10 questions for False Advertising’s Jen Hingley

There are very few EPs whose titles we agree with more than the latest effort from UK fuzz-rockers False Advertising - I Would Be So Much Happier If I Just Stopped Caring.

Yet the Manchester-based three-piece provide a host of reasons to pay attention, not least the guitar work of Tele-wielding Jen Hingley - the niece of Inspiral Carpets frontman Tom Hingley, no less - who delivers the kind of riffs that will have fans of ’90s alt-rock digging plaid shirts back out of wardrobes.

Ahead of the band’s upcoming UK tour, we caught up with Jen to hear all about her priceless guitars, Big Muff love and the dangers of swapping instruments mid-gig…

1. What was your first guitar and when did you get it?

“It was a three-quarter scale white Vox Meteor from the ’60s. I'm not sure exactly where it came from as my dad is a serial guitar collector, but it appeared when I was about four years old. I don't think I really knew what to do with it at the time, but it definitely looked cool!”

2. The building’s burning down - what one guitar do you save?

“It's gotta be my Seafoam Green limited-edition Fender Telecaster that I've had for a year and played pretty much exclusively. That thing has been with me through some absolute times - it would be a shame to lose it under such sad circumstances.”

3. What's the one effects pedal you couldn't do without, and why?

We have three fuzz pedals on the 'board and the Big Muff is the only one I would never consider changing

“I want to say something cooler and more boutique like the Z.Vex Fuzz Factory (it's my favourite, but can't find a use for it on my 'board outside of the studio), but it's actually got to be the Big Muff. We have three fuzz pedals on the 'board and it's the only one I would never consider changing.”

4. Is there a guitar, or piece of gear, that you regret letting go?

“I've hardly ever really gotten rid of anything music-wise, which means our practice room and my flat is always a mess. I can't even bring myself to part with things I don't even want any more - for example, I have this Gothic SG with humbuckers on it, which is far too metal for our sound, that I need to do something with soon. I'd happily trade that for a normal SG if anyone's interested!”

5. What’s your favourite chord?

“I've really never thought about this until now. I wouldn't say I had a favourite chord, but I have favourite chord shapes. I tend to stick to either very simple, two-note chords. Or, in drop D, I tend to play a basic shape, but missing out the 5th and switching it with the open string and/or the octave above.”

6. Is there an aspect of guitar playing that you'd like to be better at?

“I'd love to get faster at getting new parts for songs up to scratch and ready to play live. I find I can push myself to write better, more imaginative guitar lines when writing and recording, but rehearsing new material alongside the vocal part always takes a very long time to get right. I'm reminded of this whenever we play a new song live for the first time - I'm always guaranteed to make about 1,000 mistakes.”

7. If you could have a guitar lesson from one guitarist, dead or alive, who would it be?

“Prince, obviously.”

8. What item of gear would you take with you to a desert island?

“Is a laptop cheating? Oh, I suppose you wouldn't be able to charge it. If it can't be anything electronic, then I'd just go with a big old notebook and pen. I think with the intense boredom I could probably find a way of writing music in my head and transcribing it into some sort of notation.”

9. What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you onstage?

I hit the end of my left index finger against a drum. The pain and amount of blood was so bad that I actually couldn't play guitar

“If you know anything about False Advertising, you'll probably know that Chris [Warr] and I switch places between drums and guitar. I was drumming my part of the set this weekend at a festival in Hull, and mid-song, hit the end of my left index finger against a drum. The pain and amount of blood was so bad that when we switched back to me being on guitar I actually couldn't play, then had to return to finish the set back on the drums. Not before being escorted to the first aid tent. Not my finest moment - I still can't bend my finger, actually.”

10. What advice would you give your younger self about playing the guitar?

“You know what's good and you have no reason to doubt yourself. Keep your imagination and just start writing; that's the thing that takes the longest to get good at.”

False Advertising tour the UK in September/October:

08 September - Leicester – Soundhouse
15 September - Head For The Hills Festival
22 September - Stowmarket - John Peel Centre
23 September - Norwich - Owl Sanctuary
28 September - London - The Old Blue Last (Free Entry)
29 September - Brighton - Green Door Store
30 September - Chelmsford – Bassment
06 October - Guildford - The Star
07 October - Basingstoke - The Sanctuary
12 October - Manchester - Indie Week Europe
13 October - Durham - The Empty Shop
14 October - Newcastle - Little Buildings
15 October - Sunderland – Independent
20 October - Chester - Live Rooms
21 October - Cardiff - Swn Festival
26 October - Hull - The New Adelphi Club
27 October - Liverpool – EBGB’s
30 October - Birmingham - Sunflower Lounge

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.