album and the next few singles! I’m really, really happy with what we have created for this album. It is the culmination of every single bit of knowledge and skills that we have been able to summon. All of our powers.


· Are you planning a full blown tour to promote the release of the album in late August or will the next dates be those at Christmas celebrating the 15th anniversary of your eponymous debut CD?
We are doing a couple of shows to promote the album release and a good amount of festivals also. It’s strange because in some ways I know we all feel like a new band, at least perhaps in terms of attitude and creativity it feels very fresh, but we also have a legacy that allows to play festivals in decent slots and a load of hits to offer. I’ve never felt that band was just about our cover version of ‘Hounds’ but I would be foolish to say that its success isn’t important to the bands existence a and legacy. That would be like saying that Led Zep are just about ‘Stairway to Heaven’, it's just not true. We have Decent Days, Meantime, Skip to the End, Beginning of the Twist, Heartbeat Song and The Old Dunn Cow amongst others, we always made the best possible music that we could at any given time, despite of any personal issues. The debut is 15 this year and we a playing 6 big gigs to celebrate just before Christmas. Which will be class!

· Thanks Barry for taking the time to do this and, before I finish, is there anything else you'd like to get off your chest?
My chest is pretty clear, obviously we are living in an utterly bizarre period in history, I haven’t got a bloody clue what is life on earth is going to be like in 20 years time. Don’t get me started on politics. We are being led by the least amongst us. The least honest, the least caring, the least accepting bunch of self obsessed narcissistic arseholes the world has EVER scene. Useless career politicians need to be sacked. I would rather have a dictator over this pantomime. A  philosopher humanitarian dictator please. With a really good collection of jazz records, a kind heart but a vitriolic hatred of bankers and corporate whores. That’ll do nicely. 

So, with a new album ready to be unleashed and gigs on the way, do yourself a favour and ensure you re-establish your love affair with the Futureheads.


wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?