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Publication: Marmalade, 2005

Lunch is For Wimps: Talking work with the Futureheads

Do you consider being in a band a job?

Dave: Yes. Sometimes, aye. [Thinks] It’s not a job. No way is it a job. You get sick of it like people in offices do. But it’s not the same…

Ross: Sometimes you do them when you’re on tour and always away. Three of us have girlfriends, so to go on tour for six weeks is harsh, in the same way when me mate’s dad goes and works on the rigs for six weeks. In that sense it does become like a job. A lot of things are reduced to routine: soundcheck, play, travel. There are parts of being in a band now that we never entertained when we were younger - stuff like TV, interviews, radio sessions, discussing the artwork. It is part of the creative process, and we’re all control freaks. We’ve become workaholics, inadvertently.

How much time are you prepared to commit to the job of being The World’s Greatest Rock Band?

Ross: All day, every day.

Dave: The other work, apart from the gigs, takes a lot of energy. But it’s just want you’ve got to do.

Ross: Some interviews can be monotonous. You accept that because you’re a new band and a lot of the articles are introductory pieces. Because ‘Hounds of Love’ did so well, we get kids coming up to us for autographs. We’re constantly working. We supposedly just had a week off, but you get accosted in the street and do phoners and stuff. It’s never your own time.

What qualifications can you bring to the position?

Ross: Patience. It’s taken a long time. Five years we’ve been playing together. But at the same time we didn’t do a show outside of the North East for the first 18 months. We were quite content to exist in a self-sustainable capacity.

Are you ambitious?

Ross: In the sense of thinking about the records and how we want it to sound and touring regimes and stuff, we are ambitious, yeah. We went through a period last summer of having nothing tour-wise, and we felt we were meandering and were really gutted about that. We were sitting on our hands at home. So the fact that our touring schedules booked up, that’s a really good feeling. There’s work to be done.

Where do you see yourselves in one week, one year and five years’ time?

Dave: In a week’s time we’ll be in Canada on tour. In a year’s time we’ll have finished the second album. In five years’ time we’ll hopefully be working on our third or fourth album.

Ross: I’d want to have transcended trends and fashion and have a reliable fanbase that can put their faith in us making good music. And not have to worry about being considered cool anymore. And also hopefully, we’ll have got to the point where we can take a substantial amount of time to record the albums, and be comfortable knowing we’re not in debt to anyone. To be independent, really.

What do you consider the advantages and disadvantages of the job?

Dave: The advantages are that we travel the world and see great places and meet loads of nice people and play music for those nice people.

Ross: It doesn’t compute sometimes, playing music for a living.

Dave: the disadvantages is that I’m in a band with my brother and we find it hard sometimes.

Ross: Sometimes?

Dave: All the time. We see too much of each other and it gets a bit hard.

Ross: It’s difficult to keep in touch with friends and family back home. It’s almost like your life has stood still a nothing’s happened apart from a glut of gigs in the middle, and everyone else’s life has moved on. You go home and the stuff you left is in exactly the same place. But it’s not that much of a disadvantage.

What other interests do you have outside of work?

Dave: I love painting. Before I joined the band I dropped out of college and bought a load of paint and stayed in me garage for weeks and painted. Everyday getting up and having a cup of coffee and going to a freezing garage. And drinking. It’s really sad, but I come home from touring and it’s straight into The Ivy to catch up with friends.

Ross: I really love taking photos and getting into the technical aspects of photography and learning about the craft of it. I keep a journal and take a lot of pictures on tour and there’s always reams to sort through. I find it really difficult to switch off from the band.

What skills are required to become The World’s Greatest Rock Band?

Ross: loads of hard work, rehearsing and realising when an idea isn’t going anywhere and being able to scrap it and rework it. You’ve got to be able to control yourself. The personalities of the people in our band also complement each other. We’re all utterly different people. Jaff’s an absolute democrat. If there’s any tension, he’ll calm the situation down. Me and Barry write most of the songs. And we need people like Dave who have the ability to take things with a pinch of salt and not get het up.

Driving licence?

Ross: Jaff drives. He’s the function element of the group.


Ross: We’ve all got girlfriends except for Barry.

What is you current salary?

Ross: we split everything completely equally and pay ourselves a comfortable wage out of our advance.

What do you consider a fair salary for the work?

Ross: I don’t think you should expect to earn that much when you consider the job. There are some elements, like being away from home, that in other professions you get paid extra for, but at the same time, it’s art isn’t it? You compromise for that.

To be successful, do you have to be skint?

Ross: I think you do. At some point, I really do. I think you’ve got to have the hunger and really want to do it.

Congratulations: your application was successful, and we are happy to offer you the position of The World’s Greatest Rock Band. Can you start on Monday?


© Kevin Braddock 2005

All content ©2004 Kevin Braddock

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