It’s early in the morning in England when Jack Savidge calls. He wants to open the door to the garden while we talk. Here in Melbourne it’s pitch black and freezing. After this, Savidge and the rest of Friendly Fires are heading to the studio to work on some final arrangements and mixes of their long-awaited next album. They’re at the, “very, very, very”, end of the process.
Until now the band have been laying low. Aside from a few singles, Friendly Fires haven’t put out a record since 2012.
So, what have they been doing?
“I guess the answer is kind of bits and bobs. It’s been kind of interesting in that way. The band is a quite a big structure and it’s interesting to see what life is like outside of that, outside of that framework”, says Savidge, who has been busy himself DJing, drumming, and running a club night in London – which is returning for summer.
Before Friendly Fires took a break, the band had been in a sort-of bubble. “I guess where we were in our 20’s, having done quite a lot of touring for that amount of time, I think it doesn’t lead to three well-rounded individuals”, he chuckles.
Their bright pop and Tropicana infusion made them headliners, and saw them included in videogame soundtracks, TV ads and shows. Such was the ubiquity of Friendly Fires at their peak that it was strange not to hear from them.
Since going quiet, they’ve experienced life outside of the structure of a band. “What we’ve done, it’s like doing a PHD or something like that. Bit of a walk through the wildness, and come out of it with something worthwhile.”
It’s a nice metaphor.
After keeping pace for so many years, Savidge thinks the creativity never stopped but the work was unrelenting. “…You’re kind of on the treadmill a bit. And then after a while, you feel sort of, you’re falling behind. It’s easier if you have a pause than it is to try keep up with it.”
When pressed about the new album, Savidge couldn’t reveal anything. What he could say was that there are a few collaborations in the vain of their work with Disclosure. He also said the band had been working some of the songs from the upcoming record into their live sets. “It’s kind of like road testing them and tidying them up.”
He’s adamant there were no jitters getting back into record mode, but says there’s a, “heart-in-mouth feeling when you’re about to present something to the public. Ultimately, that’s an exciting thing”.
Catch Friendly Fires at Splendour in the Grass or in Melbourne for a sideshow at 170 Russell on Sunday July 21.
Written by Darby-Perrin Larner