So what if Best Friends' grungey surf pop musings are more Sutton On Sea beach than they are Santa Monica? "Happy Anniversary" sounds like the best heatwave to hit Yorkshire since I went there...which is never. Posing as the first track from double AA single "Happy Anniversary/Nosebleeds", it's like a sugar-coated seaside rock, dip-dyed in distorted guitar fidgets and Lewis Sharman's high pitched bellows. I can almost taste the sea salt.
Best Friends are playing on our Noisey Stage at this year's Beacons Festival on Sunday 18th August, 4pm. Oh, also read the interview below where Ed, Lewis and I discuss Hulk Hogan, different time signatures and the prospect of talking to animals.
Hey guys, how’s it going?
Ed: Not bad, just having some dinner.
Damn, I'm so hungry. So, I still think the “Dude Love” vid is so rad. The real question is, do you reckon Hulk Hogan can actually shred bass?
Lewis: I reckon he could. He’s had a lot of free time on his hands since he divorced his wife so maybe.
Ed: Do you remember that TV series that he was in, Thunder In Paradise? He was a dad and his kid had a mullet as well.
Oh yeah! Do you reckon Hulk would be a good dad?
E: I think he’d be too busy working out and looking at himself. He had his reality show as well, didn’t he? I never saw it. I saw the Snoop Dogg one and the Run DMC one where Rev Run would get deep and philosophical when he’s in the bath on his Blackberry.
LOL. If you had an all-star WWF band, who would play what?
L: I know enough to say that Rikishi would be an excellent front man.
E: I think we’d go with the same line-up as in the video. Hulk on bass, Mankind on drums.
L: I didn’t even know what was happening in that video. I just got home from work and everyone was getting pissed in my house.
That's jokes! So I recently listened back to “Lip Curl” before coming back to your newer stuff. What do you reckon has helped the most in making your material so much fuller and nicer to listen to?
E: The studio is a lot more professional now. When we did “Lip Curl” it was just at our friend Owen Adam’s band room. He used to be in a band called Mad Colours and he came to our first few shows and wanted to record. It was proper DIY. The recent ones have been down in London with Adam Jaffrey and he’s got more of a proper studio setup. It’s way more pro with all the microphones. It’s partly down to that.
L: I think also, me and Tom hadn’t really been in bands before so I guess we can play a bit better now. The first stuff was pretty basic because we were pretty basic at the time. Just through playing with each other for a while we’re getting better.
E: The songs are more considered now. We used to just bash them out.
L: The first EP, we had booked our first gig and only had three songs so we had to write another couple in a week. Then when we did the Throwing Up EP, we found this place in Sheffield, which was an amazing studio venue. We asked if we could do it in February and we had to do the same thing and write songs within the two weeks we were recording. It’s been nearly a year, so we’ve been able to take a more considered approach.
So onto your latest single "Happy Anniversary". What was the scenario like when you started writing it?
E: We were just in our band room and Tom started playing this riff while we were making cups of tea or something. It just went from there. It wasn’t like one single person wrote a riff like it has happened in the past. We jammed for a bit, thought about it and came back. It was a really ~organic~ process. The chorus is in 7/4 but we kinda worked that out afterwards. The lyrics are an amalgamation of past songs that we’ve brought back and we just bounced round ideas. It all came over and we were really stoked when it did.
Do you get loads of confused fans when you switch between the different time signatures?
E: It’s confusing for us because the first time we played it live I had to proper nod on every beat. If you try and nod half time, you get lost. It’s kinda weird to play it live for the first time because it’s a bit slower and starts with just vocals and one guitar. It’s a bit different I guess.
Different in a good way though. So is there potential for an album somewhere down the line?
L: I think the time has come where we’re starting to think about the album.
E: Yeah, it’s been a couple of years now where we’ve just been doing EPs and singles. We had talked about doing an EP off the last session we did where the single tracks came from. We were talking about doing a four or five track EP, but I think we’re gonna hold back a few recordings and concentrate on writing an album. We’re super excited about the single because we haven’t put something out in about a year now.
L: It’ll be nice to see how it all goes down.
E: I’m really happy with the artwork. Our friend Lew Currie has smashed it and it looks fucking amazing.
L: We’ve been able to work out what we’re doing and do it in the right way.
I read in a previous interview that you guys woulda been stoked if the original Sugababes came back, they're now back...
L: We predicted that shit.
E: I think we instigated that. Our mate got a reply off a tweet from them and he was super stoked. That’s the first I’ve heard of that. I don't really care now to be honest.
Fair. What happened at Sound City for you guys to get so lost?
E: Basically, our mate Nick drove us there and we weren’t gonna stay but we did and got super fucked up. We all woke up in different places around Liverpool.
L: You know how iPhone batteries run out within like, an hour. So in the morning, somehow it all came together.
E: I woke up in a converted church and didn’t have a clue where I was but it was a proper good night.
Cool. And finally I have some quick-fire questions. Windows or Mac?
L: Mac. I’ve had one for a while because I’m a cool guy. Windows 8 is shit.
E: I mean, in the Internet Explorer advert they’re using Angry Birds Star Wars as their main selling point.
L: I don’t get it. Why are they advertising that? Am I missing something, because you can get it free?
Macs all day. Would you rather be able to speak any language fluently or be able to talk to animals?
E: Definitely animals. I’d love to talk to animals.
L: I don’t know if it’s a lie, but NASA invented something that allows you to talk to animals. I like that unspoken thing you have with a pet. If you could talk to a cat, it would eliminate the fun.
But imagine all the weird cat #banter and stuff? Thanks guys.The B-side to "Happy Anniversary" is "Nosebleeds" which is a fuzz soaked stomp of a track. It hit me for a loop when it went all acoustic,but fear not Mumford haters, the band then kick back into their anthemic thrash and roll. Best friends forever! I'm already making the friendship bracelets...
AA-side single "Happy Anniversary / Nosebleeds" is set to be released on September 23 on 7" record and digital download. The single will be available to pre-order from the Art is Hard Records online shop from August 6. The launch party for the AA is at Tipsy Bar, Dalston on September 26. RSVP if your a true friend.