Getting to Know You… FUR

For Give It Back’s ‘Top 10 to Watch in 2016’ article, I put forward FUR as one of my choices. The boys have two superb tracks out on Soundcloud which encapsulate a genre of their own whilst also showing tell-tale signs of the band’s plethora of influences. I wasn’t going to miss their Brighton début at BLEACH, especially not since they had some wonderful support acts as well. So I caught up with them for an interview about three hours before they were due to go on. It was pleasant to see that this was Live Medicine’s first go at pulling off a live show too and they did a fantastic job, ultimately selling out the show and getting all varieties of music fans to show their faces – they are definitely ones to look out for.

The first band to take to the stage were Beetniks (not ‘The’, let’s get that straight now). Beetniks brought cataclysmic amounts of energy to their set, churning out fast-paced and rhythmically complex numbers that have great chorus-laden guitar hooks and and a solid rhythm section. The choppiness of the time signatures in the songs remind us of old Costello tunes, but ultimately have the raw playing style of a band like the Rammones. All this and more, as the band is fronted with confidence by Nick, whose singing style ranges right from Iggy Pop to Jamie from Get Inuit. With a handful of songs on Soundcloud, Beetniks are striving for some deserved air time.

Next to slink in front of a happy crowd made up of Monday-nighters were Seats. Having not heard Seats before I was really excited to see what they brought to the table. I was in no way disappointed either. Seats brought confidence to their set, rightfully so, as they blasted ears with reverb-drenched guitars and low resonance synthesisers that gave out a fairly incomparable sound. The singer also turned heads with his ability to jump so quickly from a low to a high that it created an almost science-fiction ray gun effect in the microphone, impressive but not overdone either.

So, if I’m not mistaken, this is actually your first show in Brighton?

Harry: Yeah, this is our first show as a full band in Brighton. We’ve done a few gigs before but with different members, so, me and Will met each other over the summer and we wrote some together and we were like ‘Let’s do a gig before we go to Brighton’. We did a few shows and then we moved so we didn’t have a drummer and bassist anymore until we met these guys and now we’re rocking Brighton.

Oh cool, if you’ve got a new lineup shall we have everyone’s names and professions?

Tav: Yeah, I’m Tav and I play bass.

Flynn: Flynn, drums.

Will: I’m Will and I sing lead vocals and play rhythm guitar.

Harry: I’m Harry and I play lead guitar.

Excellent, I caught your soundcheck and it was sounding good. I don’t really know how to describe your music, maybe a bit doo-woppy? But, there’s nobody really doing that style in the same way that you guys are at all, and I was just wondering if that was due to any specific writing techniques?

Will: Yeah, we usually come up with an idea and if it turns out to be fully formed on Logic or something we’ll just sling it on our Soundcloud private account so we can all listen to it.

Tav: Sling it?

Will: Yeah, sling it. But once we’ve got something fully written and recorded like ‘Creature’ and ‘One and Twenty’ we’ll release it on the public Soundcloud.

Nice, I’ve seen on your private account that you’ve got demos that are just guitar, is it on the guitar that the songs generally start, in terms of writing?

Will: It usually starts off with riff ideas or chord ideas, but that’s all on the private apart from the ones we’ve released publicly, just so we can all listen and be on the same wavelength.

Harry: I’m afraid of someone hacking our Soundcloud and releasing it all.

Living in fear? Speaking of, don’t you guys all live together?

Will: Me, Tav and Harry live together. Flynn lives about two minutes round the corner.

Flynn: Next year we’re all living together though.

Tav: FUR will be in the Brighton party house.

Will: Stay tuned for FUR parties, yeah?

Harry: With everyone dressed up as ferries. [All laugh]

Flynn: That’s how you introduced me to band, isn’t it?

Tav: Yeah, Harry went up to Flynn and asked ‘Do you wanna be a furry?’

Harry: I was drunk mate.

Tav: Yeah but isn’t that when people dress up as animals and fuck each other?

Will: Fancy dress dogging!?

Is that a good description of the music? Fancy dress dogging?

Will: [Laughing] Yeah, straight up.

Sweet, I noticed during sound check that there’s rarely a moment when you [to Will] and Harry are playing the same chords together, it’s really intricate at points.

Will: It’s quite easy when you’re writing songs to not have another guitar line. So mostly it’s just rhythm and lead.

Harry: We try not to over-complicate things but it’s true that we play different inversions together to stop things sounding really muddy.

Will: Yeah, different shapes to get both ends of the spectrum.

Do you think that comes from writing with Logic, so almost live production as you’re actually writing the songs?

Will: I’d say so. Even if we’ve got a little riff idea with drums and guitars we’ll still try and produce it so we can get an idea of what it’ll sound like when it’s fully formed.

[To Tav] Would you say that’s how you write rhythm sections parts as well? So, where Harry and Will are playing harmonising guitars are you doing the same kind of thing with the bass lines?

Tav: Yeah, what will usually happen is that Harry and Will will bring a song idea to a practice and I’ll play root notes to start with and then I’ll start adding little fills and everything kind of comes together.

So you’re really working on getting a nice, hooky sound? In that case, are there any influences in particular that you could attribute your sound to?

Harry: Well, we’re trying to go our own way, so we’re not looking up to any band saying ‘We want to be them’. Individually, we all have our own influences and playing styles and stuff. So I like Jeff Buckley’s and Mac Demarco’s playing styles, particularly Mac’s chorus sound.

Tav: I like The Growlers’ bass lines.

Will: Ultimately, we don’t want people to respond to our music by saying ‘It’s the new Arctic Monkeys’ or something, that’s not really what it’s about.

It’s good that you’re determined to get your own sound.

Will: I mean, unconsciously, we’ll always emulate people.

Harry: Unconsciously?

Tav: When you’re asleep?

Will: Shut up, mush. Subconsciously is what I meant.

Those gigs you played together before this show, where were they?

Will: Hitching.

Harry: Will’s from Hitching and I’m from Luton, which isn’t that far away, so we spent a lot of our musical time in the summer in Hitching and we just gigged around there for a little bit. We supported Moats which was awesome because they’re good friends of ours.

Will: Yeah, we played with some fill-in bassists and drummers, then when we moved down here we were able to build a full line up.

So you met Tav and Flynn pretty easily down here?

Tav: Well yeah, I was supposed to move into a different house where a guy wanted to start a band but he flaked out and I lost the deposit. Then I found these guys, they asked me what I played and I said bass, I was in.

And how did you all meet Flynn?

Harry: Flynn is an incredible story. It was fresher’s week, me and Will wanted to go out and get a bit fucked…

Will: It was called ‘Fuck Me It’s Fresher’s’.

Harry: We went to ‘Shoosh’ which is like another world.

Will: Wonderland. It’s amazing.

Harry: So went there, got pretty drunk and then we went to get more drinks. So we’re in the queue, at this point we’re still looking for a drummer, and there’s this dude in the queue who looked quite cool so I turned to Will and said ‘Mate, should i ask if he plays drums?’

Will: I said no. I didn’t want to ask a random person if they played drums and end up looking like a dickhead. So I let harry do it.

Harry: So I headed up to him and said ‘Mate, do you play drums?’

And Flynn said…

Flynn: I was so confused. I was like ‘Yeah, yeah, how do you know?’ I was so drunk. I was so, so drunk. Very confused. Asked me if I wanted to be a furry.

Harry: We showed him some songs and he said yeah. Then we lost him, and as we were leaving we found him again and he was kissing a girl and throwing up at the same time.

Flynn: It wasn’t at the same time!

Harry: Whatever the case, she was a very lucky girl.

Will: So anyway, we traded numbers, met up at ours for a practice and took it from there!

You practiced at yours? I thought you didn’t have a kit?

[Various, lengthy and muffled profanities about their housemates and the heart-wrenching theft of cutlery are slew by FUR]

I don’t think I can write any of that up.

Will: Yeah, that’s fair enough.

Beetniks are just off to do their soundcheck, what do you think of their sound?

Harry: They’ve got two really great singles on Soundcloud. Really old-school indie vibes.

Will: I haven’t seen the live yet but people have told me they’ve got some catchy Libertinesy-type songs. Can’t wait.

And Seats?

Tav: They’ve got a wicked sound.

Harry: Seats are cool. They’ve got a music video up on Facebook, and it’s a great tune.

Tav: Yeah they’re less melodic but they do have a very mature sound.

Will: It’s like indie-pop shoegaze. You can dance to it.

Cool, so you’ve got ‘Creature’ and ‘One and Twenty’ out and you’ve got some gigs lined up, what’s the plan from there?

Harry: Global domination.

Tav: Please don’t say that.

Harry: Well, we’ve got plans to release a lot more music, some singles and maybe an EP.

Will: Yeah but also we might try and play it a bit tentatively. We’d really love to build a big live fan-base. So the message the listeners at the moment is kind of ‘If you want more, see us live’. Because we’ve got some good shows in the pipeline. We’re playing The Old Blue Last up in London and The Green Door Store soon as well.

Awesome, so you’re really putting the work in! Lastly, are there any bands we should be listening to but aren’t?

Tav: A band called DITZ.

Will: DITZ is our mate Anton’s project, it’s really good.

The boys went on to play a blinding show, with a fresh attitude towards music and how they should treat their fans. A friend of the band, Tom, joined them onstage for an energetic encore that had the crowd jumping. Will looked more than happy crooning away to his 60s psych-doo-wop whilst donning a wondrous Kimono for the entire ‘sold out’ show to see. One of the best shows of 2016 so far. Expect more goodness from everyone involved.

Words by Harvey Dent

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