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. Its 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
· 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. Didnt 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 Im honest we always felt
like imposters in the house of success and I cant 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
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. Its 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
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. Im
not sure why you would make that statement! If you are implying that
it didnt receive 5* reviews across that board, well, no albums
· 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 didnt
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
its different now, but we are enjoying having it in our lives
· 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 its important to explore those avenues. I adore sharing
· 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 couldnt 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?
Its 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
· Given the current musical landscape, do you see a possible
renaissance for guitar driven bands?
Guitars come in and out of fashion periodically, its 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
cant 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
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 dont 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 Ive 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. Im very conscious
of contributing songs that havent 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 Im
glad we released it first as it sets a bold precedent moving forward.
Im really excited to release the album and the next few singles!
Im 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
We are doing a couple of shows to promote the album release and a good
amount of festivals also. Its 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. Ive
never felt that band was just about our cover version of Hounds
but I would be foolish to say that its success isnt 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 havent got a bloody clue what is life on
earth is going to be like in 20 years time. Dont 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. Thatll 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.