London cool kids Felt Tip have set out to get us grooving and swaying to their stylish, impeccably strung indie. Bashful with lightly spoken sentiments and a smattering of post-punk rhythms, Felt Tip are just a delight on the ears and eyes. One listen to ‘Milk & Honey’ will seal the deal.
I caught up with the band before their big gig with Shy Nature tonight at The Lexington. We talked about the band’s début EP, Topshop, first gigs and much more.
Felt Tip only formed in 2013, but it’s only been this year really that you all have come together and fully become the band that you will take forward. What has been your biggest test so far as a band?
Anton (guitarist): “We had to record our first EP in a very short amount of time. The drum and bass tracks had to be recorded in one evening session, we had to be efficient but that energy can hopefully be heard on the recording.”
What have you learned about each other from making music together?
Anton: “This is not our first band for any of us so we’re quite used to working with other musicians.”
Topshop playlisted your song ‘Simple Things’ in their stores, did you ever hear yourself in the store?
Anton: “Not to this day. People keep on telling us they have heard it in the shop. We’ve been played a few times on BBC Radio 6 and elsewhere as well but still never managed to hear ourselves. We live in hope.”
What’s the meaning behind the artwork for the ‘Simple Things’ EP?
Anton: “It’s a photo James (singer) found on the floor in Victoria Park (east London) and we felt a connection with it. Our bassist Jade’s boyfriend, Max Hetherington, is a super talented photographer and he did some work on it to help it fit with the vibe of the tracks.”
Since releasing your début EP, do you feel like the songs you’ve been writing and working on recently take the band to the next level?
Anton: “We have new tracks for the next EP which are groovier/dirtier and this side of things has been emphasised more since Jade joined a few months ago. It’s another level but you’ll have to judge whether that’s the same as the ‘next level’.”
For many writers, songwriting is a way to express themselves. Their thoughts, feelings, beliefs. What is it for you?
Anton: “Pretty much exactly that, as well as sometimes asking people to think about their own feelings and beliefs. We are a live band too, so it’s always important to us that the songs are enjoyable to play and sound good in a live context.”
If you could place one of your songs as the theme tune to any TV show, what would you pick and why?
Anton: “Going to allow ourselves one ‘no comment’ in this interview… and this is it!”
What was the first gig that you personally went to yourself as a punter? Do you think your first live gig experience had any influence on who you are today – did it spur you on to start your own band?
Tom (drummer): “My first gig was the Stereophonics at Brixton Academy when they were touring Performance & Cocktails. Without any personal disrespect to them I think it had minimal influence musically as I don’t enjoy that band, but yes the experience as whole certainly made me want to be on stages like that.”
Jade (bassist): “Is it bad that I can’t remember which exact gig was my first? But in terms of a gig that made me want to take to the stage, it would be Sufjan Stevens in Brighton. It was like an ethereal experience and I’m totally not ashamed to say I cried during a couple songs….haha.”
What’s your favourite aspect of playing live?
Anton: “When we’re playing well and you can tell the audience is liking it too. That connection between both when you are having a great time playing and the people are having a great time listening.”
Quick Fire Questions:
Songs that make you smile – Anton: “Everybody Dance by Chic”
Songs that make you cry – Anton: “Poncho & Lefty by Townes van Zandt”
Jade: “My Girl by Temptations”
Favourite love song – Anton: “Je t’aime Moi Non Plus by Serge Gainsbourg”
Friday night rave songs – Anton: “At the moment it’s ‘Inspector Norse’ by Todd Terje”
Sunday morning chill-out songs – Anton: “Typically, ‘Sunday Morning’ by the Velvet Underground”
Musicians that inspire you – Anton: “David Bowie, obvious but who cares”