By Paola Mancini
This week, we caught up with Falkirk’s very own fuzzy pop outfit, Pleasure Heads to discuss writing during lockdown, their most memorable gig to date and their upcoming single, Cosmopolis which is out this Friday (17th July)! Find out everything below…
In a nutshell, ‘Cosmopolis’ expresses “impassioned desire to break free of digital customs and an appreciation of genuine human interaction”; was this powered by lockdown and the lack of “human interaction”?
We actually wrote an early version of the song well over a year ago, so I suppose it’s quite funny how relevant it is today. In general though, I feel that modern technology, social media in particular, is dividing people rather than bringing them together as the name would suggest. It’s easy to filter into online cliques and hide in these echo chambers, rather than confront the world and see it without the black and white lens. I read about a study from last year that claimed that young people feel lonelier than older generations, and I strongly feel that excessive internet usage and a lack of networking IRL has something to do with this.
How have the band been coping with writing/playing new music through this time?
We’ve actually been surprisingly productive through lockdown. Not every day of course (I myself have been binge watching TV at a rate I’m too embarrassed to admit) however we have been working on a mountain of new material that will hopefully see the light of day when we finally get back to the studio. It has been frustrating not being able to practise as a band, nevertheless it’s a small sacrifice to make for safety and I’m sure we’ve all been practising diligently by ourselves(!)
What are your plans post-COVID, whenever that’ll be?
Performing live is hands down the reason we are all in this band, so as soon as it is sensible to do so, we’ll be back to playing gigs up and down the country, as many as we can handle. It would be good to get back down south and visit some cities we’ve not had the pleasure seeing yet. North of the border, we’re organising a pretty special show, our biggest to date and a culmination of everything we’ve been working on from day one. We’re extremely excited to announce it, but that’s all I can say for now. And of course, there will be plenty of new music on the way this year and beyond.
Was there a planned correlation between using the “Traffic Of The Future Artwork” by German retrofuturist and the song idea focusing on living for the moment and in the now?
Most definitely, we knew when we were recording Cosmopolis that a retro-futuristic piece would be the perfect artwork for the track. For one, the title conjures up images of “cities of the future” which the artstyle almost exclusively depicts, and perhaps the main reason for our selection has to do with retrofuturism’s tone. The scenes always portray the times ahead in idealised terms, where everyone is always smiling and everything is shiny, sparkling and new. You can definitely draw parallels between this optimism and the way that people present themselves online. It’s always a perfect version that is eternally happy, and this distortion of reality can have damaging effects on perceptions of beauty, success and fulfilment. By focusing on yourself, in the here and now, I feel people could be so much happier.
Sadly you had to postpone gig in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Stereo in Glasgow; what has been your favourite city to perform in to date?
It has to be Glasgow, without a shadow of doubt. It’s where we first started gigging properly and ever since then, the crowds have always been wildly supportive. Leeds is another one to note; we played there as part of our northern tour last year and everyone seemed well up for a party. We’ll certainly be down in that neck of the woods again.
We all hope to hear you supporting Neon Waltz again on your Edinburgh & Dundee tour when permitted, but if you had to choose 1 band/artist to support : who would it be?
That really is a tough one, I’m torn between a few but I’d have to say Arctic Monkeys. They were the first band I ever really got into and certainly opened my eyes to the world of music outside of the homogenised Top 40. If it wasn’t for them, I would have never picked up the guitar, so it would only be fitting if we shared a stage.
A message to fans and readers about the impact of smartphones of this generation and tips to avoid hiding behind your phone screen 24/7?
Smartphones have their uses but don’t be sucked into the trap of thinking everything you see on Instagram and Twitter is for real. It’s never been easier to manipulate the truth and spread fabrications straight into your head, so take what you see with a large pinch of salt. The grass is always greener on the other side of the screen.
If you’re trying to avoid your phone, put yourself in a situation where it’s not possible to use it. Take a long walk with only the breeze for company. Meet up with mates for a real life conversation (at a distance of course). Read a book cover to cover. Sooner or later, you’ll get used to not checking for messages and start noticing the time you’ve saved without any mindless scrolling in your life.
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Make sure you pre-save Pleasure Head’s latest single, Cosmopolis here