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PopDash Meets... Friendly Fires!

We chat to the band as they release their new album 'Pala'...

By David Renshaw on Wednesday 18th May 2011

Friendly Fires have been talking up their new album a lot recently, telling us it's their 'pop record' and that they would rather listen to Justin Timberlake than indie icon Morrissey. We went to meet the three piece to find out more about their pop dreams and offer them some tips on how to make it to the A-List...

PopDash: Did you have a specific idea with what you wanted your second album to sound like?

Ed (MacFarlane, vocals): I don’t think we had any goals really. We toured the first album for so long that the pressure was more to be creative than to build something from a plan. We knew that we wanted to keep things fairly similar in that we’ve always written in an overtly pop way and that hasn’t changed on this record. We found our stride by the end of the first album and you can hear that in the single ‘kiss of Life that we put out.

PopDash: Would you say Pala is a Summer record?

Ed: Yeah, definitely. I mean our first album became the sound of Summer 2009 but we actually released it when it was very grey and miserable and I think that’s why it took a while for people to latch on to what we were trying to achieve. So hopefully with the weather being good and summer coming around this one should be much more instant.

PopDash: What’s the story behind ‘Live Those Days Tonight’?

Ed: Lyrically it comes from trawling Youtube and watching old rave music footage and feeling frustrated basically. House music is so important to me but obviously, it happened before my time and all the comments under the videos were saying how it’s not the same any more. I just thought, well why not? It’s a song about celebrating music every day.

PopDash: But then the video is quite nostalgic…

Ed: Yeah, I mean it’s just people gurning their faces off basically.

PopDash: We especially like ‘Hawaiin Air’ on the album, specifically the line about watching a film with a talking dog. Which film is this?

Ed: It’s the film Marmaduke, which has Owen Wilson in it. Whenever we go on long haul flights there always seems to be a really cheesy Owen Wilson comedy as the entertainment…

PopDash: There are a lot to go around…

Ed: Yeah! I always think that his movies don’t even go straight to DVD, they just go straight to airplanes.

PopDash: Just to get them out of the country as quickly as possible…

(laughter) Ed: The film Marley & Me, that doesn’t have a talking dog does it?

PopDash: No, it does have Owen Wilson in it though. It’s either one or the other I think…


Edd (Guitar): The line could also relate to Homeward Bound which is a classic talking dog movie and another that I often watch on flights. Which isn’t good as I tend to get emotional due to the altitude.

PopDash: Ok, so we were thinking that Friendly Fires are big, but you could be a lot bigger so we’ve come up with some sure fire ways to ensure that ‘Pala’ sells more copies than Lady Gaga and Adele combined. Are you interested in hearing them?

All: Yes, of course.

PopDash: Good. First, would you be interested in having Nicki Minaj feature on one of your songs?

Ed: Absoluely, no doubt about it.

Jack (Drums): She would go well on ’Show Me Lights’, that’s quite a hip-hop friendly song.

PopDash: Is there anyone else you’d be up for collaborating like that?

All: Errr…

PopDash: Pitbull?

Ed: I don’t know Pitbull, which one is he?

PopDash: You’re probably better off not knowing. Next question, could you write a song about being ‘In The Club’? People like those.

Ed: There is a line on our song ‘Chimes’ that goes, “Climbing the stairs out from the club” but then that’s us leaving a club isn’t it? That’s the opposite of what we need. Maybe we’d be more popular if we changed that lyric.

PopDash: Finally, X Factor judging. There are three positions available at the moment and there’s three of you. Would you be up for making and breaking the dreams of the nation?

Ed: We’re actually going to be doing that at our old school in a few weeks, we’ve been asked to judge the school talent contest.

PopDash: Which one of you will be the harsh, Simon Cowell-esque judge?

Jack: I think it will be Ed actually, he’s very quick to slag stuff on the radio off. He can be cruel. We heard an amazing story about Simon Cowell actually, apparently he plays the tambourine on every song his label puts out and earns about £40,000 a year in royalties from it. We probably shouldn’t have said that, we might get killed now.

You can catch Friendly Fires avoid Simon Cowell’s snipers at Glastobury, T In The Park, Oxegen and Reading & Leeds festivals this Summer. Their album Pala, which you can stream below, is out now.

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