Brighton Based Indie pop band Fickle Friends brought Bounce, Blood and raw Musical Talent to the Lake Stage at this Year’s Latitude Festival.
Natassja (Natti) Shiner lead vocals, and keyboard. Harry Herrington bass, backing vocals. Chris Hall lead guitar. Sam Morris drums and Jack Wilson backing vocals and keyboard.
Fickle Friends have without doubt had a busy couple of years on the road. It’s been a journey and a half for the five piece as they’ve created everything that they have under their own steam, touring both the UK and Europe without a manager, publisher or record label.
As well as a multitude of shows the group have played 53 festivals over the last two years and are currently in the middle of hot footing it between LA and the UK whilst working on the production of their debut album. The ferocity of Fickle Friends’ will to succeed is admirable. They have certainly brought themselves into the limelight and proved that a mixture of pure unadulterated musical talent and elbow grease still has a place and a platform in amongst an industry in which modern music is largely saccharin and hugely over produced. Fickle Friends’ success over the last few years has culminated in the band signing with a record label in LA, and with their hard work comes the next chapter and it is sure to be an exciting turn in the road for their project. Whatever comes next one thing’s for sure, their music is their own and their commendable effort to make it for themselves in the music industry is astounding.
I caught up with them at Latitude Festival for what was a brief but highly entertaining chat.
The group are just minutes before the start of their show but somehow I manage to get back stage to see what they’re up to before they hit the set. Our interview is short but sweet as the boys are bounding around in the grass clearly enjoying the sunshine and the festival atmosphere. I secretly wonder how many coffees they might have consumed that morning, but talking to them it’s clear that their energy comes from having such a vibrant group dynamic. They all seem to bounce off of one another and the vibe between them is playful and upbeat. Despite time limits we manage to establish a few things. Chris very much likes my shoes which are a floral pair of patterned doc martens and he wishes he owned them himself. And Natti has a taste for Lush products. To put it this way she can distinguish which perfume I’m wearing regardless the cacophony of smells that waft out of Lush’s doors so it seems safe to assume she’s a big fan. Amidst the jovial atmosphere and time pressures I manage to get a few solid questions in edgeways with Natti before she heads off to join the boys on stage.
You’ve worked really hard over the last few years touring on your own steam without a record label how has that been for you all?
We’ve obviously had to work very hard to get where we are now. And doing everything by ourselves especially with the huge amount of touring we’ve done over the last few years hasn’t been easy but it’s been really great fun. We’ve put so much passion and energy into this and it’s something that’s ours and we all have a great time together.
You obviously have a wealth of collective musical knowledge as a group but do you think you could chop and change and swap instruments during your set if you wanted to?
We all tend to stick to our posts, me with the synth and singing obviously but we can all play a lot of instruments so actually yeah if we wanted to we could probably all switch mid show and carry on. That could be a fun thing to do at some point.
You’re all Brighton locals, are you still spending time there and playing in Brighton based venues?
We actually haven’t been back to play there in a while. We’ve not been there much recently at all, we’ve mostly been busy touring, writing and producing so we’ve been all over the place which is fun but it hasn’t left us with much time to go back home. It’s the festival season too so that’s been busy and we’ve been spending a lot of time in L.A recording so there’s been a lot of focus on that.
What can you see happening for Fickle Friends further up the road?
Well I think it’s all really kicking off now. We’ve just signed to Polydor records in L.A so we’re working hard with that and hopefully more and more will happen for us. Up until now working without a record label we’ve been making a lot of our landmarks for ourselves and hopefully with the help of a label things will just take off. I think it’s going to be busy!
It seems as though things couldn’t get busier for Fickle Friends and as I toddle off to watch their set I’m astounded by their unshakable energy. Despite the heat of the Sunday summer sun it’s easy to see why the 5 piece draw in such a crowd. The atmosphere of the show is unequivocally animated and it seems that there’s no choice but to get up and dance. Their boundless energy and addictive hooks revive even the most sedate of the Sunday festival goers with well known tracks such as ‘Velvet,’ ‘Say no More’ and their newest fan favourite ‘Swim.’
Mid set co vocalist Jack Wilson has to make a few adjustments having cut his finger the previous day and he has to spend some time cleaning blood off of his equipment. “I’ll probably just wipe it off quickly!” He shouts. Though the jovial atmosphere never falters and the group just laugh it off as the set continues with a new written-on-the-go track, ‘Cry Baby.’ ‘Cry Baby’ is Indie-pop crossed with the twang of bass-ey 70s funk and the ‘pew pew’ of lasers. All the elements are intertwined to create a deliciously upbeat and irresistibly dancey sound and hearing it live whether their music is your thing or not you’ll find it impossible to stay still. The sound of the set as a whole is well balanced and bouncy and not a single member of the crowd remains lounging around in the sun. So as far fun gigs go it seems that Fickle Friends are on the money. With their radiance and exploration in the combination of Indie-pop, synth and funk their music maintains that crunchy modern electro feel but with the edge of retro bass grooves. They sit on the verge of soulful ‘old school’ but flirt with the mechanical crispiness of synthesisers and make something of another era sound contemporary and different. Some of their work is reminiscent of the likes of LCD Sound System with their addictive mix of 80s influenced Indie pop, and, as the set draws to a close there isn’t a single person near the Lake Stage reclining in the grass. Everyone is up and throwing themselves around with the vibrancy of the show.
Fickle Friends have worked immeasurably hard to get to where they are now and their rise to total stardom is sure to be very swift. I’d get in there and see them live now if I were you, before they get huge and you have to start elbowing thousands of hipsters out of the way to get to the front of one of their gigs. The group have a number of shows coming up in the UK from September to November and tickets are widely available follow the link below for information.