Friendly Fires Burning With Ambition

By James Trueman

AFTER a whirlwind few years that have seen Friendly Fires catapulted into music’s big leagues, the band are not resting on their laurels.

Ed Macfarlane, Jack Savidge and Edd Gibson formed the band in St Albans in 2007, but had previously played together as 14-year-old school friends.

After going through the process of getting their name out there through playing scores of gigs, recording demos and a lot of hard work, they were signed by XL records in March 2008. They released their self-titled debut album in September 2008, to much critical and commercial success, with Songs such as ‘Paris’, Jump in the Pool’ and ‘Skeleton Boy’ being used on such things as the BBC’s festival coverage, and US show ‘Gossip Girl’.

Their hard work was rewarded with nominations for the coveted Mercury Music Prize in 2009 and two 2010 Brit Awards including Best Breakthrough and Best British Group.

Following this success, the band are in the process of putting together their as yet unnamed second album. And guitarist Edd Gibson is encouraged by how recording is going so far.

He said: “We’ve got about six or seven tracks done already.

 “It’s a totally different experience to recording our first album, but I think we are finding it more rewarding.”

He added: “I think we have just got a lot better at writing and recording.”

The band is going against the grain for recording this album, by opting for the more primitive setting of singer Ed Macfarlane’s garage.

“It’s in a little country house in the sticks, just outside St Albans, away from people so we don’t bother them with all the racket.”

The band are producing this album after doing the same on their first and Edd thinks they are showing a more developed sound.

He said: “As a band, I think we really found what we were good at doing towards the end of the first album.

“So we are concentrating our attentions on doing things in that mould.

He added: “But we have already got three tracks that would be really good singles, and have played some of them at gigs and they have gone down really well.”

They hope to have all of the recording done by October, with the aim of releasing it in January 2011.

As with every summer, the festival season rears its head, and time, for any band, becomes a premium. But they have ensured they don’t get too bogged down in jet-setting to too many different places.

Edd said: “It’s getting quite busy already but we are still trying to fit in time to record the album, and we aren’t playing every festival we’ve been offered.”

On the future of the band, Edd reckons they still have a lot of shelf-life in them.

“I think we have definitely got a few more records still in us.

“I hope we’ll soon be getting pretty big, and I think we have the songs to do it.”

Regarding live shows, Edd revealed they want to bring something new to the stage other than just flashing lights and smoke machines.

He said: “We want to bring invention to our gigs like the Stop Making Sense tour by Talking Heads, where they seemed to have every instrument ever made on stage.

“We don’t want to just recreate our music as it is on record but give the fans something different.”

The hectic festival schedule poses the question whether they’ll have the time to catch England in the World Cup. But Edd hopes they can do their best to watch most of the matches.

He said: “Yeah it’s going to be tough trying to fit the gigs around the games, but hopefully we can catch them all.

“We have a gig on the night of the USA game, so I hope people aren’t too downbeat after we either get beat by the USA or have a goalless draw!”

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