COOLS debuts the last track from the band’s latest EP, You Are Someone Else (Versions).
After six years in development, UK-based indie pop band Fickle Friends released their debut album You Are Someone Else this past March. Today their latest EP, You Are Someone Else (Versions), is available, featuring four reimagined tracks from that debut album. Two songs—“Heartbroken” and “Say No More”—are acoustic, and “Wake Me Up” is an alternative version. The last track on the EP is a remix of the band’s song “Bite” done by electronic darlings MUNA, and it premieres exclusively on COOLS today. We spoke to Fickle Friends lead singer and co-songwriter Natti Shiner about the band’s creative process in reviving the work, how an album gets a new life, and what’s next for the band.
COOLS: What was your creative experience in making acoustic versions of songs you’d already released?
Natti Shiner: I don’t think people get to really experience Fickle Friends in a stripped down way very often. It was nice to take a few songs that mean a lot to us that may get more emotional. We’ve been living and working on this record for the last three years. It’s like breathing new life into the songs, especially like “Say No More,” which is probably our oldest song. The songs fit into a new world, as well. You don’t want to put on Fickle Friends if they’re you’re fave band if you’re having a dinner party, but you might put on this stripped-back version of “Say No More [laughs].”
COOLS: How do you think creating new versions of work you’ve already released allows you to grow as an artist?
NS: I think sometimes people can make assumptions about musicians or bands. Obviously, our music [includes] big production songs. There’s a lot of stuff going on, there’s five of us in the band, we’re all playing shit. I think people forget you’re real writers and musicians. To strip the song back like that and make it so vulnerable, you’re like oh wow, the songwriting on this is really intelligent. She can really sing or he can really play the fucking piano even though it just looks like he plays the synth with one hand during a gig [laughs]. I think we can almost get taken more seriously. It makes me think about the song more and especially the lyrics. I know the lyrics can get bit lost in big pop tunes, but when you play it on the piano you really think about it and you listen to what’s being said.
I didn’t ever want it to be like, aw, here’s our first record and you put it to bed and you move on and you do album two. I think the way the musical landscape is changing with streaming and Spotify is that you can keep adding to albums, doing remixes, and focusing on tracks. It’s like constantly breathing life into a piece of art as opposed to leaving it to go stale. I’d hate for that to happen.
COOLS: How did this remix come about?
NS: I love MUNA and we always knew we wanted a remix for this Versions EP. Quite recently, we did three shows in the states. We were in L.A. for our show in Echo Park and we went to our favorite coffee shop. Then this girl comes up, she’s like “Yo, you guys are Fickle Friends!” and we were like “Yeah!” And then we realized it was one of the girls from MUNA. Because I clocked her and she was working on tunes in the corner of the coffee shop with her headphones on and I was like, I know her. Can’t place her, but she was just like, ‘What are you guys doing in L.A.?’ And I was like, ‘We’re playing a show.’ Our music is a little bit similar. I really love what they do, how they’re holistically in tune with everything and really intelligent. Their music’s great and they’re all power producers, which is big for me. We wanted to remix “Bite” because it’s different for us on the record. I thought it would be a really interesting reimagination for a pop act like MUNA to do. I messaged them on Twitter being like, ‘Hey guys, do you want to do a remix for us?’ And they were down for it. We sent it to them and that was it. It’s fucking great. I’m super happy with it.
COOLS: What are you working on next?
NS: We’re actually putting out another EP of three songs at the end of the summer, just in time for our big American tour at the end of September and our UK tour in October. We got really inspired after the album came out and started writing loads of music. Why wait to put out music for ages? I don’t want to go away for 18 months, traditionally what you would do after putting out an album. I want to be doing festivals, I want to be releasing music constantly because why not? There’s no rules anymore.
COOLS: How is the work on this new EP different than the first album?
NS: It’s a bit more electronic, it’s a bit more pop, but it’s still a nod to the record, like the bridge between album one and album two. The first track we’re releasing is called “Broken Sleep.” I just write about what’s been happening. I’m an insomniac and I guess it’s escapism again with this EP. It felt like before the first album came out I got into a bit of a dark hole of stress and it kind of killed my creativity a little bit. Then as soon as the album came out and it was done, it was like oh my god, I feel free again. I had all these ideas and I didn’t really realize how depressed and negative I’d become. I’ve got the best job in the world and I get to write music about anything I want. All I should be thinking about it how I’m saying something to the world and how our fans are going to react.
With this EP, we wrote the songs really quickly. We’re super happy with them. It’s a nice, freeing experience and you can really hear that in the songs. This our clean slate and we know this what we’re writing, this is why we’re writing it, this is what we sound like. We’re way ahead of ourselves in terms of getting songs finished and planned for the next year. It feels a lot calmer.
Listen to the new version of “Bite,” here: