Ahead of the release of their debut album, You Are Someone Else, we spoke to alt.pop outfit Fickle Friends about life on the road and becoming role models within the industry.
It’s not long now until your debut album is out! That must be pretty exciting right? Are there any particular tracks you can’t wait for fans to hear?
Yeah, it’s felt like a long time coming ha. I’m super excited for people to hear the slightly different tracks on the record like 'Useless' and 'Bite'. Shows the breadth of our style!
You’re in the middle of your UK tour now, have you been playing much of the new record live? What’s the reaction been like to the newer material?
Yeah, we’ve been playing a few new ones. I think the response has been good but it’s never the same as everyone knowing the words to 'Swim' ha. Hopefully that will all change once the album comes out.
You’re visiting a lot of towns and cities that a lot of bands don’t often stop through, was it important to you to do that?
I think this was the perfect time to do that. When will we ever get to visit Carlisle on tour again? People seem so appreciative and hopefully they’ll come and see us in one of the bigger cities next time. It’s kinda all about building demand and playing to as many people from as many places as possible...and also supporting the smaller music venues too.
You’ve recently become patrons for the Music Venue Trust, which is an amazing way to keep the love of live music alive. With so many smaller venues closing their doors, what’s the main message you want to give to fans who attend gigs? What do you hope to change in the live music industry?
Smaller venues are SO important for bands starting out. We wouldn’t be where we are now without them. If they all start closing there won’t be anywhere for fresh new music to start their touring careers...you can’t just expect to break an act at radio and jump straight into the big venues. It’s kinda scary thinking about it. Also nothing can compare to seeing a band for the first time in an intimate venue. Those kinda of memories stay with you forever.
Natti, you’re involved with ReBalance, the initiative launched by Festival Republic to address gender imbalance in music. How important do you feel initiatives like this are to your audience, and for people in the industry?
I love what Rebalance are doing. They’re trying to tackle the real issue, which isn’t sexism among festival bookers...it’s the lack of women in music. It’s a very male dominated industry which can be off putting to women...musicians, engineers, producers...whoever. We’re trying to create a supportive space for women to develop their musical talent and maybe slowly we’ll see a shift in the gender balance. I just don’t wanna look at PRS and see that only 20% of the writers are women. Things need to change!
Does it feel weird to consider yourself a role model for girls wanting to start bands?
It’s weird, yeah. But ya know I got into music because people like [Paramore's] Hayley Williams and Avril Lavigne were doing it, and made it seem okay not to be your typical Britney “pop star” (I love Britney btw). I was a massive tom boy and I loved music, so those kinda women became my role models. If I can do that for anyone else that’s such an honour.
This’ll be your third year in a row playing Reading & Leeds festival this summer, which is exciting! How do you prepare yourselves for such big performances?
You know what, the bigger shows are less scary. It’s the intimate shows where we can hear a pin drop and everyone is watching your every move that are a real test. Reading & Leeds is great, we have some drinks, we’re always buzzing for it. If the crowd are up for it there’s no reason to be nervous.
Why should festival crowds come and watch you over all the other bands playing over the weekend, what can they expect from your live performances?
They can expect sh*t loads of energy, palm trees, as much crowd participation as we can get. We always want our shows to be this big inclusive party. I’d hate anyone to feel distant from us.
As a band, you have a really fun and upbeat vibe, both musically and personally, which is really cool to see. Was that something you always wanted to portray as musicians or was it all very natural?
That’s just what we’re like. We were trying to work out what our USP was for ages and the main thing people always say is that we are super one on one with our fans, friendly and upbeat (like the music), we always want to be seen that way. It may not be a unique selling point, or particularly cool, but hopefully that’s what will give this band longevity.
Finally then, sum up your new album, You Are Someone Else, in three words.
Ambitious. Honest. Pumpin’.
If you want a taste of the deliciously pop melodies that Fickle Friends create, then you can catch them at one of the following shows:
O2 Academy Liverpool: Wednesday 21 March - Buy Tickets
O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire: Friday 19 October - Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Birmingham: Friday 26 October - Buy Tickets
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