Interview: Friendly Fires.
I was lucky enough to chat with Jack Savidge from Friendly Fires late last year, roughly about two days after Keisha was fired from the Sugababes. Which was, obviously, something we talked about…
Hi Jack how are you?
Yeah yeah good good, how are you?
Very good thank you Jack! You guys were up for the Mercury Prize but that ended with you being in hospital? What the hell happened?
Yeah yeah, in the couple of days before the Mercury Prize we were recording in Paul Epworth’s studio, I just got this weird rash; I was really really feverish, and just felt dreadful. My left leg was also swelling and I was finding it really hard to walk on it. So I kind of, I went home early from the studio and then overnight it just got worse. I took it to the doctor and they told me to get to hospital! It was like a blood poisoning thing, anyway, I stayed in hospital for a night and, you know, I kinda felt a bit better but not 100%, but I kind of discharged myself (laughs). But I sort of explained that I absolutely had to go to the Mercury Prize (laughs) and there was no way I was staying longer. Of course, I got there and felt like absolute shit and had quite a rubbish night. And then we didn’t win! (Laughs). I went back to the doctor and begged them to send me back to hospital, he gave me a couple of injections in my arse (laughs) and I just got on with it myself.
Everything okay now?
Yeah it’s fine, it’s still a bit swollen though but it’s doing fine. I actually went to a festival the next weekend, I felt fine enough to stay there the whole weekend, though my leg was still a bit of a mess (laughs). It was kind of against doctors orders. Again. But you know, it’s more fun than hanging around in bed. It was funny. I’ve never had to stay in hospital overnight. It didn’t help that we’d just finished touring and my immune system was shot. After touring for so long there comes a point where the immune system stops you and says “Oi you know what mate? I’m having a rest now too.” (laughs).
Are you guys even thinking of a follow-up album yet?
Yeah well we’ve actually just started sort of working on it, there’s a few ideas knocking around, we actually just finished off today a re-recording of “On Board”, we kinda wanna release it as a single, all the separate tracks are on Ed’s computer, and he can’t find the stems for it. The original recording would need a mix to sound good on radio blah blah, so we’re actually re-recording it and it sounds quite different. It almost has a stripper-jazz style to it now. You know, it’s good. I mean, it was something the record company suggested to us, to re-record it, blah blah, and we did have a choice in the matter, but although it was a business driven suggestion made by them, there’s absolutely no reason why it can’t be a really good piece of music in its own right. But there’s a couple of ideas we’ve got down, it’s slowly taking shape, but we kinda wanted to start things off fairly easily just because we’ve been touring for so long too, give each other a break from each other (laughs).
There’s an Aeroplane remix of your track “Paris” featuring the vocal of Au Revoir Simmone, who actually laid the backing vocals on your original album version; was this something you’d discussed with Aeroplane beforehand?
Well when it was first released, “Paris” didn’t have those backing vocals on it, when it went on the album we wanted Rich to mix it, coz we thought we could get an extra 10% out of the sound of it, and we thought some nice backing vocals through the chorus might lift it, and it is kind of a boy-girl friendship song, and he suggested Au Revoir Simmone; we didn’t want something to interfere with Ed’s vocals and it all just matched up perfectly. The thing with the Aeroplane remix, he got the stems and they just decided to use the girls vocals. And use the girls vocals they did! And it sounds really good! I like the idea of it, it’s almost like someone doing a cover of your song rather than a simple remix.
You recently played a homecoming set in St Albans – how was that?
Really good! The theatre that it was in is the kind of place they put on pantomimes and stuff. Kids shows, like, I think in the early days of The Wiggles, they played there. The Australian thing, you know them?
(Laughs) So it’s not your average kind of gig venue. Which has no P.A. or hard-rocking lights or anything, but we went to town on the production side of it and got probably our most exciting light show ever, it was absolutely blinding, no Adem I mean literally blinding…
Not blindingly good, just literal blindness. So it was really good (laughs). I was very proud of that night.
I heard that a lot of Detroit Techno and the likes of Carl Craig played an influence in your sound, is there any truth to that?
Yeah, well we’re all big fans of techno, that was on Wikipedia wasn’t it?
(Laughter) It actually was! It’s also a question my mate Mike asked me to ask you.
(Laughs) Yeah I’m sure it’s answer we gave in an interview once (laughs again) and now that’s what we’ve been labelled as (laughs again). No but no, we all love Carl Craig, his remixes and his own tracks are incredible. A lot of his tracks are really kind of lush, but also danceable, I think there’s an aspect of that in our band as well you know? There’s a strong sense of melody, but stuff for the dance floor as well.
So any date set for the next album?
I guess we’ll have to see where it goes. We’re aiming for a… I dunno, maybe October 2010 release, that’ll be quite a lot of time in between the two albums, but the way it’s gone, we re-released it, and our profile was much lower then that it is now, or around the Mercury Prize and things like that. When the first album was re-released, we were already starting to work on the second you know. The re-release also gave us the opportunity to tour America and, you know, we had no idea when we’d released the album that it would end up all the way in Australia. It is quite a big gap in between the records, but it’s just systematic of how things have gone on. It’s kind of a balancing act; you don’t want to take too long but you don’t want to bloody rush it either (laughs).
Before I let you go Jack, what are your thoughts on Keisha being fired from the Sugababes?
(Laughs) Oh right! Well! It’s quite weird isn’t it? They don’t have any more original members left… I don’t know… I wonder if it’s the first time that’s ever happened in a real up-front mainstream way… There’s this boy band in South America… what’s their name?
Yes! (Laughs) They’ve been going for 20 years, I think they kick out their members when they reach the age of 18. But it’s kind of more of a brand now. I’m sure they’ll still be doing well. It’s kind of weird in the sense – I’d like to know who owns the rights to the name Sugababes you know? Because we as a band own the copyright of Friendly Fires. If none of the original members of the band are there then it certainly can’t be any of them that own it. And the name kinda runs with them. Anyway; that’s my thoughts on that stuff.
Thank you for the chat Jack, was a pleasure.
Cheers mate! Bye then!