Burning visions from a city of misery, Oakland’s False Figure is part of
a resurgence of dark post-punk in California’s Bay Area featuring members of Adrenochrome and Cruz De Navajas (CDMX) At times chaotic, abrasive and others giving way to melancholic melodies that remain raw and vulnerable
After discovering them during one of my many bandcamp adventures I`ve listened to False Figure quite regularly. I found their social media pages and saw wonderful DIY drenched live show flyers which only made me like them even more, so i figured why not hit them up and see if I can find out more about them?
How long has False Figure been together and who`s in the band?
Andres: FALSE FIGURE has been a three piece from the start, it’s currently Ian on drums, Alex on bass and myself on guitar and vox
Ian: Andres and I started writing songs together about 3 and a half years ago, we met when we were both working as bike messengers in San Francisco. Alex has been holding down the bass for around 2 years. He’s a true rocker and a perfect fit, most skilled rhythm section partner I’ve ever had in any band.
Your sound is clearly inspired by the 80s scene yet it`s not simply a copy paste job. Besides the goth/deathrock scene where else do you find inspiration?
Andres: Black metal and melodic death metal. I’m hardly involved in the metal world today but when I was young, maybe 15/16 I was introduced to At The Gates when my friend pulled out Terminal Spirit Disease on CD at the record store in town and told me to listen to it. I probably listened to Forever Blind on that disc every day for the next year. I wanted to play melodies like that but it would take me a long time to evolve past power chords. The desire was always there. After my last band ended I started writing melodic fast riffs in minor scales not sure how I wanted to play them, they could’ve easily been black metal riffs but slowed down to a surf beat you get the melodic post punk that is early False Figure. I still write stuff sometimes that I realize sounds too close to the opening riff of I am the Black Wizards by Emperor.
Ian: I grew up with a lot of classic rock and 80’s punk music, shit like Tom Petty, Thin Lizzy, Husker Du, R.E.M., so my answers are always a lil “out there” for this band. Andres writes the hot riffs and I try to give him the right beat, the one the kids can dance to. I’ve played in a lot of straight up punk bands and what I like about False Figure is that I can explore all the beats of the other music I care about, specifically 80’s new wave beats, like stuff from The Cure, U2, Blondie, The Outfield. Again, my taste is kinda weird, but percussion-wise, that shit lands.
Is there a story behind the band`s name?
Andres: Ian and our old bass player had come up with it, I was set on other ideas that weren’t as catchy but we had to record and had a show coming up so we went with it. It worked for me because it various interpretations that didn’t sound like we were a try hard goth band. False Figure initially sounded like a false authority or something pertaining to the state which was relevant to a lot of the lyrics. Much of our early songs like Cardinal Cross are exclusively about being murdered by the state for insubordination. It can still be perceived in a spooky context too I guess, False Figure could be like an apparition. Alliteration is good too, so it’s a pretty versatile name that hopefully sticks in people’s minds.
Ian: Yeah. I came up with it when I was walking my dog with our first bass player. He wanted something that started with “F”. I said False Figure. It’s pretty open ended, make of it what you will, but I saw it as a reflection on all the masquerade’s in the waking world.
You released your EP “a promised end” this June, what was the writing and recording process like and how long did it take from start to finish?
Andres: We came back from a full US tour in summer of 2018 and hit the ground running with new songs. We kinda felt like exploring different sides of our skillset and didn’t wanna write the same songs over and over. Ian got the disco beat down and the guitar took more of a backseat. Except in Morningstar, that song is all gas all the time and gotta be dialed on guitar and vocals to play it perfectly live. That one is kind of the pinnacle of the old False Figure style. We had 4 songs that we had been playing live which was most of our set so we booked a day with our friend Kevin and laid down all the tracks in a day.
Ian: We banged that shit out boom boom boom.
Is this your first venture into music or have any of you been part of other things in the past?
Andres: I’ve been playing music since I was a teenager but none of my bands ever really did a whole lot. I joined a friends power violence band in high school but shortly after our drummer disappeared and stopped coming to school so I never got to play shows with them. I would jam with friends when I could but didn’t have a practice space again til I was 21 and started a band called Cop-Out with my old roommate John on bass and my good friend Evan on drums with me singing and playing guitar. I was going for Reatards/Oblivians/Goner and In the Red records style garage rock, real fast real loose pure energy. San Francisco had a big garage rock scene at the time with John Dwyer starting the Oh Sees and Ty Segall blowing up on his own. Aside from that there were a bunch of bad garage/power pop bands. All of that stuff felt disingenuous to me though. In my mind it was a bunch of art school cool kids where the look was more important than the sound and it showed. Cop-Out never really did much though. We finally recorded a demo 2 years after we started. 10 songs, never released on physical media. Our bass player moved suddenly to LA and we never replaced him.
Ian: I’ve been playing in bands since I was 14. I’ve been in a bunch of punk bands. Kinda too many to list and most spent time on the road but didn’t get anywhere. I play bass and guitar too but my chops are at drums.
Are any of you involved in other projects, if so, which ones and how do they differ from False Figure?
Andres: Alex and I currently play in a band called Adrenochrome which is in a similar vein, post punk but with more anarcho punk roots featuring Gina Marie from Otzi on vox and Brianne Hanshaw from Kurraka, and also Alex’s wife, on drums. I play guitar alongside my friend Javier as well in a band called Mala Muerte. It’s reverb and delay drenched slow jangly guitar sad songs in spanish. They’re songs Javier wrote maybe 6 or 7 years ago that he asked me to jam along too. We’re writing new songs and looking to re-record the the old stuff with the current lineup. And Alex isn’t here to chime in but he also plays in the Mexican darkwave post punk band Cruz de Navajas until they recently broke up. He’s currently working on something else thats similar I believe.
Ian: I play drums for Cher Struaberry in Twompsax and her solo project. It’s trans riot-grrl music. We’ve been touring heavily and have new records coming out in the winter. I’m also playing guitar in a new band called Prism, rocker post-punk stuff, we just recorded a demo last week and will be playing shows this winter.
How long until you grace us with a full length album?
Andres: When someone gives us money to record it and put it out for us. Putting out records is expensive but when people care enough about it to give you label support it can ease the burden. In the meantime we record little by little. Expect an EP featuring new stuff regularly. When those pick up traction we’ll focus our efforts on a cohesive release.
The last word is yours, feel free to cover anything we may have missed or promote whatever you`ve got coming up in the near future!
Andres: I really wanna thank James from Transylvanian Tapes for putting out A Promised End on tape for us. He’s been a huge supporter of False Figure for a couple years and was really excited to put this tape out. It’s really cool to be put out on a label that does mostly metal because I know metal dudes know their shit and that’s the audience feedback I wanna listen to. It’s important for me to have your music be approved across genres, I like when I listen to a band in a scene I don’t really listen to and like it. It makes me feel like I’m learning something I’ve never understood before and it makes the world seem closer. James also put out a lot of friend’s bands so to be included in that party feels really good.
We still have copies of our tape available for international shipping through him at:
Our LP and 7″ are available through our bandcamp: falsefigure.bandcamp.com
We can be found on Instagram and Facebook as well where we post most of our updates @Falsefigure
Ian: Don’t let the bastards get you down.