Fickle Friends Launch Record Label, Premiere Buoyant New Song 'Broken Sleep': Exclusive
Fickle Friends are ready for a new start.
Formerly signed to Polydor Records, the Brighton indie pop band has decided to create their own record label, lovingly titled Palmeira Music. “We want to do it ourselves and have complete control,” frontwoman Natassja "Nat" Shiner tells Billboard of the band’s fresh start. “I think all of us will be happier.”
Fickle Friends will release their three-song Broken Sleep EP on Palmeira Music this fall, and Shiner dreams of signing other acts one day, too. As for how the band intends to run their own label for the very first time? “We're just super creative, energetic people, and hopefully [we’ll] funnel that into doing the right thing and making it all work,” Shiner says, admitting that “it's going to be a learning process.”
Below, get an exclusive first listen of the title track from the upcoming EP, and check out the rest of our Q&A with Nat Shiner after the jump.
How did the decision to leave Polydor Records and start your own label come about?
We’ve learned a lot from mistakes made in the past and came out the other side saying, “We know what we want to do.” We were excited to do things on our own terms and in our own way.
Once you release your own music, do you have other plans in mind for the label?
This is something that can carry on for as long as we want to and maybe sign our own acts at some point. I think we wanted to build a bit of a family. A lot of bands have this umbrella of other things, like The 1975 have Pale Waves, and Bastille has Rationale. We've never had that with anyone else. We haven't got a “big brother” band, we just kind of are ourselves, so we were like, "Fuck yeah, let's do that for other people."
How did you decide on the name?
“Palmeira” means “palm tree” in Portuguese. It's very fitting. We all met in Brighton and our music school was off this place called Palmeira Square, and I literally lived there for like seven years, so I feel it’s a nice little tie-in.
What aspects of having your own label are you excited to learn about?
Pretty much everything! I feel like I kind of know how labels work from being on one, but starting from absolute scratch, it's just exciting to think about how all of our individual skills and our love of new music can kind of play into that.
Where did the idea for the song “Broken Sleep” come from?
It's very literal. Over in the U.K. we've just had three months of it being 100 million degrees, which never, never happens. We're not used to that heat, so nowhere has any air conditioning. No one’s been sleeping for like months and months. We were writing with our friend Sam Preston (The Ordinary Boys), and we were just talking, like, "Man, I had such broken sleep last night." And we were like, "That’s a fucking great name for a song."
I expanded the idea of when you have a really goofy dream and you get woken up, like it's just too hot, and you want to go back to sleep or straight back into that moment of seeing that thing, or an ex-lover that you want to get back with who's in your dream, and you come out of the dream and they're not there. You just want to go backwards and see them again. You want to go back to sleep.
What else were you thinking about as you recorded the Broken Sleep EP?
We wanted the music to step in a new direction. It's a bit more pop. Production-wise, there are lots of cool chords in there. It’s a bit more dance-y but with notes of R&B and stuff. It's not too far removed from what we have been doing, but I think it’s definitely a step in a new direction.
You released your debut album You Are Someone Else in March 2018, and now we can expect Broken Sleep this fall. Was there a pressure to release something so soon?
We always planned to release something quite soon after. We didn’t want to go away for 18 months and then just put out [another] album. The way the music landscape is changing with streaming and stuff, you need to keep giving people something, and if you disappear for 18 months, you have to start building back into where you've already gotten to. It gives the people what they want. Hopefully they're gonna be happy!
You’ll also be back in the States this fall for another tour.
We're coming to the end of festival season in the U.K., and then it's straight back into rehearsals for the American tour. We're adding new songs in and building a new show. We just love being on tour.
What’s your favorite song to play live at the moment?
I always love playing "Glue." I can just switch off and enjoy it. And we just added “Lovesick” to the set. That’s probably my favorite to play at the moment, because it's fresh and we've added a crazy percussion break at the end of it. So it’s like a big party and it's really fun.
Finally, who would you love to tour with?