The Futureheads: in good voice

Sunderland's finest at the Station Sessions 2012

Photographer:Jennifer Hayes

Chris Swindells - 12 April 2012

Where did it all go so right?” Ross Millard asks with a titter. The Futureheads are waiting for what will be their first, and most likely last, performance in a train station.

It suits us quite well because what we’ve done with this new record is a cappella so it’s a little bit busky, there’s folk elements to what we’re doing, it works brilliantly for a place like this.” Reeling off places an a cappella set could work beyond St Pancras International Station, effervescent bassist David Craig adds: “Taxi ranks, bus shelters, just travel portals! It’s portable, that’s one of the joys of it.

A cappella from the Mackem lads famed for singles like ‘Meantime’ and ‘Skip To The End’? It’s a diversion certainly, but the four-piece who have slowly been chipping away at bringing garage rock to stadium sized shows insist it’s evolution, not revolution.  

"I think it’s important for us – you get so far, you make so many records as the same band and I think you need an experience that takes you out of that world a little bit, as a musician as much as anything else, so it broadens your horizons more than anything else.” Ross says.

It’s fair to say the track to today’s session, under the watch of St. Pancras’ 2012 Olympic rings, hasn’t been without its delays. The journey for a band who left their label to go independent in 2006 is one of investment and slowly-reaped rewards. It’s still all to play for with their fifth album 'Rant', out earlier this month, and touring the record is not something they’re taking lightly.

Those who don’t want to see the result should look away now: “We’re trying to do it all completely differently, so the set will half a cappella, and the other half will be acoustic but it will be with cellos, and banjos, mandolins, percussion and 12-string acoustic.” Ross explains, “We’re trying to make the whole thing as different from the normal show as we can."

Then practice makes perfect: “We were trying to warm up for the album in the car. It was like Wayne’s World’s Bohemian Rhapsody singing, but not as cool basically.” Ross reveals, before explaining how the tour will take in new venues for the band, including London’s Union Chapel. They’ll then return to a favourite festival haunt, Camden Crawl: "We’ll probably do one or two different songs for that, after the tour. It’s always good to play Camden Crawl."

Beyond that, the band are keen to play festival shows, though they admit they might be booked for some totally different events to usual. David explains how their days paying for festivals came to an end, after a memorable Leeds Festival in 1999. "Barry and I were sharing a tent, there was a thunder storm on the first night and the tent collapsed. All our stuff got completely soaking wet. We had to share a one man tent for the rest of the entire festival."

Ross laughs as he remembers the scene, "We had one guy cooking pasta and wine on his little stove and they were like hanging around him all the time.

Until now sitting quietly in the corner, frontman Barry offers: "We went to Wetherspoons and had a mixed grill before we went and thought that would do us for the weekend."

How far did that get them? "The train."


Catch The Futureheads live this summer for the following set of shows:

April 12 Glee Club, Nottingham

April 13 Royal College of Music, Manchester

May 5 Camden Crawl 2012

June 21st Red Hot Chili Peppers  - Stadium of Light, Sunderland


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