What pain is harder to endure, that of being a sensitive, sophisticated indie-rock-listening kid or that of having to endure those sensitive sophisticates every time you leave the house? If you vote for the latter, Future Of The Left is on your side. The Welsh band’s sophomore release, Travels With Myself And Another, fires up the crackling guitars and stomach-slugging rhythms as ex-Mclusky singer-guitarist Andy Falkous’ black humor chips away at everything from pop culture to self-important windbags. In advance of the band’s stop tonight at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg, Falkous spoke with The A.V. Club about how straightening your hair could quite possibly be the worst offense in music ever.
The A.V. Club: Mclusky didn’t get much attention until after it broke up, and some fans and critics seem more interested in Future’s 2007 release Curses than Travels. Are you cursed to always be a few steps ahead of your audience?
Andy Falkous: On one level, it’s deeply insulting and fuck 'em all. On another level, it makes it even more of a challenge. Believe me, if anybody has high standards for this band, it’s this band. We have a huge and furious personal pride that informs and double guesses every decision we could possibly make long before it gets to the ears of any so-called fans. We’re far more critical than anyone else.
AVC: Do you ever feel that humor and pathos in your music gets overshadowed by the notion that you’re a grumpy band?
AF: It’s understandable, partly. We tell the truth as we see it without being grossly insensitive. It’s not like we walk up to people dressed in Batman suits, poke them in the back and say, “I dislike your shoes!” It’s none of that, but when people ask you direct questions, you give a direct answer. Onstage, we like to talk to our audience, but similarly, we don’t broker no shit. If there’s a bunch of kids or men or beasts or women acting like fucks at our shows, we’re going to take umbrage with them. I think it’s harsh to describe us as grumpy. I think it’s just because we don’t sit there with sickly sweet grins kissing ass all day.
AVC: On your band’s MySpace blog and in interviews, you’re outspoken about a lot of bands and music trends. Why do you think so few of your contemporaries are willing to speak out like you do?
AF: People are scared of getting their fucking heads kicked in. I think people are scared of real conflict. “We’re a punk band and we’re raging against society. By the way, we’re on Sony BMG.” To try to put yourself off as the genuine alternative, and actually confront the things that are actually mediocre in art is difficult. The industry in general discourages it. The amount of times I’ve been caught in interviews slagging off other bands that are on [FOTL's label] Beggars! “Maybe you shouldn’t have said that.” Well, maybe you shouldn’t have signed us.
AVC: You’re particularly unrelenting about the latest crop of commercially friendly indie bands in the United Kingdom.
AF: They get onstage and you think, “That guy spent an hour doing his hair. What worth does he have as a man?” In all seriousness, you don’t have anything else to do? Read a book, learn to garden, for God’s sake, do some work with the disabled—anything but straighten your hair. How desperate are these people to get laid? If you want to get laid, listen to a woman’s problems, occasionally say, “I’ve never heard anyone express that in that way,” and brush your teeth. You don’t need to bore us with your stupid boring music and your poxy tight jeans.