After performing a stunning set brimming with new tunes and old favourites, we caught up with Will and Nick from indie band Flyte last month at the intimate Barn on the Farm Festival. Flyte give us the lowdown on their upcoming full-length record, playing live and performing with Carole King. Check out the interview below:
How does recording the album differ from recording your previous EPs?
Will: It was very different, but not in a shocking way. It was similar in one sense because the things we’ve done previously have been done quite live and we used a tape machine to record Closer Together and Please Eloise. We were doing it ourselves in our archway that’s under a trainline, where every time a train goes over you hear all the amps and instruments just rattle and shake.
Nick: The trains definitely made it onto the records, on every single one!
Will: Eloise and Closer Together, if you listen closely you can definitely hear some train. This time we went and did it properly and went into a proper studio. This guy was really thorough and really amazing and totally disinterested in what were the singles and what was going to be the radio song and all that kind of stuff. We all unanimously said, ‘Let’s make a record that we’re really proud of and that we can listen to from start to finish, and love every track and not skip any track.’ We’ve put an equal amount of love into each track and not kind of lose your mind. You can lose your mind if you’re just recording one song for two months and then you hate it, and then you’re not even sure if it’s good or not. Normally it’s like, find the single!
Nick: Find the magic thing that people are going to love!
Will: But it’s not just about one song, it’s about the whole picture. It’s about loving it and loving being in each other’s company. That’s the most valuable thing. If you overwork something for too long in each other’s presence in the wrong way, then you start to lose the point. So we’re very careful not to do that. We’re really proud of the album because it’s exactly the record that we wanted to make, not the label’s and not the radio or the fans or anything, we just made it for us. If it goes down well then that’s great, but if it doesn’t, I don’t care!
What percentage of songs that you make would you say get cut from the finished album?
Nick: We’re not that frivolous, I mean, we don’t write loads and loads actually. We keep it quite lean I think.
Yeah, because I write quite a fair amount and it does pile up
obviously, but then the band filter of songs will be a lot narrower and
more discerning. We’ve put 14 tracks on this record already, well we’ve
recorded 14 in the session that we did. I could list another 20 that I
am upset about not being recorded in the session. It’s not necessarily
that one wasn’t good enough and one was better. It’s often about which
one is feeling good at the time of the recording session. The songs come
and go like the weather, one month one song is just feeling like the
best most exciting one!
Nick: I think we definitely wanted to
take a snapshot of where we were exactly at that point and that’s why we
chose those songs.
Will: We’ve just worked really really fast
on making a record and done it really live and recorded to tape. It was
the Courtney Barnett producer who flew over from Australia, and we had
him for a month, so we had him for just one month to do the whole thing.
Did you explore a main theme when recording the LP?
Will: I got quite studious about it actually, wanting to kind of make sure that the voice was consistent and was telling the same story and that there was a narrative throughout the whole album. I hope that comes across. We explored a lot of things. ‘Eloise’ is about eating disorders. One new song, is about the 12-step programme in AA. Another song is about anxiety and is based around Grayson Perry’s programme on masculinity, so that was very much based on those themes and the anxiety that males have about keeping up to standards. We were trying to hit as many important aspects of the world that we were living in and articulate them.
You played some new songs today at Barn on the Farm Festival, one was inspired by Lena Dunham?
Will: It’s called ‘Not That Kind of Girl’, which is the title of her biography. So I just stole the title from her. That’s a fun song that we’ve put on the record at the last minute and we wanted to try it out today to see what it felt like. It’s a bit of a slow one that was kind of hard to gauge.
Nick: I’d say it’s slow and sexy..
Will: Nick likes it because he likes sexy things! It was actually the only song that was kind of like not high energy, so it was interesting to see the crowd and you could hear them listening to the song and you can’t kind of get in their heads at that point. If they’re jumping up and down and singing along because they know the song already, or if it’s quite an upbeat song, to us it looks like that’s the one they’re enjoying the most. When I’m in the crowd and singing and jumping up and down, it isn’t necessarily the song that I’m enjoying the most, that’s just the one that I’m engaging with the most. The one song where you stand there and just listen and you hear all the words, that’s my favourite kind of song. I think we need to try and stay strong and get more of that into our set.
How has the transition been from going straight from recording to playing the live circuit again?
Will: We were trying to not diverge too much when we got to the studio, in terms of keeping things live, keeping together, not going down that tunnel of multi-tracking and layering and going crazy about the EQ on a specific drum or something. Do you know what I mean? We were just keeping it live.
Nick: Yes, it’s just playing in a room, doing the thing we do.
Will: At the same time, you do forget what it’s like being on stage and dealing with feedback and monitors. I feel a little bit rusty but that can be quite fun too!
Nick: I’m enjoying being rusty! We’re sort of putting the feelers out there, like ‘is this good?’
Will: There’s been a bit of a blasé attitude since we left the studio, it’s been like, oh, we’ll try some stuff out and if it goes well, great, and if it doesn’t, it’s fine because we’re not prepared and haven’t properly rehearsed everything. I don’t think we’re a fan of rehearsing. I think for us it’s about keeping the material as fresh as possible, for as long as possible. If you play the song over and over again, then you lose perspective. That’s why working on tape is really nice, because you do three takes and then you run out of tape! It’s done and then you have to pick one. We used tape for two reasons. 1) because it sounds great. 2) because it imposes limitations which is always a good thing. The minute you limit yourself, the minute you define what it is that you’re doing. Tape allows us to do that.
What’s your favourite thing about playing intimate festivals such as these?
Will: I think that because it’s less commercial, we have more of our fans here I think, which is really nice. That’s where we dwell right now, in the alternative sphere. For us, it’s really nice to be able to have an audience.
Nick: It’s really gratifying, after being in a dark room for a month and to come out and see people there and just being kind is so nice.
Will: As opposed to just ourselves and seeing each other’s faces. A windowless room to a nice sunny open field is always a good experience. It seems really nice here and the line-up is really good. We’re hoping to catch HONNE who are mates of ours from London and Billie Marten who is a good friend. Oh Wonder are headlining tonight, they’re pals, they’re on Island as well with us. There are lots of mates kicking about which is really nice.
Nick: We played 5-a-side football earlier!
Will: We arrived and went straight into a football match!
Nick: It was Flyte versus Amber Run and Hudson Taylor! It was pretty even actually, we didn’t get destroyed which was amazing.
Will: I was in goal and I was so bad. I think we lost vaguely because of me. So that was nice.
Any plans for the rest of the summer?
Will: We’re playing with Carole King tomorrow at British Summer Time. It’s amazing! We were told by the organisers that she said that she’s play only if she could approve the line-up of the day. That technically means that she must’ve heard some of our stuff, so that’s definitely a good sign. I’m going to try and find her trailer and try and pen a tune with her quickly! I bet she carries a grand piano around with her wherever she goes. I want to get in that situation with her and tweet loads if I do!
Tickets are now on sale for Barn on the Farm 2017- with the new intimate Thursday and Friday tickets already sold out, this is sure to to be another incredible edition. Get your weekend tickets whilst you still can!