Bringing back the indie: A conversation with Fickle Friends

Fickle Friends are an English Indie pop band who have been topping charts and headlining venues all over the UK. Their first hit single ‘Swim’ came out two years ago, and since then they have been seen at festivals such as Reading and Leeds, slowly making a name for themselves.

They sat down with me before their first sold out headline show at the Heaven nightclub in London, to talk about their sound, their struggles as musicians and Pokemon. 

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Image: Omar Balde

Q. Did you ever think you would become this successful? 

Sam/ Drums (S): It’s hard to think that we could be this successful, especially with the amount of people we could have worked with being at university together.

Natasjia/ Vocals (N): I never thought we would be this successful. We moved to Brighton and I only knew Sam and about 2 others. I reached out to him saying I need drums for a show, and well here we are.

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Image: Tooba Haq

Q. The name Fickle Friends is very different. Where did it come from? 

(N): We used to joke about starting a DJ duo, and we were spit-balling names for it and we came up with The Fickle Friends, because we’re bad at sticking to plans and then i just kind of stole it for the band name

(S): The person we stole it off knows, don’t worry. He was the engineer for the album that we uploaded.

Q. How does it feel to be working with Mike Crossey? He’s managed bands for the 1975 and Wolf Alice which are both huge.

(S): It’s actually kind of funny, because when we weren’t signed and doing everything ourselves we’d always joke to work with him. He [produced] the 1975 record and we loved it so much so when we got to know we were going to work with him, I was ecstatic.

(N): Everyone’s dreams came true when we went to LA!

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Image: Tooba Haq

Q. Speaking about LA, how was living the LA experience? 

(N): It was really exciting because we were there for a month, living on East Hollywood and the Valley just writing music, living the tourist life. We climbed the Hollywood sign and went to Six Flags – the big theme park.

Q. Any favourite rides or recommendations? 

(S): I think the first one we did, the X-2! Out of the four of us here, I’ve never heard so much fear collectively.

(N): By far one of the scariest rides I’ve ever been on. You genuinely think, ‘this is it, I’m going to die, this is the end.’

Q. You’ve been to a lot of festivals in the past year, about 53? What has to be your favourite? 

(N): I think Reading and Leeds this year would have to be the best one. We’ve had a lot of festivals under our belt, but this year I think we had bigger crowds and people knew our songs and they came to see us.

(S): It was Reading definitely, that was probably the highlight of our festival season.

Q. What would you say is the festival that you really want to play in the future?

(N and S): Glastonbury for sure.

(N): I would also love to do something like burning man which would be insane. I just want to do all the big European festivals. Maybe some in Australia. I honestly just want to travel.

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Image: Tooba Haq

Q. This year must have been quite the relief for you after finally getting a contract, how has that been? 

(N): It means that we won’t have to work part-time jobs in the day to support our music at night. It’s not like oh I’m broke, can’t write a song this week because I need to work 7 days to pay rent.

(S): But I mean, we wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t done that so

Q. That must have been hard, did you guys ever think of giving up?

(S): We were close –

(N): I don’t think we ever said we were going to give up, but I think it did get to a point where we were like how long can we keep doing this for until we have to take a step back and give it a breather

(S): We were very close, and it feels good that we stuck it out

(N): It forced us to kind of re-evaluate where we are as a band, and then we made some changes around because something felt off, but we got it.

Q. How does it feel being in London’s Heaven for your first headline show?

(S): It’s quite a big deal for us. The last big headline we did was at Dingwalls last year, with no contract and half the crowd coming tonight.

(N): I still can’t believe it.

(S): Its kind of fueled a fire in us, I just want to do more headline shows and travel.

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Image: Tooba Haq

Q. Any sort of fun pre-show rituals?

(S): Pacing. Theres a lot of pacing, and we don’t really talk to each other much.

(N): Theres like this brief bit of terror we all feel before getting on, but once we get on stage it’s all forgotten

Q. Who would you love to open for in the coming years?

(N): I’m going to go out there and say something like Drake. Or maybe Childish Gambino.

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Image: Tooba Haq

Q. One of your first hits, Swim came out in 2014. That is not that long ago, how do you think you’ve grown and changed as a band?

(S): It was quite mad when Swim came out wasn’t it?

(N): Yeah it was, i think we’ve kinda figured out how to write better lyrics and understanding our sound more. We’ve just improved so much, and with being together for so long we kind of understand each other more and what works basically.

(S) Its kind of always been that, just moved into a better version.

Video rights: Fickle Friends Vevo/ YouTube.

Q. Like a Pokemon? 

(N): Yes exactly. Like a Pokemon!

(S): We were a Squirtle and now we’re a Blastoise.

Q. If you could be any Pokemon which one would you be?

(S): From the original, Blastoise was always the one for me.

(N): Such a shame Pokemon Go is over, I was so into it

Q: When can we expect a new album to come out? And what are you guys doing in it? 

(N): The summer of 2017

(S): We’re actually playing 3 songs from the new album later tonight, so watch out for that

(N): You can expect some dark pop, because right now we’re very upbeat and pop-y. Theres a couple of ballads and its a little slower.

(S): A broader spectrum of Fickle Friends is a good analogy.

Q. Any names for the album yet or? 

(N): Oooh there are some ideas, but we’re very bad at making decisions.

(S): So yeah, no actual name yet.

A snippet of the show in Heaven, London.

Video credits: Tooba Haq

Q. And finally, can you describe your band in three words for us?

(N): chill, sex, and violence.

(S): Not chill for sure.

(N): Can we say indie on fleek, because someone said that to us during our show last night.

(S): So yes, Indie on fleek.

Fickle Friends have released the song Hello Hello, on the 8th of March which you can check out below, along with their soundcloud link!

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