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September 2020

False Advertising: "We're not just making scrappy grunge music!"

Manchester trio False Advertising are stepping up with their new album, 'Brainfreeze'.
Published: 11:59 am, November 04, 2019Words: Linsey Teggert.
False Advertising: "We're not just making scrappy grunge music!"

From scrappy garage recordings to tracking an album in one of the world's most significant music studios, False Advertising have come a long way since their humble beginnings on the Manchester open-mic circuit.

The trio, consisting of Jen Hingley on vocals, guitar and drums, Josh Sellers on bass and Christopher Warr on drums, vocals and guitar, have garnered attention with their chaotic, instrument-swapping live shows and strong DIY ethic, but with the release of their new record 'Brainfreeze' via the brilliant Alcopop record label, it feels like the stage is set for much bigger things.

"We were 100% DIY in the way we wrote, recorded, produced and released for those first few years," explains Jen. "Chris and I had worked together on music previously, and he was working as a producer at the time, so we formed a kind of agreement that he would produce the music, I would do the artwork and visuals, we'd both play guitar and drums and we'd both sing. We figured we knew enough between us to make it work, but we quickly realised there were things we couldn't do on our own, for example, we needed a bass player!"

"Bear in mind that neither Jen or myself played drums when we started," adds Chris. "When we wrote our first tracks we'd programme the drum parts, then learn those programmed parts. We felt that being amateurs actually inspired us to try things a trained drummer wouldn't necessarily do - we were willing to take risks. I like to think our craft has improved since then, though!"

Though DIY values are central to False Advertising as a band, they certainly weren't going to turn down opportunities that came their way, or as Chris puts it "we weren't going to be DIY to the point of cutting our nose off to spite our faces."

So when Luke Pickering, assistant engineer to leading UK producer Paul Epworth at The Church Studios, was looking for a project, it was an offer they couldn't refuse. Thus, the band found themselves recording 'Brainfreeze' during studio downtime between Christmas and New Year 2017/2018, recording sessions after Mumford & Sons (who don't work on a weekend apparently) and Madonna. "I used Madonna's pink vocal booth!" laughs Chris.

The resulting record shows off False Advertising's multi-faceted sound to its vibrant full potential. While they fall under the 'alt-rock' umbrella, the band navigate along a wide musical spectrum that takes in everything from pop-punk, grunge, slacker-rock and Britpop. The record's lead single 'Influenza' is a prime example of this, with Jen's sugary yet self-assured vocals complimenting the bouncy rhythms and lurching hooks.

"We had more flexibility with how we could make things sound. It allowed us to be broader with our structures and try things we wouldn't have otherwise. We didn't go into the studio thinking we were going to come out with an album that sounded like three people playing and recording in a garage! We wrote songs in the past knowing we were going to do that, and we were happy with the results even if they were simple and abrasive, because that's what it was."

It's perhaps the initial 'simple and abrasive' approach that has led to the term 'grunge' being thrown around a lot in descriptions of the three-piece, which, given the scope of their sound, does them a disservice.

"I love a lot of grunge music, but personally I've never been a massive fan of Nirvana, and we seem to get compared to them a lot. Though I'm a massive Smashing Pumpkins fan and I'm obsessed with the way Siamese Dream sounds, it's one of the best sounding guitar albums ever," muses Jen.

"There's so much in the grand scheme of alternative music to draw from, that I can't help but think the grunge comparison is a bit lazy," she adds. "I realise we've always played to the simpler side of how we present ourselves, but now parts of what we're doing are presented in a much cleaner way. I hope that people will see that we've evolved and we're not just making scrappy grunge music!"

Speaking to Jen and Chris, it's apparent that both are incredibly modest about their achievements thus far. The band have blazed their way through the underground scene, working tirelessly with a string of self-released demos, singles and EPs under their belt.

They've already reached some pretty incredible goals, including playing SXSW and South Korea's Zandari Festa, and being invited by The Cure legend Robert Smith to play his edition of Meltdown Festival. They've also found a loyal fan in Jamie Lenman, who invited them to play his 'Lenmania' gigs, with Jen even singing Reuben's 'Good Luck' with Jamie.

"I should be more confident, but I'm still bewildered by the fact we got to record 'Brainfreeze' the way we did," Jen admits. "We've already done way more than we ever thought we could, and we feel so lucky. It's taken incremental steps, but we've been prepared to work, and the more you put in, the more you get back." With the release of 'Brainfreeze', it's time for False Advertising to shine, and it couldn't be more deserved. 

Taken from the November issue of Upset. False Advertising's album 'Brainfreeze' is out 8th November.

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