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Friendly Fires

Hardcore to Dance Floor

Feb 01, 2008 Friendly Fires Bookmark and Share

Friendly Fires, hailing from St. Albans, England, burst on the scene with a rousing, danceable cover of Jamie Principle’s infamous house cut “Your Love,” a far cry from their beginnings as a hardcore band. Bassist/singer Ed MacFarlane, guitarist Edd Gibson, and drummer Jack Savidge began playing together at age 13, finding inspiration in hardcore legends like Gorilla Biscuits. Inevitably, they got older, and they began to embrace house music and IDM. “We discovered that what we liked most is really lush, epic dance music,” says MacFarlane via e-mail. “That’s when we got heavily into Kompakt Records and deep German techno.”

The result thus far has been a an EP and a few acclaimed singles of rock/club fusion on par with contemporaries !!! and LCD Soundsystem. “We write music to dance to in a massive strobe light,” says MacFarlane. The beats confirm this, but Friendly Fires ultimately deal in songs. “Our main goal is to write a pop song that anyone can listen to,” MacFarlane continues. “That’s why our songs are all fairly short and regimentally structured. We are a pop band before a dance act.”

This is clear in their single “Paris,” its dense chorus owing more to My Bloody Valentine than The DFA. The band recorded it in their studio, which is actually MacFarlane’s garage. Perhaps a carry-over from the hardcore days, the band prefers a DIY approach to recording. At the time of Under the Radar‘s interview in December, the band were preparing to record a full-length, and wanted no part of any all-star producer. “We intend to produce the album ourselves,” Macfarlane says. “We want to create the whole package: the songs, the recordings and the artwork. We don’t like relying on other people.”

What will it sound like? “I think you should still expect a varied mixture of styles just like the EPs, but the newer songs [reflect] our lush, trancey house music influences,” MacFarlane explains. “Expect some slabs of pure euphoric bliss compressed under thumping house beats.”

Along with the new album, expect quite a bit of touring this year, including some limited U.S. dates. They also have some remixes on the way, including one for Les Savy Fav. All part of the pop evangelism program. “Pop has been replaced by dull, dreary indie schmindy music here in England,” says MacFarlane. “We want to bring good pop music back.”


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