Rising DIY garage punks False Advertising are rightly turning heads with their unique blend of feral grunge, and slacker rock. Live, Jen Hingley and Chris Warr swap vocal, guitar and drumming duties, while Josh Sellers anchors them on bass. NME caught up with the hook-heavy fuzz freaks at NME and Zig-Zag’s CineJam event in their home city of Manchester, where they supported Everything Everything.
How does it feel to have Everything Everything hand-pick you for their Manchester CineJam event?
Josh: “Humbling. We’ve been fans of theirs since ‘Man Alive’ came out, so to hear them first bigging us up on BBC Introducing, then inviting us to play here blew our minds. They were in the audience of a showcase we played last year, so I guess we must have made an impression.”
You released your latest EP, ‘I Would Be So Much Happier If I Just Stopped Caring’ as a glittery cassette and download in October. What inspired it?
Jen: “One of the songs – ‘It’s Been A While’ – isn’t even our lyrics. We got invited to contribute to an album called ‘Three Minute Heroes’. The purpose is to give young people an anonymous outlet to say what they want, with a focus on mental health.”
Josh: “It was to bring awareness to the fact there’s no shame in dealing with mental health issues. Those people wrote whatever was on their mind, and then they could hear it back from a band championing those words. It’s a special thing to be part of.”
Chris: “On the track ‘Honest’, the lyrics to the chorus are ‘Broken record, yeah’ repeated, but they were originally ‘Fucking Donald Trump’. I changed it because we were going to South By Southwest (SXSW), and we were worried that we wouldn’t get into America. I like people who commentate on capitalist society, like Noam Chomsky, so that’s what usually influences my lyrics.”
Jen: “I basically watched a hell of a lot of Fox News after Brexit. We were all convinced it wouldn’t happen that I felt there was a whole other side to people’s political views I wasn’t aware of. I know it’s an extreme version, but I watched Fox News in the run-up to the American election, because I was shocked about how blasé and racist they were. So the song ‘Not My Fault’ is about how that merges with your own desensitisation of political culture. And then ‘Hey You’ was about experiences of feeling held back in my life and music career because of something that’s out of my control – namely my gender.”
What challenges have you faced?
Jen: “The things that stick in my head are the ones that are so stupid and minor. I’ve been lucky not to have anything horrendous happen. Recently when Josh and I were loading gear from our practice room into the gig venue, I was carrying a bass amp. And somebody started yelling at Josh, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you’re letting your girlfriend carry your gear for you!’. Not even thinking that a girl could be in a band! And that really pissed me off.”
Josh: “We were heckled at a soundcheck recently by a misogynistic, bigoted old man.”
Jen: “Somebody who drove us told us, ‘I don’t like the female voice, therefore I won’t like your band’. On the first night we met him. I had to put up with him for three days, but you get stuff like that all the time. It’s ingrained in some levels of society.
Have you encountered any sexism from other bands?
Jen: “We don’t come across that too often. I won’t name names but I had an experience recently where there was a band that had supported us who I went to see. They didn’t remember who I was – which is fine – but they made me feel like I was there to try and sleep with them. That made me feel like shit.”
Tackling mental health, Brexit, and railing against gender stereotyping feels very 2017…
Chris: “I think one of the reasons we got into music was as a form of catharsis and escapism.
Jen: “It’s our way of coping with the world. I was reading an interview with Idles where they said they put all their anger and frustration into their songs – because they don’t want to be angry in our lives. We can relate to that. We take that frustration and tear up rooms.”
Chris: “We’re like a sonic stress ball.”
What have been the most surreal moments of 2017 for you?
Jen: “Going to America to play SXSW. Getting played on Radio 1 and 6Music was a big one, because we’re an independent DIY band.”
Chris: “One of the most surreal things was a fan travelled 50 miles from Birmingham to Derby to see us, missed his train home, and stayed up all night in a McDonalds – just to see us. So we ended up playing his 21st birthday party in his living room.
Jen: “We met The Cribs this weekend, and they’d heard of us, which was really cool. It’s really cool when you play with people you admire, like Demob Happy, and they like your stuff.”
What’s next for you?
Josh: “We’re going into the recording studio on January 2 to work with Luke Pickering, who’s assistant engineer to Paul Epworth.”
Jen: “We’ve written over 30 songs so we’re going in with the mentality of making an album. After this gig, we’re in album mode.”