Castigations with Andrés Ruiz
Art: Andrés Ruiz
We are a three-piece from Oakland, CA playing brooding, atmospheric post-punk. False Figure began primarily with chaos and dissonance; we’d build tension through feedback, long decays, and melancholic chords that would give way to melody almost begrudgingly. It began as a cathartic project, with Ian (drums) and myself (Andres – vocals, guitar) embracing the chaos of that time.
We’ve always been a jam band to an extent; the majority of our songs written come from our early practice session soundchecks. We picked a key and played riffs around the scale until something caught our ear; by this stage, we had all been able to read each other well and develop some songs we were really into.
False Figure songs have often explored the metaphysical, where our understanding of the chaos of our world ends. This release coincided with a breakup; a lot of the current material explores interpersonal connection and isolation, the pain we cause or bear and the reasons or pathways that create these circumstances and exploring whether catharsis in and of itself is self-destructive.
It feels great to play the music attributed to lived experiences and share it with people who care or can relate to themselves. There’s plenty of great music out there that I’ve felt inspired by; it’s gratifying to know that our songs could be that inspiration for some people.
Music is escapism; it’s my world where I don’t necessarily have to follow the obligations of our dehumanizing society. I’m free to be as good at it or bad at it as I want. I want to play what I like and how I want to sound, and hopefully, people can appreciate it for what it is. I don’t think this is a medium for some end goal. We all have jobs that we have to take to give us the freedom to play music. The balance can be difficult, but there must always be a creative outlet.
I had uncles who were rockers. When I was young, before downloading music was a thing, I’d get CDs from those uncles who turned me onto Metallica, Sepultura, and Rammstein. Eventually, I’d go to their house and burn CDs, then exchange music with friends. I listened to everything in my early teens, Smashing Pumpkins and In Flames; if it were recommended, I’d at least listen to it. Eventually, my tastes would gravitate towards uk82, the d-beat and 90s power violence. Slap a Ham, 625, and prank records significantly influenced me.
I think there’s something gratifying about liking a band that you find objectively good and being in the same room with others who find it objectively good. It gave me a sense of belonging when I felt so alienated, and being part of a larger scene, although I was the youngest of my peers by a lot, felt very validating. I knew from watching my peers that I wanted to play in bands. Music creates a sense of community that encourages people to pursue their crafts, which are immediately shared with the world. A strong music scene creates better artists. A space for musicians and artists is the backbone of a healthy society; it’s getting harder and harder to stay committed; venues are being closed left and right, driven away by greed from hyper-capitalist real estate speculators and their friends in power who abort every reform measure that would give the working people a chance. I don’t blame my friends who’ve hung up their guitars and aspired for a more comfortable life. However, we haven’t yet been enticed by the prospect of giving up.