Face to face with Flags

Flags

Flags… They’re catchy, intoxicating, impossible not to fall for. Their music is executed in the best traditions of British indie with a significant mark of their own. Flags are preparing for the release of their EP ‘Oil And Sparks’ on 24th March and it’s the record to anticipate. Rock Britain chats to the band about the release, evolution and future plans.

– To start with, what’s the story behind Flags’ formation?

– We met at university when living in Bath, in the South West of England. Each of us had been in separate musical projects for a number of years and wanted to start something fresh with like minded people. We originally started playing the songs that Pete had written on a solo EP and we slowly adapted some of them to fit Rory’s vocals and bring in construct arrangements.

Our first ever show was in a small unattended student union, without a drummer and just a laptop with a click track. As you can imagine this didn’t last long and we brought in Mikey, who was incidentally Rory’s school friend from Tavistock in Devon and had moved to Bristol (not far from Bath) to go to university also. We started rehearsing together, everything seemed to click and the lineup has been the same ever since.

– What have been the major changes that have occurred with Flags during your career? How have you changed as a band?

– After graduating university, Rory moved to London and the rest of us moved to Bristol. This geographic space has brought difficulties, but has also made us more disciplined when we get together to rehearse and work on new songs. We don’t get to write together everyday but everyone individually has ideas to bring to the table when we do get together, so we can craft songs quite quickly. A perfect example being the new EP – ‘Oil and Sparks’, which was written over a period of five days. Just the four of us, locked away in a small cottage, on a clifftop in North Devon. The songs we came out with in our opinion are much more mature and considered than our previous releases, which hopefully reflects the current state in our lives.

– You’re releasing your debut EP ‘Oil And Sparks’ soon. How would you introduce this EP to your potential listeners?

– It’s a good reflection of the environment in which it was written, sonically spacious, reflective, considered and vast.¬†Notions of uncertainty and change.

– How did the work at the EP go? What were the most memorable moments of work at it?

– Because we weren’t restricted by time of day or noise levels, we could play whenever we wanted which was fantastic for when somebody wanted to record or play through an idea.

We also took daily beach walks as we were over looking a cove. We just explored for hours, climbing up the huge boulders, cliff edges, looking into rock pools and watching the sea. It really was quite beautiful scenery, which evidently made its way lyrically, sonically and emotively into the tracks we wrote.

– What are dos and donts of working in the studio?

– This is a tough one because it’s probably different for each artist/band and not an exact science.
Do have the crux of the songs you are looking to record completed in terms of structure and arrangement, because otherwise you can waste a lot of time writing new parts. On the flip side of that, there were quick things that ourselves and our producer would want to try to give the songs more depth and character, so also be open-minded to new ideas. Do go for walks otherwise you can get cabin feverish!..No one wants that. DON”T overdo it on caffeinne..coffee is amazing, but can make you a bit weird, plus stuck inside two to three rooms (see the cabin fever bit).
DO have a lot of fun, otherwise what’s the point?
– You’re planning an EP launch show. What does an ideal launch show look like for you?

– Plenty of time to soundcheck would be ideal as we are trying a bit of a different setup for the new tracks with some techhy bits and pieces. Just generally a good mix of new and old fans along with family and friends, all wanting to have a good time.
Hopefully enjoying the new material as well!

– What bands are your main inspirations in life and music and how exactly do they inspire you?

– Although we are a band who work together, we share influences, but are also quite individual in our tastes.
Collectively we really enjoy Elbow, Bombay Bicycle Club, Foals, Ben Howard, Radiohead, Bon Iver and Alt-J. That is to literally name a few bands that we look up to for their performance, song writing and general commitment to music. There are A LOT more artists out their that each of us listen to. We each appreciate music that we deem to be honest and heartfelt, regardless of genre and taste.

– What’s the best live show you’ve ever been to?

Duncan: Foals – The Tunbridge Wells Forum
Pete: Imogen Heap – Bristol 02 Academy.
Rory: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Hyde Park
Mike: Limp Bizkit – The Bristol 02 Academy.

– What do you expect from the year 2014 concerning Flags?

– We would like to head out and do some touring as it’s been a little while since we have ventured far afield and generally spread our name and music as far as possible. Festivals are also really fun to play and be at, so hopefully a few of them over the summer months!

We are starting to write again shortly and would love to be back in the studio at towards the end of the year, making the next record.

– What achievement do you want to be remembered for fifty years later?

– Still going strong…

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