If you attended the Reading/Leeds Festival this year, you'd have been rather silly to miss Future Of The Left. Their debut album Curses was big DiS hit last year (a Pluto nominated LP, no less), and new material, showcased at the festival, promises much, much more in the coming months. It's with that in mind that we grabbed ten minutes with frontman Andy Falkous and bassist Kelson Mathias at the Yorkshire leg of said festival to talk music, audience etiquette - and the small matter of our very special DrownedinSound sponsored show in Sheffield this weekend...
Okay then guys, you've been playing some new songs recently, tell us about them...
Andy Falkous (vocals/guitar): Well, we've been writing since we did the last record. With any band's new album, there's always this gestation process where you need to shed a skin, and move on to the next evolution in your writing. We've pretty much done that now, I think. When we wrote the three or four songs we wrote recently, that was the equivalent of writing [Curses' lead single] 'The Lord Hates A Coward' for the first record; that became a benchmark for all of the other songs. Even though a couple of them ultimately surpassed it, that was definitely the moment we realised it would all work. There's a song we've just written called 'Drink Nike', and our new single called 'That Hope That House Built' - anybody hearing them for the first time will recognise the band, but hopefully realise that it's moved on to a different level. Whether it's better or not depends on the individual, but if people like the band, that suggests they trust our judgement.
Do you think your fans have certain expectations of you? I remember when you first toured Curses, a lot people seemed surprised by the use of a keyboard...
AF: Sure, and it's understandable when you consider the characters we were before we formed this band. In terms of the keyboard, Kelson played it when he was in Jarcrew and I just started using it. When we attempted to transpose the songs we were writing on it to guitar, they just weren't the same songs. I had to get over my own associations with it, because generally speaking, the keyboard is an instrument that's used for great evil. But, then, I guess, so is the guitar. I managed to get over that. But at a show in Sheffield, actually, I remember somebody in a Big Black T-Shirt leaving when I started playing the keyboard, which validates everything I've ever tried to do. He just looked at me, sighed with his eyes and upped and fucked off. And they [Big Black] use a drum machine!
Which band is that, sorry?
AF: Big Black...
Oh, the band Big Black, of course. I thought you meant a big black T-Shirt, like, oversized...
AF: That would have been something to ridicule as well.
Kelson Mathias (bass/vocals): What would have been better was if he was big, black and wearing a big, black oversized Big Black T-Shirt.
AF: I've seen a big, black man wearing a tight Big Black T-Shirt before, but he didn't seem concious about what was happening. I think he'd worn it so much it'd become like a second skin.
Video: Future Of The Left, 'adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood'
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You mentioned that incident happened in Sheffield. By coincidence, you're playing there for us this weekend at the DrownedinSound sponsored 2poor2pitch Festival. Are you excited?
AF: Playing Sheffield is usually good. I remember the first time was at the old Barfly, which used to be the old rock museum, or whatever the hell that was, where they had Jimi Hendrix's toenail clippings in a frame on the wall. The people there were nice enough, especially considering it was a Barfly venue. But the best way to get a Sheffield audience going is to remind them you get slightly bigger crowds in Leeds - that immediately creates a better atmosphere.What can we expect from your set?
AF: There'll certainly be three or four of the new songs. Part of the writing process is playing them live and seeing how people react.
KM: You never know how they're going to go down. It's all well and good writing and recording them in the practice room, but it could change in a number of different ways when you play it live as you become more comfortable with the song.
I guess, as well, when it's a place you've played a couple of times, people will want to hear stuff that's not on the album...
AF: There's always a certain proportion of people who will want to hear what we may laughably term 'the hits' but that's understandable. They'll just have to trust us that we're right to play new songs. If we're playing them in the set, it's because we genuinely believe they're better than the existing songs we've got.
Video: Future Of The Left, 'The Lord Hates A Coward (Live @ SXSW)'
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If there was one thing the people of Sheffield could do to ensure you enjoy yourselves on the day, what would it be?
AF: Give us money. Individually, each member of the audience.
KM: Some sort of greeting basket, as if we were new neighbours.
AF: No, just turn up and enjoy yourself in the right way, dance if you need to, shout if you want to, don't get your elbows in peoples' faces and have good heckles. If you're going to shout something out, please come verbally dressed. 'Play a song', 'Turn it up, shouting somebody's name... no.
AF: Nobody shouts get off. If they have, I've never heard it. Or maybe I just blocked it out. I pity the fucking fool who shouts 'get off' in a small club!
Future Of The Left play the DrownedinSound sponsored 2poor2pitch Festival at The Harley in Sheffield on Saturday with Working For A Nuclear Free City and Dinosaur Pile-Up (more information)
DiScuss: Are you going? Excited about such an intimate show? Did you catch them at Reading/Leeds? Heard the new stuff? Would you dare to shout 'get off' at Falco? DiS wouldn't...