Gig preview Fickle Friends at Oporto, Leeds
Bonds forged at university have proved to be anything but capricious for pop group Fickle Friends.
The five-piece, who met while studying at Brighton University, recently signed to Polydor Records after two years of relentless touring.
Guitarist Chris Hall, from York, explains he’d been in “a few bands” in Yorkshire before moving to the south coast.
“I played a few shows at The Duchess and Fibbers in York,” he recalls.
The band’s upbeat fusion of pop and indie can be heard on their new single Say No More.
“I like to refer to it as ‘the Fickle Friends formula’,” Hall says of their approach to songwriting. “The music that we make is the culmination of all of our different interests and styles and there’s usually an idea put forward by one of the guys like a song structure then we all get into the rehearsal studio and really go at it. The kind of style that we’re operating with at the moment is a very popular style but there are a lot of our individual influences in it. I guess that’s where we come together with rock and electronic tinges.
“We’re influenced by a lot of great bands like Bombay Bicycle Club and Chvrches. The 1975 is a good example of people who we like. I guess it’s a style that comes to us naturally.”
Last year the band played at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend. “That was a lot of fun,” says Hall. “Around that time we’d just got on the radar for BBC Introducing. All of our singles we’d released were getting more and more support from BBC Introducing until it got eventually playlisted. That very much helped but making people more aware of us was helped greatly by BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend.
“We played on the Introducing stage that Huw Stephens was heading up and it was a great experience. We got to see some fantastic bands while we were there.”
Landing a management deal with First and Last Music, who also look after Foxes and Girly, helped steer the band towards major label Polydor. “I guess it felt right,” Hall says, “because a lot of the people that were wanting to help us believed in what we are and what we could become.”
Before they arrive in Leeds next week, the band will already have played 23 shows this year alone. “We’ve been hammering it, really,” says Hall. “We’re on a 28-date tour. We play in Brighton [on March 12] then we’ve got two days off then we fly out to South By South West music festival in Austin, Texas.”
The guitarist sees playing live as “the best way to experience music”. “We’ve designed our set to kind of expose ourselves in the best light possible, so we’ve got some great party tunes and also some melancholic tunes like our song Paris. We shape it to be the best example of what Fickle Friends do and the best way to see us is to come and experience it live.
“We’re in effect quite a party-based tropical band; it’s ironic because the lyrics can tend to be quite melancholic and darker in comparison to the music which kind of offers another pathway for experiencing our music. It’s fun, really – that’s the one word I would use to describe our shows.”
The band plan to start recording their debut album in Los Angeles. “I’m really excited about that,” enthuses Hall. “We intend to get the main tracking of the album done around April time then it’s up to management and the label whether we are going to release it at the back end of this year or the start of next year.”
Fickle Friends play at Oporto in Leeds on Tuesday March 8. For details visit https://www.facebook.com/FickleFriends/