After the release of their critically acclaimed second album Pala, Friendly Fires went on a huge world tour from Europe to Asia and then South America. The band have travelled far from the first rehearsals in their hometown of St. Albans to the international success they enjoy today. A few hours before their gig at the Trinity Ball in Dublin, drummer Jack Savidge and lead guitarist Ed Gibson sat with us to talk about their experience during this extensive tour, college prom memories, and their upcoming festival headliner gigs, featuring one gig at Forbidden Fruit in June.
How is the tour going until now ?
Jack: It’s fun, before we were in South America and we managed to go around six different countries, it was cool to still be at this stage in our career, playing for new audiences, new people that have never seen us before.
How is it different from playing in Europe, in terms of the reception for example ?
Ed: They’re quite excitable. I think there’s something about the heat, they’ll scream louder than other audiences. It helps you enthusiasm level. I don’t know if there are so many international bands playing there every week, so it’s more of an event. There’s still a magic about live music and rock ‘n’ roll there. We were in a hotel with the Foo Fighters and we saw banners in the streets, it was amazing. It was funny because we pretended the “FF” logo was ours.
Tonight you’re playing for the Trinity Ball, are you pumped ? Have you ever played for something like this before ?
Jack: We played at my university a year after I left but it was really really bad. It was really early in our career, they put money on the real bands and we got a bit left over. We were talking to our booking agent, and we asked “what can you get us first ?” he said “£100 and some warm lager” (laughs). But Trinity Ball seems like a really big thing with a good line-up.
Do you have memories of going to the university ball as a student ?
Edd: No, not really cause I didn’t find it interesting. I shouldn’t say that ! (laughs)
Jack: I did have tickets to go to mine but a friend of mine was dumped by her boyfriend so I hung out with the crying girl and didn’t get to watch the Fun Lovin’ Criminals who were playing that night, which is probably a good thing.
You got big plans for the summer with festivals like Roskilde, Sziget, Lovebox, are you preparing something different ?
I think we’re gonna do some fun stuff for Lovebox, it’s definitely a special gig for us.
You played three times there, good memories ?
Really good definitely. I don’t remember the first one but for the second one we were up against Duran Duran and we did alright which is great. It’s a festival I genuinely like to go to, because it’s near where I live but also it seems like a really ‘London’ festival, they have a sort of ‘across the board’ line-up with many different things and genres.
You played some DJ sets in Ireland in february, tonight you’re at the Trinity Ball and soon at Forbidden Fruit, do you have a special relationship to this country ?
I would say we try to make up for the time when we didn’t play in Ireland. We feel the guilt of not having played often here so we want to rectify that. We did a really great show at the Olympia some months ago.
You’ve been touring your last album for more than a year, what’s the…
…best gig you played ?
Jack: I think probably Glastonbury. It really worked, it was fantastic, the weather changed, the rain stopped and the sun came out, there was a huge crowd.
Edd: We were against a mystery act that was revealed to be Pulp, so we got lucky people stayed, we did alright.
…best moment you had ?
Edd: Out of the Glastonbury thing, there was a gig we played in Columbia. It was a really big venue around 2000 people, when we arrived there was next to nobody in there. We thought that was gonna be awful and nobody in Columbia knew us. And finally people arrived and it felt like this kind of electricity you have when you expect nothing and suddenly it all works out.
…song that keeps playing in your tour bus ?
Edd: Well we all have our mp3 player so we don’t really listen to music together. I listen to a lot of Steely Dan at the moment.
…best meal you had ?
Edd: There was this one time when I ordered lobster, it was on a bed of pasta. I saw the cook in the kitchen and it looked like a trailer for the wrath of the titans, trying to kill this beast with a knife …
Do you plan on releasing new material anytime soon ?
Jack: We have some things knocking around but haven’t had time to really get to it.
Friendly Fires play Forbidden Fruit next month.