Friendly Fires’ Ed MacFarlane has provided us with a track-by-track guide to his band’s latest album, ‘Pala’, due out on May 16th.
Live Those Days Tonight
I was looking at YouTube videos of raves from the ’80s, and they looked amazing, like a fantasy world. So it’s a homage to the past but also a celebration of the present.
It’s a very romantic track, very nostalgic. It’s made with old tape recordings I’d done when I was young, and the lyrics are about finding an old tape you and a past lover had made.
This is about having feelings for someone but not being able to express them. I like lyrics like that, just these really obvious universal pop subjects that aren’t too complicated, they’re more accessible.
…Sounds like ‘Ryanair’. Yeah, we’re going for the advert! The line ‘watching a film with a talking dog’ is because every time we’re on a plane, there’s always Marley And Me or these really shit Owen Wilson comedies. It just adds to the turmoil of being on a flight in general.
Our first foray into MPC sampling and taking other people’s music and then playing our own music over the top. Which is a risky thing… but it just felt like it was interesting.
The slowest track we’ve ever done. Very stripped down. The drums are actually made of wind-up toys and cameras rolling on film. Your brain is thinking ‘This is good’ and then another part is thinking ‘But is it Friendly Fires? Is it dancey enough?’ That’s the pressure of writing your second album, because people have expectations.
Show Me Lights
The beat is based on a Flying Lotus drumbeat… I’m a big fan. We were listening to New Kids On The Block, Backstreet Boys, NSync. Especially NKOTB – that album was done on 808s, 909s, that’s the core of the record. This track has a definite hip-hop edge – but from a boyband perspective.
I’ve been looking forward to it being compared to Talking Heads, but someone said it’s like Eurythmics. That was the first song we wrote for the new record and it was the hardest: you’re like ‘How do I write music again? How do we want to sound?’
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Pull Me Back To Earth
We started recording this in a basement in Shoreditch owned by this guy who recreates samples for people who maybe hadn’t approved them. Jacko had died that summer, and the owner was obviously involved in making some DVD about his life. If you listen carefully, you can hear a EEE-HEEE.
It’s about coming out of a club at 3am and reality smacks you right in the face. Which sounds more depressing than it is. It’s one of the more clubby tracks. We recorded it with Paul Epworth in a studio called The Pool.
The last track we wrote, in Rye. It’s got ambiguous chords, it’s melancholic. When we finished it, we bought fireworks and set them off on the beach. If you listen really closely, you can hear them.
This article originally appeared in the May 7th issue of NME