BY SHAMYRA ABBOTT
2017’s been a big old year for Flyte. After years of numerous infectious indie singles and constant touring, August marked the release of the London quartet’s highly-anticipated debut album, ‘The Loved Ones’. Straight after their Birmingham gig supporting The Lemon Twigs, we chatted with the guys to discuss songwriting, America 2018 – and Skipton.
First off guys, how was the gig?
Taylor (vocals/guitar): We loved the gig. We’re really glad to have made it, having broken down the night before in the Yorkshire Dales. And I wanted to tell the audience because it felt like a triumph! Yeah, it was great. We’ve enjoyed every show of this tour. We’re fans of The Lemon Twigs, and it feels like because of that, have an incredibly similar set of influences. So it maybe feels like the audiences kind of get us as well – which is really nice! A ready made audience on our level.
How long did it take you to get here in the end?
Jon Supran (drums): It was just a few hours in the end – but it was a lot of waiting for the man to fix the car. We were stuck in Skipton, weren’t we!
Taylor: It was a lot of drama! There were lots of nice Yorkshire people who were very bemused at the fact that we were a band walking around in our trench coats, looking like ponces. They loved it.
I know you mentioned that the last venue you played here in Birmingham was a similar size to the Institute, and you played Manchester’s Ritz a couple of nights ago. What’s it like playing bigger venues?
Taylor: It’s good! I think sometimes, that’s the best thing about support tours – that you get to kind of dip your head in the water. Tonight is a lot like the kind of venues we do play, but when we supported Bombay Bicycle Club, that was our first support tour – and it went from just getting together straight to playing Brixton Academy size places, and that was terrifying.
Which do you prefer – the smaller or bigger venues?
Supran: I prefer the smaller places, when you can see individual people and not just a sea of audience. It’s a little bit more connected.
Sam Berridge: (guitar/keyboards): It’s just more intimate.
Taylor: The sea can be epic, and you kind of come off being like “We played to a sea of people” – but you know, Berlin was great. The first time we played there, it was a nervous night for some reason. But we loved it. I think nerves are good and keep you feeling. If you’re too casual and too calm about everything, touring probably gets to be a bit of a drag. So it’s nice to still have that nerve and adrenaline still there. That kind of room is just you and the audience, isn’t it? It’s always better.
How do you think playing Europe was different?
Berridge: The hospitality. They’re amazingly grateful to have you, and the venues make much more of an effort to feed you, provide you with free drinks, etc. It’s awesome.
Taylor: It’s like the trains, or any other thing they do, they seem to do a lot better than the UK. They treat the bands like human beings. That’s doing the UK a bit of a disservice, but you definitely feel like you’re getting first class treatment.
Going back a bit – who, or what, made you all get involved in music?
Taylor: It was a way of making your own identity at school, and maybe a bit of a self-defence mechanism. It’s a nice, protective shield, because everyone tries to find that in some way or another at school – but a band’s a quick way of getting that. When you find it, you go “This feels great” and then you just sort of go “Oh, well obviously I don’t wanna do anything else because this is best thing”.
Berridge: My dad was a music teacher, so I didn’t have any choice in the matter. I’ve just always been doing it, literally as long as I can remember.
Taylor: Jon and I were at school together and Nick (Hill: bass) was in the other school. We had two comprehensive schools where we grew up, and they were rival ones. Nick was in rival bands, so it was a bit of a Montague and Capulet situation that resolved when we all grew up a bit. So we’ve all known each other for a very long time. We met Sam later busking in the London underground.
Berridge: Singing for my supper!
Taylor: When it was the four of us, we realised we all had these voices that complimented each other. It was a lovely aspect; it wasn’t just the normal band thing, it was a lot more to do with our voices, our taste in music and our passion for songwriting, that kind of stuff, rather than wanting to be a rock band or something cliche.
Speaking of songwriting, were there any recorded parts on The Loved Ones that you didn’t like, or thought were cringe, but everyone else wanted to keep?
Supran: I think that happens in the writing process and the arranging process. That’s kind of the power of having four people.
Berridge: But I don’t think there’s anything that ended up on the album that we didn’t like. Occasionally one person will think this might not be right for the song.
Taylor: I’ve heard people remark on it, people who’ve worked with us like producers and that. They said that like it’s a noteworthy level of democracy between the four of us. Each one of seems to be simultaneously leading us in unison, where there’s no person who’s half out the door. That can be a real pain in the arse because everyone wants to be happy – but once everyone’s happy, then it really is our thing and you get the sense of ownership together.
For readers who aren’t fans yet, what song on the album would you tell them to listen to first?
Taylor: I think maybe the all encompassing one is ‘Cathy Come Home’ ’cause it has so many different sections. If they’ve only got three minutes to hear us, then they’ll hear us do at least three little bits.
What’s one thing you would like people to know about Flyte?
Taylor: That’s a difficult question… one that if we answered now we’d probably give you a bad answer, ‘cause that takes some thinking.
Berridge: We try and make it all apparent in the music. So we haven’t thought a huge amount about that one.
Taylor: I think I would like people to know that we’re kind of thinking on our own terms, not trying to be placed alongside anything else, and that we’re letting our own creativity lead the thought process.
Finally, what does 2018 have in store for you? At your Liverpool gig you mentioned another album…
Taylor: We’ve definitely got our eye on that. There’s a lot of songs that obviously that didn’t make the first album, and there were definitely some fans that got annoyed with us for leaving certain tracks off. But the second record is a chance to sometimes use the stuff that didn’t make the first one. Right now we’re writing. We’re trying to find that lock in the door that we’re rattling – and when the door swings open, you know you’re ready.
And America 2018. We’re going to America for the first time! We’re doing SXSW and a little tour, so we’re really excited about that. Hopefully they’ll like us there, the Anglophiles. It’s a very English thing – so they either wont understand it, or they’ll love it ‘cause we’re English!