Festival season officially kicked off for me this year with an invite to the Live At Leeds press conference earlier last month held at one of Leeds’s top venue’s The Wardrobe, along with a first look at this year’s full line up I had the opportunity to meet a number of the bands playing LAL2016 including local lads Dear Friends. I caught up with the band shortly after to chat about their slot at this year’s festival and the release of debut album Tales From The Den.
AMBY: Dear Friends are…..
DF: Worth surrounding yourself with! Band wise- we’ve got Chris, Karl, Matt, James and Fraser.
AMBY: And are you dear friends?
DF: Very much so. We’ve been friends for more years than we’d probably like to own up to. Chris, Karl, Matt and Fraser have been tinkering about musically pretty much since school in various different amalgamations of different bands, and James has fallen in along the way. We all get on great apart from James, he can be a right old grumpy mare, but hey you’ve got to respect differences and all that. Only jesting! We love spending time together, who wouldn’t. We drink tea, play guitars and occasionally call out for chicken- it doesn’t really get much better. And we like it that way.
AMBY: I caught you guys recently at the Live At Leeds press launch recently where you were announced as one of the acts playing this year’s festival that’s pretty exciting news…
DF: Hell yea – super news. This year just seems to be getting better and better. From a selfish point of view LAL will hopefully give us access to a whole new audience which is really exciting.
AMBY: There’s some great bands playing LAL this year who will you be hoping to catch play?
DF: Between us we’ve got quite eclectic tastes and LAL caters for all of us. I know Mystery Jets and Ghostpoet are acts we’ll watch out for. Sad, sad news about the Viola Beach guys, we’re sure there’ll be an air of remembrance throughout the whole event.
AMBY: You released your debut album Tales From The Den the day after the LAL announcement so a pretty big week for Dear Friends how does it feel to have released an album?
DF: It’s a weird one. It’s the culmination of a hell of a lot of hard work as we’ve pretty much done everything ourselves. In this day and age that’s something that doesn’t happen too often. When we finally pressed the ‘finish’ button we all took a sigh of relief. It turns out though that was just the start we are as busy now as we’ve ever been and it doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.
AMBY: I haven’t been able to get Take It To Them out of my head since I got a sneak preview of the album, what’s your favourite track and why?
DF: It’s a great tune and yeah catchy. We’ve got a few like that, but as we’ve spent so long concentrating on those eleven songs we’ve almost become immune to their appeal. People are like OMG… We love… So and so… and we’re thinking we must have heard it 4000 times and there’s a duff note from ginger in the second chorus! Ha ha No in all honesty we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved it’s beautiful. We’ve all got different favourite songs, but four of us really love Whistler. The track has already had loads of airplay from the BBC, but mainly because it’s Chris’s least favourite, and it mildly annoys him that it’s out most successful song to date! Do you like our squirrels? They’re ace aren’t they? Even if people don’t like what we’ve got to sing about they can’t help but love the artwork!!
AMBY: You recently played a show at The Wardrobe in Leeds for the album launch how was it?
DF: The most fun we’ve had with our clothes on in a long long time. Everyone that loves us was there and everyone that’s beginning to love us was there too. It was an amazing night- all went past a little too quickly.
AMBY: And where can we catch you play live next?
DF: We’ve purposefully not booked anything in for a little while possibly until LAL. We’re trying to get some writing done and were in talks with some guys about shooting a video; they’ve got their work cut out to make us look pretty ha ha. We’ll keep you posted on any updates Ginger likes the mountain top, windswept guitars and hair waving in the wind, balled type things with lashings of spandex, but the rest of us aren’t entirely sold on that one!
AMBY: What’s coming up next for you then? What do you have planned for 2016?
DF: Writing, filming and hopefully doing as many festivals as possible. We need to clean our studio too. It stinks. As we said, we’ve got a gig at the blues bar and then on with some writing ASAP. There are lots of ideas kicking around that we need to demo before we forget them! And plenty of rehearsing for LAL and other shows we may have coming up… We’ve been lucky enough to have Radio 2 amongst other stations playing ‘Whistler’ so we’re looking at getting more air play to see where that takes us and doing a video to go along with it. It’s pretty much about getting ourselves out there and forcing people to listen to us as much as we possibly can. And that’s just what we plan to do!
Thank you Dear Friends, for giving us your answers! We look forward to catching up with the guys again at LAL this month. For more info on Live At Leeds festival including full details of this year’s incredible line up visit here.
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Interview by Fi Carroll | @dirtyroknroller