Tipped for the top, Fickle Friends and Clean Cut Kid recently visited The Joiners (review here) on their latest UK tour and OnTheScene’s Sarah Penny was lucky enough to catch up with both acts for a double-bubble interview. Here’s what they had to say:
What’s your story?
Fickle Friends: We all met at university in Brighton, 3 or 4 years ago. Nattie started the band originally and there were a couple of replacements and that’s how it really started.
Clean Cut Kid: We started as a three-piece, not playing any gigs, but we wrote and recorded songs, including Vitamin C and Runaway, our first two singles. Then Ross joined us and spent between 9 months to a year just rehearsing under wraps. Our first gig was really secretive, we did it under a false name and everything, but it still leaked somehow. Our next gig sold out in an hour and we had 5 major record labels at the gig. It seemed to explode overnight!
Who Are Your Musical And Non-Musical Influences?
Fickle Friends: Michael Jackson and a lot of 80s stuff, plus acts like Daft Punk, Phoenix, Bombay Bicycle Club. Wes Andersen films and other 90s films really influenced us, which is appropriate because they experimented so much then with their sound and that’s exactly what we try and do.
Clean Cut Kid: Bowie, obviously. Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, Fleetwood Mac and Vampire Weekend. Wes Andersen, a lot of other film references, I guess. Back to the Future, definitely.
What are your practice sessions like?
Fickle Friends: Pretty chilled. We work hard but we like a long tea break! It’s been a bit more manic recently because we don’t have much time to do anything.
Clean Cut Kid: Cold! We’ve got a great room, but it’s rundown, the windows don’t really close, but we like that because it’s like a garage band set-up. You can just about hear yourself sing, but then as soon as you get on stage and the monitoring actually works it’s like a breath of fresh air. We’ve really made it our own and we wouldn’t change it!
What have you got planned for 2016?
Fickle Friends: We’re going to Texas and LA to do some recording. Coming back to record our album. Then Festival season and after head out to New York. The world is our oyster. Our confirmed festivals at the moment are Bestival, Reading and Leeds, Field Day, the whole group, even some in Europe.
Clean Cut Kid: So many Festivals! It’s all laid out! A week of touring, then a week of recording, then another week of touring. Then we’re going to South by Southwest, then we’ve got a load of random things like a headline in London, some up in Liverpool and Record Store Day. In May we’re finishing the record off and next single will be released. Then we’ll be doing the whole of festival season. We’re doing Reading and Leeds, Secret Garden Party and even Lee Fest.
What’s the best bit about touring?
Fickle Friends: Getting to meet the fans. The more gigs we play, the more fans we get and it’s just really nice to see them go for it and really enjoy it!
Clean Cut Kid: It’s like you’re on holiday! Our tour manager probably doesn’t agree, but to us it just feels like a holiday with all your mates.
And the worst bit?
Fickle Friends: The boredom! There’s so much waiting around! It’s about 95% waiting around and 5% playing. We do the best job in the world though and we do stuff in between. Harry’s been learning French and Sam’s been learning Spanish.
Clean Cut Kid: Right at the end when it’s the last gig and you realise you have take all the gear back up the three flights of stairs to our rehearsal room! Also, however hard you try you can never take enough pants.
What music are you currently listening to?
Fickle Friends: Bombay Bicycle Club because we love how they do things. They are such a good band. Jack Garrett, the 1975, all sorts really.
Clean Cut Kid: Honestly, a lot of Fickle Friends! Conner Youngblood, Flyte, Lying Bastards and Courtney Barnett as well. A lot of the talent is so raw and pure.
Finally, sum up your band in 3 words
Fickle Friends: Right, let’s think about this. It’s a bit cheesy but indie, cool, 80s.
Clean Cut Kid: Fuzzy, hairy… Wait no, (after much debate). A beautiful, fuzzy mess.