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CJFM Presents: An Interview with Fickle Friends

Back in November Callum & Jon, hosts of the show CJFM Presents got invited to The Forum in Tunbridge Wells to interview Brighton based indie-pop band Fickle Friends. After a great interview we watched their short but fantastic set, and we could tell these guys are going to be big in 2017. I wouldn’t be surprised if their debut album which comes out later this year makes it into the Top 10 and their upcoming singles doing similarly well.

The support acts Wax and Huntar were both good in very distinct ways. Wax were more of a conventional indie rock band and Huntar, a guy with a Launchpad sang covers mixed into a few originals. Both acts warmed up the crowd very well and led onto a very energetic set from Fickle Friends.

Their set only lasted 40 minutes or so as they’ve only got one EP and a few singles out so far but this very talented young band can only go from strength to strength as we look toward the future. With the backing of major label Polydor you know these guys are destined for great things, we caught up with lead singer Natassja and keyboardist/sampler Jack backstage before their set.

 Check out some of their songs here:

You can find a transcript of the interview below where we talk about the upcoming album, BIMM and what it’s like recording in LA.

CJFM: Hi we are Callum & Jon from CJFM Presents on URF and we’re here at The Forum in Tunbridge Wells with Fickle Friends! How are you doing guys?

FF – Nat: We’re good, we’re drinking wine!

FF – Jack: We’re very good, we are because it is so cold!

CJFM: Red or White?

FF: Red!

CJFM: Good choice! So you’re on the penultimate leg of your UK tour, how has that been so far?

FF – Nat: It’s been pretty good we can’t believe it is already over.

CFJM: Any stand out moments so far, favourite crowd or venue?

FF – Nat: All of it has been pretty amazing, just because the crowds have been growing steadily bigger although Edinburgh and Bath were definitely stand out shows.

FF – Jack: Being able to play our new songs like “Cry Baby” & “Brooklyn” have been great because we haven’t played them on a tour yet and being able to see a reaction is really great.

CJFM: It must be really good to get the new music out and finally see a reaction.

FF – Jack: Yeah because we see the reactions online but finally seeing it person we’re stood there like “oh cool”, it’s really great.

CJFM: So we met you guys for the first time at Bestival in the Isle of Wight, on the Invaders of the Future stage, how was festival season in general for you all?

FF – Nat: It was awesome, it was really good. Because we were recording our album this summer, we didn’t do as many as we usually would but the ones we did do were all really great, we did Reading & Leeds, Bestival, Dor, Truck Festival & Barn on the Farm. Yeah, so it’s a bunch of our favourite festivals we had a great time.

CJFM: Did you get to hang out much at any of the festivals or did you have to rush off straight after playing?

FF – Nat: We got to stay around for the day back at Reading, then we would get on a bus at 7pm and head to Leeds. So yeah, we got to see a fair bit of music and hang out a bit but is wasn’t like stay for the whole weekend.

CJFM: So for our show we do a lot of interviews with Brighton based bands from the local music scene and we talk to a lot of people from BIMM, we understand that you guys actually went to BIMM before you started the whole Fickle Friends project, what was it like there for you guys?

FF – Nat: It was just where we all met really, I think BIMM is the kind of place where you get out of it what you put in and we kind of went nuts for the first year because you want to make a good impression, you want to meet people, you want to start bands or do whatever you want to do there, maybe write music. But we formed the band at the end of that year and it kind of meant that we started getting pretty busy and weren’t really “at” BIMM for the last two years.

However, it was a really good stepping stone and, you know, we formed there and they paid us to go over to places like Berlin and play shows for them, which then meant we had money to tour and make records and stuff.

CJFM: So you were sort of advertisement for BIMM then?

FF – Nat: We were [laughs] yeah, actually the girl who just interviewed us said that the first she saw us was at a BIMM open day.

CJFM: Oh wow, so it does really pay off!

FF – Jack: Yeah and that was in like 2014!

CJFM: Did they help you guys nuture and develop your sound there or was it kind of we already know what we want to do?

FF – Jack: It was just kind of, our sound is just us, like we started out and then just gradually kind of figured out what we want to do, it wasn’t anything to do with them.

FF – Nat: Yeah, they don’t really teach you how to write music, it’s more like they offer you support, like you learn about publishing, business and music theory and the way you learn to write music will get better, like you get to perform songs that you’ve written then the class and lecturers will give you feedback.

So I guess in the early days it was a few things like that but we just kind of just did our own thing [laughs] we went rogue.

CJFM: So after you all graduated, it was a definite choice for you all and it made sense to follow the path of the band?

FF – Nat: We were on tour the week of graduation so we didn’t really notice that it was happening.

FF – Jack: Yeah, we were already doing it and we we’re like “oh graduation is now”.

FF – Nat: I think we were playing a show in Liverpool.

CJFM: So after you finished you were touring all over Europe and then in May 2015 you released the Velvet EP, do you reckon it was quite well received?

FF – Nat: I think so, for the time we did it, it was all on our own really and it was good for what it was at the time.

CJFM: Yeah so it was almost as a stepping stone to bigger things?

FF – Nat: Yeah.. I don’t remember much about recording it to be honest.

FF – Jack: We did it over a few months I think as we did it ourselves with no budget and we still play songs off it now so it was good.

FF – Nat: It is difficult because, you know, when you don’t have an album out all the fans who come to the show now all they know is the backlog of older stuff but obviously a lot of the time we want to put songs to bed because we’ve moved on or we’re now writing better stuff but you’ve still got to play a few older things to keep the older fans happy.

CJFM: You’ve signed to Polydor Records, what has been the biggest change since working with them?

FF – Nat: We now have money to pay people to help us on tour, so we don’t have to drive ourselves anymore and tour manage ourselves and do everything. We’ve got a tour manager and we’ve got money to be able to go and record an album in LA. It’s just upped our game a little bit and taken a lot of those responsibilities off our shoulders so now we can just focus on writing and playing shows…Which is pretty great.

CJFM: You been recording your debut album in Los Angeles with producer Mike Crossey of Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks & Foals fame among others, how has it been working with a producer who has such great producing credentials?

FF – Nat: It’s really cool, he’s a lovely guy.

FF – Jack: We’ve learnt a lot and the album is going to be a step up for sure, you’ll notice it when you hear all the songs.

CJFM: Ok cool, so what’s the biggest difference between living and working in LA compared to the UK?

FF – Nat: Umm… The heat [laughs] we spend most of our time in the valley as that’s where the studio was and where our house is, where we stayed but it’s a completely different world out there, everyone is beautiful and everyone is somebody so if you wanna go out there’s no point in going out unless you have a guestlist somewhere or have a pretty face and get your crew in, it’s that kind of vibe. Like, you walk into a bar and everyone is trying to suss you out.

CJFM: How is the album going, is it largely finished?

FF – Nat: We’ve still got a lot to do but we are hoping to get it out in the summer.

CJFM: So you released two singles from it Cry Baby and Brooklyn, what sort of reactions have you had from those releases so far?

FF – Nat: I think it’s been really good, Brooklyn especially, yeah I think it has been great.

FF – Jack: Yeah I really like Brooklyn it’s my favourite out of the two.

CJFM: Were they released first because they were finished first or?

FF – Jack: Brooklyn was done before Cry Baby.

FF – Nat: Yeah Brooklyn was supposed to come out first and then we switched them. Yeah I dunno like, it just because singles are chosen because you write a song and then you get really excited about it and we had a catalog of other things but if someone was like “oh that’s great”. Yeah it’s kind of a bit obvious sometimes. I’ll be interested to see what single comes out next.

CJFM: So will you be releasing any more singles before the album comes out?

FF : Yeah definitely.

CJFM: So do you have a name for the album at all or is it still a work in progress?

FF – Jack: We’re not sure yet, we still haven’t decided, we’ve got a few ideas. Hopefully once it is finished then we will be able to decide on something and we’re hoping to get it finished in January sometime.

CJFM: Awesome, well thank you very much have a great set and good luck with the album!

FF: Thank you!

If you’re into incredibly catchy indie-pop/rock songs or looking to find something new, these guys could be right up your street! We expect them to have a very successful 2017, wish them all the best and cannot wait for some new music! We also hope they’re back to play in Brighton soon!