False Priest are a giddy image of the muddied world of rock music itself. When you grow up in the '90s – a time when rock still seemed to have some progressive avenues – you learn guitar, you learn affective authenticity, and you learn that rock, to many, is the most legitimate musical outlet.

How then, does a band reared on rock change its tact in a time of social and aesthetic revolt? Rock music is dead. That's no new thing – some of the biggest rockstars on Earth proclaimed it decades ago. Sure, rock may have once been useful. In the '80s it was an affront to Reagan's regime, but today it's a fogyish, obstinate brick in the face of progress. While spitting "fuck Trump" over and over in a two-chord punk song may be fun for some, it effectively does nothing to untie the structural biases which put him in power in the first place. In a world that's not quite sure how it came to be, all we can do is disassemble ourselves from the past and the things that got us here. That means no more nostalgia, no more regression, and no more rock.

Hailing from the Bay Area, one of the more progressive and technologically innovative parts of the world, False Priest have no intention of mummifying music. Though we've seen some of the biggest rock bands in the world trying and failing to convert rock to pop; analog to digital; romantic nostalgia to futurism – False Priest have the deftness to commandeer progress and change. In today's musical arena, the idea of authenticity has been spun on its head. It was once associated with minimalism – one person to write the song, one person for each instrument, no effects; all beards. Nowadays, we're sort of aware that the world has run amuck and there's not much authenticity to be found anywhere. Not in our celebrities, nor in our Coldplays, and especially not in our President.

Though what makes False Priest authentic is their simple gesture of - 'look, this is what there is, and we can't make much sense of it'. When we get into the very superficial habit of imbuing things with meaning, we get a bloated and unhelpfully abstract view of the world. We get an overflow of praxes and dialectics that do nothing but cancel out real meaning and invite in irony. In other words, we get Arcade Fire's new album, Infinite Content. As False Priests, the band are faithfully unreliable narrators of the Trump/What The Fuck Is Going On Age. "I don't trust myself with this", Evan admits on 'I Would Love To Talk In Tongues', the first single from their upcoming album, Driving In Circles - out on 22nd September, which The 405 are premiering today.

I spoke to their frontman, Evan Greenwald about rock 'n' roll, the politicisation of genre and the future of False Priest – the best Bay Area band you've never heard of.

So, run me through the band's lineup.

Evan Greenwald: The new album features Tyler English, Sam Forester, Evan Greenwald, and Jake Kopulsky, with significant contributions from Sivan Lioncub. Currently, False Priest is Tyler English, Sam Forester, Evan Greenwald, Jake Kopulsky, and Kabir Kumar.

How does your band fit into or reflect the Bay Area scene?

E: There’s a lot of concrete structural reasons why there isn’t a cohesive music scene in the Bay Area, despite the constant and admirable work that’s being done by a number of blogs and tastemakers and show promoters and so on. But unfortunately for the most part the “scenes” here are super fragmented. It’s divided up pretty swiftly by genre lines for the most part, although it’s been very kind of the SF Psych rock scene to support us a little bit even though there is almost nothing psychedelic about us.

You've referred to yourself as a rock band in the past. Is it fair to say that rock 'n' roll is exclusively a product of the USA? Is that where your sound comes from?

E: It isn’t an extremely controversial thing to say that the USA is a much more conservative place than most people, especially American liberals, are willing to admit. To me, rock music stopped being a progressive genre in the early 80s. I don’t know if that’s an inherently good or bad thing, just that on the whole, the spectrum of the rock genre stopped being able to absorb newer advances in technology and politics in as fluid a way, and because of that I think it stopped reflecting the way people live their lives, in a sense. All of this is to say that if rock and roll is exclusively a product of the USA, it’s an understandable reflection of the American perception that the answers to our problems can be found today using the tools of the past. So I think that’s what I have to say about that.

So are genres inherently political?

E: I think genres are absolutely inherently political. The fact that people will respond to the material conditions of their day-to-day lives to express themselves with whatever tools they have at their disposal I think is very political.

Could False Priest ever be of its own genre or will your music be just a tribute/honouring to precedent types of music?

E: I have no loyalty to the notion of only playing rock music. Between the five members of the band right now, I think our tastes cover a lot of the genres of pop from the last 100 years or so, and rock music is only a part of that. Some of my favorite music of all time is some of the rap and electronic music that’s come out in the last few years. That said, rock music is the kind of music all of us know how to play the best at this moment, I think. In the last couple years we’ve seen a number of bands that I love try to make that leap from indie rock to electronic rock, and an embarrassing amount of them have sorta fallen on their face. So as we attempt to take influence from all the great new sounds that are being produced these days, I think our biggest challenge is gonna be how we do that in the most tasteful and original ways. I feel confident promising that you will never hear me spit a hot 16 bars on a track. But I do want to find new ways of playing guitars and drums and basses that reflect the world we live in now.

This single has doo-woppy rock elements but I'm more interested in how it takes certain elements and pastiches many genres. Why this approach?

E: In terms of the genre blending, I think I just love dramatic contrasts in music. My first ever favorite song in my life was 'Where It’s At' by Beck, and my taste since then has honestly been mostly just following the many different paths that lead out of that song. 'Where It’s At' leads to indie rock, break beats, lo-fi, hip hop, soul, jazz, harsh noise, and everything in between. So it’s like, I dunno, what’s the most logical next step from a groovy rock verse with a big goofy pedal steel solo? I guess Nirvana-type screaming with an Arvo Pärt-style string arrangement. I also think a lot of music is kinda hokey. I love Prince but he isn’t *not* cheesy, right? The cheese is part of his appeal. So when we have these big goofy country/western riffs in our songs, it’s not like we’re going in blind to the cheese, but at the same time, it’s 100% sincere, you know? I made an active effort to remove any sort of ironic distancing from all of our songs before we finished them.

And how do you do that? How does the irony get there in the first place?

E: I guess I would say that ironic distancing is an easy solution to a million complicated problems, much in the same way that simply pointing out that ironic distancing is an easy answer does not solve the problem of why people do it. I found myself making caricatures of people with real problems in my songs instead of writing about those real problems, and it made the songs ring hollow. At the end of the day, I don’t want to give you easy things to laugh at and easy solutions. There’s enough of that on BuzzFeed, or on Adult Swim (neither of which are bad in their own rights, just not what I want to be doing with my life). As far as the irony of pastiche goes, I think that’s an intention thing. The pastiche present in 'I Would Love To Speak In Tongues' isn’t a joke in any way to me. I didn’t even really think it was that pastiche-y of a song until I played it for a couple of people, you know? It just seemed like a bunch of natural steps to make.

It seems that you want to overcome nostalgia and its politically right-leaning implications. Does that mean False Priest will become a futurist band?

E: I’m not sure! That definitely sounds cool as hell. But I think ultimately it has to be a reflection of both who I am and who the guys in the band are at the time we make a record, and it has to be an honest representation of that. In that sense, and I know this is a horrible bastardization of this word, but I guess you could say that I just want to be modernist. I want to reflect modern times. False Priest doesn’t do that yet, but I think that’s in part because that’s where American rock music is at right now. This is to say: We’re at the very beginning of a very long process.