We last spoke to Manchester trio False Advertising in the sun-drenched fields of the Cotswolds at 2000 Trees Festival. The weather is turning now, and festival season is well and truly over but False Advertising are gearing up for the exciting release of their debut album, Brainfreeze, as well as embarking on a headline tour. We recently spoke to vocalist/guitarist/drummer Jen Hingley about everything Brainfreeze and what False Advertising’s world is looking like right now.
In the months since Trees the band have kept themselves busy; “Chris [Warr, drummer/vocalist/guitarist], has had a baby, it all went really well, and he now has a little son called Otto. Since then we’ve only played one gig with Chris, it was a festival in Darlington. That was around the time we announced our album and the tour, so we’ve just been working behind the scenes on that, doing music videos and stuff.”
“It’s all been about anticipation for what’s about to happen, we’ve been planning it and working on things to make tour really good and hopefully do the release justice. I think it’ll feel really weird once the album’s out, it’ll just happen and we’ll be like, ‘Oh my goodness, we’ve been working this for so long and now people can finally hear it!’”
In the week leading up to the release, False Advertising aren’t slowing down; they’re spending their time “packaging up all of the pre-orders”. Jen explained that, “You actually see it, see how many people have ordered the album, it’s very, very humbling. It’s really nice that we’ve done something that people care about and want to hear, want to have the physical version of, and things like that.”
While packing up the album orders might sound tedious, Jen assured us that “We’re really glad we’re doing it all ourselves.” She explained that it allows them to personalise each order, something that wouldn’t normally happen if someone corporate did it for them.
Brainfreeze will be False Advertising’s first full-length release as a signed band. Just before the album was announced, they revealed that they’re signed to Alcopop Records, a label that’s been on their radar for a while, Jen describes the feeling of being signed as, “an evolution of everything we’ve ever done.”
“We were happy to continue being independent, we even considered putting this album out completely independently. We were given PRS Momentum funding which put us in a really awesome position of being able to really think though the way that we would release the record.”
“We had a few different things we were considering but after thinking it through, decided that if we went with a label, if we found the right one, we can pool our resources together and we won’t, as a band, have to be figuring out distribution deals. It made sense to focus our efforts on the things that we knew, as a DIY band, we could do really well like artwork and videos and things like that.”
“We spoke to Jack [Clothier] all the way through the process and he said, “I’d love to release the record”, so it just seemed like a really obvious route to go down. We’re really, really happy to be on Alcopop, it’s felt like a really natural progression for us, not like we’ve lost our identity in any way or anything has massively changed.”
As they told us at Trees, this album has been in the works for a while and it “got finished and mastered before it had a name and artwork.” Now that it’s something physical that they can see and hold, we wanted to see how their thoughts towards it have changed.
“Recently we got the test pressing through,” Jen explained. “Obviously, I was kind of concerned when we got it, about what the colour looked like, what the printing was like, what the vinyl was like, all of that. I’m a graphic designer as well as a musician, so all of that stuff was really important to me.”
“We’re at the point where you’ve got the full package and you can kind of look at it and listen to it with all that in mind. You can start to think about how it all works together properly, rather than hoping it’ll all work together in the way that you want it to.”
"We're really, really chuffed with the company that pressed the record and did the printing and everything, they’ve done an amazing job. They’ve really brought what we had in our heads into reality. There’s no part of it, the record, that we’re unhappy with in the end.”
The attention-grabbing album cover, a melting ice cream on a plain purple background, ties in with the main theme of the album.
“The album artwork came from the idea of self-indulgence. We sat down and thought about how the songs sat together on the album and what themes tie them together as a whole. When we started thinking about the visuals, we had that in our heads. I spent loads of time thinking about ideas and weirdly, came back to a bit of artwork that we did for ‘You Said’, which came out last summer.”
“Based on the themes around that song, we decided to shoot a bottle rocket. It’s shot in a very different way to the album stuff but thematically it’s a state change, like a bottle being shaken up and exploding. I thought along those lines, things that are sweet, things that are sickly being destroyed or having their state irreversibly changed.”
“To us, it tied into the idea of self-indulgence because something well-intentioned can, left to its own devices, change.”
The idea of self-indulgence struck us in ‘Uncomfortable’, and the lyrics got us thinking about the way women can feel in the heavy music scene. Jen explained that, “‘Uncomfortable’ is about someone just really annoying me by being unfair. That is someone acting out of self-indulgence, if you know what I mean?” While not necessarily about women in music, she said “that’s certainly something that probably influenced the lyrics in some way.”
“It is frustrating. In our band, we’re all in this together; Chris and I literally play the same instruments, we swap places and do the same thing. I don’t think that, in our band, there’s any difference between us in the way that we work together based on anything, other than who wants to do what and who’s written something. None of that is down to gender.”
“Chris will sing what suits his vocal range and I’ll sing in a certain way that suits my vocal range. That’s just what it is, you know?”
“I try not to think about it too much but if something bad happens that’s caused by people’s preconceptions or dinosaur views, I do feel that it’s right to speak up about it. Raising these things is going to draw attention to the fact that people do have weird built-up preconceptions that negatively affect people who are trying to just do what they want to. If people are made to feel weird or special or put under a microscope like a lot of girls in bands are, it’s going to put them off wanting to do it.”
While ‘Uncomfortable’ is a pretty powerful song, it’s not Jen’s favourite. That would be ‘Reading it Wrong’.
“That is because I’ve always wanted to write a song that had a non-standard structure. Also, I’ve always wanted to do string arrangements. I used to be a violinist, that was my childhood! Getting the opportunity to put strings on the album is crazy.”
“I did all the music notation and thought it through which was fun and a different way of working. I’m really happy with how it turned out as well! That was cool and it makes me want to do loads more string stuff in the future.”
But what does the future hold for False Advertising? “We’re hoping to keep going! We’ve been writing loads and we want to see the record through. There’s life in it yet, we’re not going to immediately move on to something that’s not the album. But we’ve certainly got our eye on putting something out next year, hopefully not too far after, or around, springtime.”
“We’ll hopefully be able to build on what we’ve achieved with this album, whether that’s touring with another band or doing the set of shows ourselves. We’re just looking to further establish ourselves and play to more people, ultimately.”
Brainfreeze is out on 8th November via Alcopop Records. False Advertising embark on their UK later this week. Dates below.