15.07.2019

Friendly Fires are returning for the first time in six years with a huge new live show

Words by Eliza Booth

It's been too long between Australian drinks for this revered indie dance outfit.

Fresh off the trail of their massive 2018 comeback, English indie rockers Friendly Fires are bursting into the year with all new music, an exciting new live show and a hotly anticipated set at Splendour in the Grass. We caught up with Edd Gibson from the band about the upcoming album, dance moves and giving the fans what they want.

“We’ve been practising our dance moves, limbering up, we’re just ready to have fun in Australia,” Gibson says ahead of their first return to Australia in six years. “We’ve always had really good responses out there; people have been super supportive and I’m glad to come back for Splendour.”

Since returning in 2018 with the hit single Love Like Waves, a tropical dance hit that smacks of euro-summer vibes, Friendly Fires have shown that they still have that infectious, upbeat energy they were known for in albums like 2011’s Pala.

“I have a sort of vague idea of what we mean to other people, what our sound represents. I just want to make sure we aren’t doing [the fans] a disservice,” Gibson says of their long-awaited return.

Indeed, the fans have been waiting a long time for the band to return after going on indefinite hiatus over seven years ago.

“We sort of wanted to pursue other things and then come back with some fresh ears and really have fun making the sort of Friendly Fires songs that people would be familiar with,” Gibson says of their time away.

“I think that took the pressure off the band just being our total creative output.”

Along with all new music, Friendly Fires are also jumping right back into a rejuvenated live show, kicking off with a huge sold-out performance at Brixton’s o2 Academy last year.

“That was the first kind of thing we’d done in a long time and it wasn’t easing ourselves in at all,” Gibson says.

“But then gradually during the set you realise ‘oh shit, I remember I used to do this little dance between these songs’ – it’s weird how all this muscle memory kicks back in.”

With sideshows set for Melbourne and Sydney which will coincide with their return to Splendour in the Grass, Friendly Fires are keen to impress their Australian fans, old and new, with their live setup.

“We’ve already added quite a few of our new tracks into the live shows so I guess there’s plenty of things that people won’t have heard before,” Gibson says.

“The whole thing is slowly creeping towards a bigger percussive dance party than ever before. We just wanted to make it as spectacular and special live as we could.”

And if you didn’t think Friendly Fires were busy enough already with touring and releasing hit single after hit single, they’re also working towards a new album.

“We’ve never really toured and written at the same time; we always try to keep them separate. It’s been quite fun being locked away, trying to make music and then at the weekend you’ll go and see what’s getting a good response, which bits are connecting.

“It’s been really interesting piecing things together in this way. It’s definitely more fun, seeing how people react in the moment.”

Fans will not be kept waiting much longer for the anticipated new album; Inflorescent is set for release on Friday August 16 through Polydor/Universal Music Australia.

Friendly Fires return to Australia for Splendour in the Grass as well as shows at 170 Russell in Melbourne on Sunday July 21 and at the Metro Theatre in Sydney on Monday July 22. Grab your ticks from Secret Sounds.