INTERVIEW: Best Friends

Best Friends have been immersed in the UK DIY scene since their beginnings in 2011. Even with the release of their Throwing Up EP back in 2012, they’ve been incorporating their influences of “US garage rock, indie rock, psych, punk and also lots of other stuff” which can still be found in their debut album Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane., released just last month. Following a summer of touring, festivals and their album release, Gigslutz chat to Best Friends to find out what they’re all about.

Having had their debut album Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane. in the works since 2013, things took a while to all come together. “We finished writing it at Christmas 2013, and then had the final recordings by May,” frontman Lewis Sharman explains. “FatCat do things properly which is really cool but it takes a long time to get everything sorted, where as before we’d put stuff out more or less as we recorded it.”

With four years worth of material in the back catalogue, there was an effort to avoid “an album of greatest hits so far, but to have as much new stuff as possible.” Even with some jokes about a third release of their single ‘Surf Bitches’, there’s definitely a move towards favouring newer material, such as ‘Baba Vanga’ singled out by Lewis as the best one.

“Before we signed [to FatCat], we had done ‘Happy Anniversary’ on a split 7” with ‘Nosebleeds’ with Art Is Hard and ‘If You Think Too Much Your Brain Will Fall Out’ was up for a while as a demo, but the rest are all new tracks,” they explain. “As it took a while for them to come out some of them feel old to us even though they’re new to everyone else, it’s easy to forget that sometimes! We’ve only started playing some of the tracks live recently though so that’d been fun.”

The album also saw the band move from their original Art Is Hard label to FatCat Records, something that was “meant to be”. “We sent the recordings to some labels we liked and Sam from FatCat had Happy Anniversary on her iPod on the way to the office, and the record was in her inbox when she got there!”

“The guys at Art Is Hard were really excited when they heard the news, but after doing so much with them before it was still a bit sad!” There’s no saying goodbye to their previous label though, as Record Store Day earlier this year saw them release ‘Wash Me Out’ as part of “a split 12” with a load of other labels, which was pretty cool.”

Mixing their album tour up with a few festival slots sees them take to the Market Stage at Truck Festival (review here) for their first ever time at the festival, and also saw them become “broken men the morning after”. Although they might have been new to the festival, the crowd take to them quickly with crowd favourites like ‘Nosebleeds’ and ‘Wasting Time’ clearly making a good impression.

“My highlight was seeing a three-person high totem pole. Our merch guy/guitar tech/assistant tour manager CK Brown was on Rory from Birdskulls’ shoulders, then Tom from Bloody Knees came in and put them both on his shoulders. As soon as it happened the music stopped and everyone turned around and started clapping. It was so mind-blowing it ended the party.”

2015 has already seen Best Friends tour with good friends Nai Harvest which is “something we’d want to do for a long time as we go back a long way, but they were playing more punk/emo shows.” With Nai Harvest’s move towards a more garagey sound, the two would finally be able to do it and to Lewis, “it worked really well I think! There were a lot of punk and indie kids at the shows, where as normally it seems there’s a little separation between the two scenes for some reason.”

Last month also saw the Sheffield band embark on their own headline tour which got pretty crazy. “I had an 80% crowd surf whilst playing guitar rate across the tour I think,” brags Lewis. “It’s been really cool to be playing an extended set for the first time, and no one seemed to get bored which was a bonus. Bird skulls who we took along with us smashed it every day too, it was really fun to have them along.”

Ending with the big question of festivals versus gigs, there’s no decision. “At shows it’s more personal, and you can look everyone in the eye,” they reason. “It’s a bit more disconnected but if you can get a festival going, it feels really good!”

Becky Rogers