They smashed 2017 to smithereens with a run of solid gold bangers. In 2018, Fickle Friends drop their debut album. Clear the dance floors - this one's about to get messy.
"If we could throw a festival with all our favourite bands in the whole world on the fucking moon...” Natti Shiner daydreams. “Take them all with us, we’ll all go,” she enthuses. “It’ll be a big party on the rocket ship on the way up. It’d be fantastic.” Sure, the moon might be slightly out of reach for the Brighton outfit, but as they ready themselves for the year ahead, Fickle Friends’ steady rise to fame seems certain to go stratospheric.
It’s been almost four years since the band released their first song. Building up momentum through their succession of singles, EPs, and storming live shows, the time has never felt more ripe for Fickle Friends. Fresh from a string of sold-out shows on a headline tour of the UK, the group are making every moment count. “Today on my list of jobs I’ve got to go sit in a coffee shop and do some rewrites for this three-year-old song,” Natti details. “I know the guys are at home today working on other things,” she adds. “When we’re so busy it’s do what you can, when you can.”
The work that Fickle Friends do is a relentless craft, and one the band have come to command with a grace that feels addictively effortless. Constructing dynamic -offerings of -polished pop grounded in engagingly real emotion, this is music that speaks directly to you. Deep-rooted feelings become fuel for an all-out dance-a-long, creating the soundtrack of shimmering brightness that we’ve all been craving.
With music as contagiously buoyant as it is bright, this is a band that aren’t afraid to give voice to their darker sides – and that’s part of their charm. Turning their worries and their flaws into contagious sing-a-longs, this is pop music at its most real. “I’m a bit of a fucking emo kid, you know?” Natti laughs. “I love writing dancey pop music, but all my lyrics are so emo. I just can’t write happy lyrics, obviously,” she smirks.
It’s their fine-tuned ability to turn innately felt emotion into something anthemic that presents Fickle Friends as so universally endearing. “Music is the best source of honesty,” Natti states. “I never used to think about how important the message was. But if you’re honest in your writing and music then people start identifying with it so much more and responding to it so much better. And if you’re feeling shit or feeling heartbroken or whatever then when can you say it?”
Dancing out of the dark with a boundless energy, the music that Fickle Friends make is born out of a sheer enjoyment of what they’re doing. “It’s the best job in the world,” the frontwoman enthuses. “The fact that people are actually paying money to come see us play a gig is pretty mental.” Not ones to take anything for granted, the band are pulling out all the stops to bring their hopeful expectations to collide with reality.
“With the album coming what we obviously want to do is bigger tours,” Natti offers excitedly, grinning. “I think what we’re going to do before that is do a downplay tour; sometimes doing intimate shows is really, really nice. Then when the album comes out: boom, hit them with a big tour.”
The album in question has been a long time coming. A work in progress since they signed with Polydor Records in 2016, Fickle Friends’ debut record has finally reached its finishing stages, ready to push the band to brand new heights early next year. Described by the group as containing “a hell of a lot of variety,” the album is a presentation of everything the outfit have come to be.
“It’s not all upbeat, big pop songs,” Natti mulls. “There’s a couple of darker things in there.” Drawing together songs written as long as three years ago with songs written as recently as the last week, it was working on the album that gave the group the opportunity to flex their creative muscles and really figure out who they are.
“A lot of it is about turbulent relationships or feeling like you’re not yourself,” the frontwoman portrays. “I think the overarching theme of the whole record is not recognising yourself, or growing up a little bit.” Establishing their identity as they worked, the result sees the band tighter than ever, truly ready to make their mark and make it last.
“The album coming out is the most terrifying thing,” Natti exclaims, “but it’s also exciting.” With work on the record under completion and a release date set for early 2018, it won’t be long before we all get the chance to dive headfirst into that excitement for ourselves. “I’m just looking forward to playing in places we’ve never been before,” she professes. “Hopefully people who’ve never heard our music can start hearing it.”
“I was thinking to myself, 8000 people came to see us on the UK tour,” Natti considers with a grin. “If every one of those people bought a record then, you know, we’d be doing alright, and we’d probably get picked up for a second option,” she laughs. Coming up with ideas for a second album before they’ve even finished their first, Fickle Friends are paving a road to success of their own making.
“Basically I just want it to be well received, and get the go-ahead to do a second record,” the frontwoman continues. “This one was fun, but such a mess. I kind of know what we’d do with the second one.” If the enthusiasm and energy that’s been present through the crowds at any one of their recent shows is any firm indication, then Fickle Friends have nothing to worry about.
“We never expected to be where we are now when we first put a song out so long ago,” Natti gushes. “Every tour has always gotten better. There’s more and more people coming to the shows. It seems to be going somewhere.” Make no doubt about it: Fickle Friends are ready to take the world by storm. With their debut album almost ready and an abundance of tour dates soon to follow, this is only the beginning.
Taken from the December 2017 / January 2018 issue of Dork, out now. Order a copy here.