By James Hall, Third year Law
'Taking the chill out of a cold evening', Fur take to the stage of Rough Trade after talking with James Hall.
The middle of the last century was a wonderful time for music. Sweethearts swooned to the dulcet tones of suave crooners, silky harmonies mingled mid-air, and everybody bopped to the high-energy jangle-pop that came to define the era. Over fifty years later, little has changed.
Fur graced the Rough Trade stage riding high upon a sepia-tinged wave of hype, the product of millions of streams worldwide and several sold-out shows on this, their first UK tour. Immediately, the Brighton four-piece set about making themselves at home.
From the first infectious lilt of ‘Him and Her’ to the last emphatic croon of ‘Angel Eyes’, the residual and tender warmth of Valentine’s Day two days prior manifested itself in the band’s music, taking the chill out of a cold February evening. Lead singer Murray so enchanted the crowd with lyrical tales of heartbreak and romance, that when the band broke out into Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’, total strangers had taken to swaying together, arms clasped around shoulders.
But if the gig thus far had been a dreamy, romantic waltz, what followed was akin to speed dating. By the time Fur had finished, they’d been joined on stage by fellow nostalgia-pioneers Honey Moon, in a raucous display of indie rock that spilled out into the audience. When finally it was time to depart the stage, the sharp stab of a cymbal echoed out into the crowd, pulling everybody back into reality, and back to the modern world. Had it been a dream? I couldn’t say, but one thing was certain, it had been a hell of a ride.
Before the gig, I was lucky enough to grab an interview with the band, who name Murray (vocals, rhythm guitar), Flynn (drums), Harry (lead guitar), Tav (bass), and Josh (keys, percussions) in their outfit.
How are you finding the tour so far? Has anything stood out as a real highlight?
Tav: ‘Fucking gruelling! Nah not really.’
Murray: It’s been a short one, so none of us has really hit the wall that most bands get of genuine tiredness. But it’s been really good - it’s our first headline tour and we’ve sold out three shows. In terms of a highlight...
Murray: London was our Valentine’s show, and it was really really lovely. There was a great atmosphere in the venue. We noticed a real buzz, which was great since it’s outside Brighton.
You’ve spoken before about the influence indie rock bands such as The Strokes and The Cribs have had on you. How does that translate into the nostalgic, mid-century style you’ve become associated with?
Murray: Both of those bands have it anyway. They’re influenced by fifties and sixties culture and music, so it sort of goes hand in hand.
Flynn: It’s the modern production.
Murray: Yeah, we’re more a band of modern production, with sixties undertones in the songwriting.
Tav: We didn’t want it to be too on the nose. Not a pastiche. It’s more the influence rather than wanting to copy it outright.
It’s just over a year since you released ‘If You Know That I’m Lonely’, and since then you’ve attracted millions of listeners online. How does it feel to know your music is striking a chord with people all over the planet?
Harry: It’s given us opportunities to do things we never thought imaginable.
Flynn: You never start out expecting to be big in a place like Indonesia. You think, ‘I wanna be big in Brighton.’ And you wanna grow from there.
Murray: It’s very weird to be getting fan art. I’d be very interested to know at what point other bands start getting that. We’ve had a few fan accounts which is very surreal.
Josh: I think the first one was called ‘Murray’s Lush Locks.’
Tav: Yeah that one was strange, it’s died down now, but there’s a few more.
Murray: If you’re reading, bring it back.
What’s the dream for the next five years?
Murray: To be able to afford rent.
Tav: To not be working a fucking coffee job.
Murray: Yeah, we said to be able to pay our rent and go on Soccer AM, put a volley in the top bins. You can never really imagine the things you’ll be doing but once you’re at the point where you’re doing them, they feel normal to you. Two years ago we never would’ve dreamed of sold out shows. It was unfathomable, but now it’s the new normal. You’ve got to take each opportunity as it comes.
Harry: In five years’ time it would be nice to still be doing it, and not be like a vicar or something.
Flynn: We already hate each other, we won’t last another five years.
Murray: We’d love to be able to get to the point where we’re doing arenas...
Tav (laughing): Oh shut up.
Murray: Big venues. That’s another thing that’s hard to put your finger on because it relies on the music, and that hasn’t even been written yet. But the dream is to take it to that next level.
How did your image develop?
Harry: Very organic.
Tav: It’s definitely got a Brighton influence to it. Moving there has shown us all sorts of art and people dressing well, but the early days were more mis-matched.
Murray: As soon as we started working with our friend Ed [Zorab, director of ‘If You Know That I’m Lonely’ music video.] we all pulled together and discussed what we wanted to look like, and how we wanted to music to be reflected in our visual style.
Flynn: We never really sat down one day and decided.
Murray: Plus turtlenecks are great for winter in Brighton.
If any of you could have written any song in history, what would it be?
Josh: I Don’t Want to Get Over You by the Magnetic Fields
Tav: When the Sun Hits by Slowdive
Harry: Lover, You Should’ve Come Over by Jeff Buckley
Flynn: Perfect Miracle by Spiritualized
Murray: Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks
Featured Image: James Hall / Epigram
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