Interview: Friendly Fires
Here’s another interview I did as part of the Standon Calling 2009 coverage, with the *cough cough* MERCURY NOMINATED Friendly Fires. Who were, frankly, knackered from a recent tour down under. All credit to them though, they still put on a great show and were proper gentlemen all round.
Rivmixx: St Albans is fairly close to here, is this a bit of a homecoming gig?
Edd Gibson: “Ah let’s not bring on the homecoming vibe!”
Jack Savidge: “We’ve actually got a homecoming gig coming up on September 3. It’s really exciting, at the Alban Arena.”
R: You’ve been playing a lot of festivals. When you’re writing songs, do you see yourself playing for a festival crowd, or do you just write what you’ve got?
EG: “I don’t think we’re really focussed enough to specifically write for an event or an occasion. It’s just ‘I’ve got an idea, let’s run with it before it peters out’.”
R: Do you hit upon something and go ‘Oh THAT’S a sing-along’?
JS: “Yeah, you generally know when something’s kicking arse. There’s a lot of time spent when something’s not kicking arse trying to make it kick arse, but it’s impossible to know.”
EG: “Yeah, I think when we wrote ‘On Board’ we were well aware that people would hate us for that, for how infectious that could potentially be.”
R: I’m going to have to ask you about the Mercury Prize nomination. Was it expected?
JS: “We were definitely, secretly, hoping.”
EG: “We were kind of aware of it coming round the corner.”
R: When you made the album did you feel ‘this could have an impact’?
JS: “I think, because the album was released last September, we all thought it would have long dropped out of everyone’s consciousness by the time the Mercury Prize comes along. It’s funny, it’s kept on being there, or there about.”
R: So what are the three most significant points in your band’s career so far?
EG: “I remember the first was having a Gut Records A&R guy come round to watch us play when we’d had maybe three shows in London, outside St. Albans. I remember thinking bloody hell, (rubs his hands excitedly) we could be on the same label as the Crazy Frog!”
JS: “Yeah, it was well exciting. We sort of played through all our songs to this guy and he sort of sat up and we were all like “God, he’s going to offer us a deal!”. Then he was just like, “Yeah, you’re alright.”
EG: “There was a little rivalry because there was someone else at that label as well who was interested in us and they were almost cheating one another to get to us. But they were the first to tell us, “You’ve got a future, but…”
R: So is the most recent significant point the Mercury nomination?
JS: “I don’t know, I think Glastonbury. There’s got to be something between Gut Records and Glastonbury.”
EG: “Glastonbury was fucking amazing. That felt like a real ‘moment’. I think just putting out your own album. Just holding it in your own hands. That’s crazy.”
R: The album’s been out almost a year now – have you got any new songs your working on?
EG: “We have one song that we’ll be playing today, we’ve played it the last couple of shows. It’s coming out at the end of August and we’ve got a video all done for it. I think it’s probably been on Radio 1 and stuff like that.”
R: Is that something that’ll be on a future album or is it a standalone?
EG: “That’ll be like a bridging song. A standalone. Come October we’ll be able to wind down and begin thinking about writing the next album, but until then we’ve just had too many good offers to pass up.”
R: So are you going to head home and chill out for a bit?
EG: “Well Ed [Macfarlane – the group’s singer] is still living in Sandridge in Hertfordshire so we’ll be going back to his gaff where it all started anyway and just try and get the basics [of a new album] started off.
“It’s comfortable because there’s no money being spent on it. You don’t feel the pressure of having a studio that costs however many thousands of pounds a minute.”
Written for Rivmixx