Out now, Fickle Friends are back with a brand new EP full of solid gold megabops. But what – we hear you cry – is going on ‘behind the music’? How can we find out more? Well – easy – we’ll get them to tell us. Spill the beans, Natti.
What A Time
We’d been listening to the Mura Masa record a lot at the start of the year. We loved the erratic-ness of it. Music without rules. It made us want to create something equally lively and “mad” sounding. A soundtrack for escapism.
Fires were burning, we were locked indoors not knowing if we should take to the streets to join the BLM marches to save lives or stay at home and save lives. The noise was loud and overwhelming, and I remember feeling like I couldn’t do enough of the “right” thing. The phrase “What a time to be alive eh” rung loud and obsessively in my ears, echoing every conversation I had with friends and friends of friends.
I think we all really needed a time out but maybe felt a little guilty about putting ourselves first in a time of such chaos… but we have to look after ourselves in order to look after everything and everyone else. Music is such a beautiful escape, and when we were writing ‘What A Time’ we just thought about turning it up loud, having a drink, and letting go for a while. Sounds a bit corny, but it’s just like a big ARRRRGGGHHHHHH converted into song.
Soooo I think this was like the first song we wrote out of the first album / ‘Broken Sleep’ EP era. Which means my memory of writing it is a little hazy… but it was one of those easy flow writing sessions. You know when everything just seems to fall into place (this happens, but very rarely)? I’ve never really had the stomach for soppy Love songs but have always loved those with a quirk or twist. ‘Million’ became exactly that.
I’m a big believer in energy, and when I fell in love, I knew it was the real stuff because I could feel it physically. The excitement, the warmth in my cheeks, the flutters… the feeling of being completely recharged simply by being in another person’s presence. It’s so hilarious when that happens because you go from being the love Grinch to John Cusack standing outside a house holding a boom box above your head. You literally could scream from the rooftops how into this person you are, haha. It makes you think and say all the cheesiest shit. “All I really know is you’re one in a million” isn’t a clever line. It was just true, and we didn’t overthink it.
We must have had the love bug, haha. ‘92’ came about at the same time as ‘Million’, and I guess it was another take on that same relationship.
We found this splice loop (classic) and it just kinda inspired the whole nostalgic, smooth vibe of the music. We never set out to write what we call “slowies” because they usually bore us a bit, but there was something about the simplicity of this song that stuck. Again, the lyrics weren’t over baked. I literally wrote down a few sentences I’d heard in rom-coms… stuff I’d never say out loud to the person I was with, but if I was in a cheesy movie I absolutely would! I still have the note on my phone, stuff like ‘I’ve been waiting for you my whole life’, ‘you are an anomaly’, ‘I was mess, until I found you’, ‘it’s you, it’s always been you’, ‘finding you was like winning the lottery’ (pretty lame I know). But we basically just threw it all together and made ‘92’, ha.
Writing sessions where you have no real objective are the most fun, I think. It gives you complete creative freedom to do whatever you want (basically all we do in FF camp). I did a few sessions with my pals James and Joe and ‘IRL’ in its very basic form is what came from the first session. I came away thinking the chorus was a no-brainier but the song was just put to one side. Every now and again, Jack goes through all the hard drives to see if there are any demos or ideas we’ve missed, and we found ‘IRL’ and felt super inspired and excited to work on it. Despite having written it a while back, the concept coincidently fitted so well into the narrative of this year and with some lyrical edits and some structural re-writes we had a song that basically told the story of trying to build a relationship online. I’ve sort of loved hearing people’s dating stories from this year, and we just pooled them all together.
And finally, leaving the best until last (I think so anyway). It’s no secret that we are quite open about our relationships with our mental health. It kinda comes with the territory. Creative? Tick. Songwriter? Tick. Depressed and/or anxious? Tick. This life we have chosen is very much a series of peaks and troughs and forces you through a very emotional journey. ‘Finish Line’ is a conversation with my former self, but I also kinda pictured it being a conversation with a friend too. Perhaps they are the same thing in this scenario, I don’t know. Whoever they are, they’re in a dark place, somewhere I have been before. They feel like waiting it out isn’t working and are growing impatient in their situation. I am there to reassure them that they just need to give themselves space and time. To talk about it. The one thing I can’t promise is a definitive finish line to this feeling. It’s about learning to cope and be the boat that floats on top of the waves that rise and fall. Living with mental illness is a journey, and it’s about learning to cope and understanding yourself better… it isn’t a case of curing yourself of all ailments and never looking back.