Fickle Friends may be under the radar at the moment, but Charlotte Pearson predicts big things.
For anyone heading to Reading and Leeds festivals this weekend or Together the People next month, you might be forgiven for thinking that Fickle Friends are the new kids on the block.
However, the Brighton band have been a firm fixture on the festival circuit for the last two years playing Bestival, BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend and Secret Garden Party.
“We have been going for a while,” says lead singer Natti Shiner. “But it isn’t until you get played on commercial radio that people say ‘oh wow those guys have come from nowhere’.
“The 1975 have been going for about eight years under different guises but it is only really now people are starting to take notice.”
Natti formed the band, made up of Harry Herrington on bass; Chris Hall on lead guitar; Sam Morris on drums and Jack Wilson on keyboards, about three years ago when the quintet met at the University of Brighton.
The name came not long after they formed, with Natti explaining that Fickle Friends was just meant to be a name to tide them over and the plan was initially to change it to something else.
“As time went on it kind of just stuck so we kept with it,” she smiles.
The band’s first EP Velvet was released in 2015 and Natti says they were very much a ‘DIY band’.
“That has shifted now as we have signed with a record label,” she explains. “The first EP we did ourselves and worked really hard to get it out.
“We have the luxury of someone else doing the work now and telling us when the singles are coming out.
“It is exciting and everything is a lot more structured than it was before.”
Releasing an EP was a great way for the band to show people what they are all about and Natti reveals that it got the band the buzz they needed to get noticed.
This lead to them being signed, with work then able to begin on an album which should be released at the end of this year.
The plan for the band is to record 17 songs and then pick the ones that will make the album.
“We are always writing and figuring out what we want the album to be,” explains Natti.
Fickle Friends’ sound has been described as upbeat with an 80s synth-pop feel to it, which is probably best illustrated by single ‘Swim’.
It is clear that many of their songs wouldn’t sound out of place on the 2011 film Drive’s motion picture soundtrack – something that crossed Natti’s mind when she heard former Radio 1’s DJ Zane Lowe curate such a thing with the likes of Bastille, The 1975, and CHVRCHES.
“I would love for the BBC, or anyone, to do a re-imagining of the soundtrack again. We would love to get on it and think our sound would fit really well,” she enthuses.
As for musical influences, Natti lists bands like Bombay Bicycle Club, Justice, Two Door Cinema Club, Friendly Fires and Michael Jackson, and admits you can hear a bit of all of them in Fickle Friends.
“Our sound has changed a lot over the years. I think it has got a lot more intelligent,” she reveals.
“Before it was really hectic and chaotic, but it would be because we would play bits and be like ‘oh I love that, put that in’, ‘that is great we need to have that’, so we would get it all in.
“Now we use sounds that complement each other so it works better as a song.”
The last few months have been hectic for the band, with a diary filled with festival appearances as well as trying to fit in recording their new album in LA.
“Our weekends would be filled with festivals then we would head over to America to record the album and then back over here for a performance,” reveals Natti.
The band have never played a festival in Brighton before so Natti says they are really looking forward to performing at Together the People this month at Preston Park.
The summer may be over, although many might debate it never really started, but thanks to Fickle Friends at least the sound of summer can continue well until the end of the year.
Fickle Friends will play the NME/Radio 1 stage at Reading Festival on Friday, August 26, and the same stage at Leeds Festival on Saturday, August 27.
Together the People takes place on September 3 and 4 at Preston Park, Brighton.
Other performers include Suede, Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds, Peter Hook and the Light, The Horrors and Turin Breaks.
For more information on the line up and to buy tickets, visit www.togetherthepeople.co.uk
To find out more about Fickle Friends, visit www.ficklefriends.co.uk
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