MEET FIZZY BLOOD
In the midst of a blustery February snowstorm, Leeds-based band Fizzy Blood braved the blizzard, and stopped by our Soho store for a chat. It was the closing date of their first headline tour, which had been packing out venues across the UK. Having been fans of their music for some time, it was great to finally get the chance to interview them.If there’s one thing you need to know about Fizzy Blood- it’s that they are good. Really good.
Fizzy Blood have been on our radar for a while, for two reasons. The first being that they’re from the North, a place we always have an eye on for new music- and the other being that they sounded incredible. We heard ‘Summer of Luv’ last summer, and it struck us as it sounded like a song you should already know. A hit single from a band everybody loves.
Every now and then, in our quest to find amazing new bands, we come across one that sounds huge, one where we just have to track the band down and meet them. And what a pleasure it is when you meet them that they exceed all expectation. With Fizzy Blood, here we have a concrete brotherhood: five funny and talented guys, whose common interest of loving music sees each release being more brilliant than and unique to the last. There is no genre you can box this sound into- it’s too big and too rich in inspiration. It’s the most telling sign that you’ve found a band who know what they are doing, who really love playing.
They were coming to the end of their first UK headlining tour when we managed to catch up with them in the John Snow pub in Soho. After just releasing another mammoth single called ‘CFO’ and ahead of their next release, we were eager to find out how such a young band had developed such a unique sound.
L: So how has the headline tour been so far?
Paul: Great yeah. Actually when we first announced that we were going to do it, we were all shitting it a little bit. We thought no one is going to come, because we’ve never done anything like that before. But yeah, it’s been really great.
Jake. They did come!
Paul: We built it and they came.
L: And you have your last show tonight?
Tim: That’s right yeah.
Paul: Camden Assembly.
L: How is it playing London?
Paul: It’s alright. Every time we play here we really enjoy it. No complaints from my end.
Jake: Yeah, it used to be like we’d come here and be like…
Benji: Well, because the drive is so long.
Jake: Yeah, the drive is so long and obviously we’re based up north, so we didn’t really have anyone down here that knew who we were. But obviously as a band, you end up playing so much that it build up over time. Then it got to a point where it’s like the gigs down here are as well attended as the gigs we play up north.
So it’s great, we really enjoy coming down. We get to see loads of our friends that we never see as well.
Paul. It’s almost become a home away from home.
Benji: Whether you’re a band from Wales, or John O Groats- wherever you’re from- you’re going to end up playing London a whole bunch. So naturally, you’re gonna build up a fan base here.
And yeah, we sold a good few tickets tonight, and it’s gonna be a good laugh.
Paul: A good knees up.
L: So, have there been any standout moments so far?
All: Last night!
Paul: Yeah, we had a wall of death and it pretty much went from the front of the stage to right to the back of the venue, it was class.
L: Where was it?
Benji: It was in Birmingham, at the Sunflower Lounge. Leeds and Birgimham have been the stand out dates. Well, Leeds was our hometown show-which was amazing, sold out. Incredible. Birmingham was very close to selling out. To be honest I don’t think you could have fit any more people in that room without it just being people up the stairs. But it was great. The Manchester and Glasgow shows- they were still really good.
Paul: Better than expected. The highlights have been the last couple of gigs. It’s just, for some reason, that area of the country people are a bit more nuts.
L: Who has been your support?
Benji: We got Forever Cult on the road with us. And we have had different local supports in each city. The standard of bands that have been on this tour have been really good. I’ve not watched one band and thought: ‘These guys are pretty bad’. Everyone has been proper decent. So it’s nice to be able to justify people the ticket price, y’know.
L: Any good after parties with the support?
Benji. Leeds was good.
Paul: Yeah, we pretty much took over a pub. We went into this old man pub with about twenty, thirty people. We were like the only people in there…
Benji: We took over the whole ground floor.
Paul: Yeah, the thirty of us came in, in this tiny pub. It was packed, with all of us.
Ciaran: There were of couple of people in there and saw us all come in, and were just like ‘Nah, we’re done now’, and got up and walked out.
Tim. We were just waiting for them to leave, we want yer seats!
Paul: So yeah, that was good.
Benji: Hopefully tonight will be good as well.
Paul: Yeah tonight we are going out to have a few drinks.
Benji: We got the van for an extra day, so we’re staying down, having a few…
Paul: Finish celebrating the end of the tour.
L: So you guys have quite a CV in terms of gigs. Can you tell me about you playing in South Korea?
Ciaran: Probably one of the best experiences we’ve had really.
Paul: Literally. One of the best experiences of my life.
Ciaran: Yeah. I remember the first gig we played over there was this outdoor stage and I think it was in the middle of the city centre. But we were the loudest band on that stage.
Paul: The police came and shut our set down early because people were getting too rowdy. It was pretty cool because we’d never played anywhere near like that area before. Probably most people didn’t know who we were, which was even better because they were still going nuts.
We were out in this town square, there were a thousand people who are all loving it and we’re doing our thing. And then these police cars showed up telling us “Last Song! Last Song! Everyone is getting to rowdy”- which made me feel pretty punk.
Tim: We’re real lucky to get about a fair bit. We’ve been to Europe a few times, America as well. But playing in South Korea is like playing in different world.
Paul: We had an hour-long queue of people with gifts.
Tim: You know what to expect, but that was a completely different experience. The whole trip was just amazing.
Jake: Do you remember the old lady?
All: Owh yeah…
Jake: We finished the set, and we were chucking some T-Shirts out, it was mental. Then after everyone came up to us with their shirts, and then some old lady came out of her house. She basically said we’d woken her up, but she loved rock’n’roll!
So then we got our photo taken with her, and this 80 year old is like this [grimaces metal face and hands]
It was so funny!
L: How did that come about?
Jake: It was through Sound City, so our manager used to work for them. They used to have a joint venture with a festival over there, and they would swap the English bands with the Korean bands.
Benji: Sound City festival in Liverpool.
Jake: We were lucky enough to be asked to do it.
Paul: I think it was the first year that they did it.
L: Are you going to go back?
Paul: We’d love to. We got asked to go back last year, but we were conscious of the cost.
Tim: The thing about Korea is that it was such a culture shock. Their country is so different to ours- they have Soju, which is supposedly their equivalent of wine. Well, we drank it as we would drink wine, and it did catch up with us pretty quickly. Then they have these BBQ’s on a table like this, where you can cook your own food, and they’re open until 6 in the morning. We always said that if that was in England, somebody would have burnt their face on it, or you know. But there, you can go out on an amazing night out and you can have a sit down dinner!
L: So you have also played with Dead Kennedy’s- was that as fun as I imagine it to be?
Benji: [Pauses] I think when we played with them, we were still kind of…. We weren’t…
Paul: We weren’t ready.
Benji: We were still finding ourselves as a band. We still played to a decent standard, don’t get me wrong. It was just…
Paul: We always think that if we had the chance to play it as the band we are now, it would have been a better experience. We would have got so much more out of it.
Benji: It’s not even that that I’m getting at, it was more that there were a bit of an age gap as well. I know that’s weird, because they’re old punkers. But they didn’t want to hang out really.
I grew up listening to Dead Kennedys, and Black Flag and all that, so I was thinking: “Oh my god!” There’s no Jello Biafra anymore, which also kind of took the magic away from it a little bit.
L: He is the Dead Kennedys though, isn’t he
Benji: He is!
Paul: In their golden years they were twenty, you know. So we had never been on a proper tour before- and they have been doing it their whole lives. Of course they didn’t want to hang out with us.
Benji: They were still nice, but they were still these old 80’s punkers- you’d be expecting- I don’t know what I was expecting.
Paul: I think it’s just the age gap- their audience has grown with them and when we came on stage, not being very experienced but having lots of confidence, plus playing music that they’re not exactly in to- their reaction wasn’t that great. I think now we’d have a bit more awareness of how to play to different sorts of audiences. So maybe we would have a better time, and they would have had a better time.
L: When you guys do travel, what’s the one thing you miss from home?
Benji: [counts on his fingers] I miss my cat, my bed, my PlayStation, my shower and… I’m trying to round this up to a five…. and my girlfriend.
All: laugh and clap
Paul: A low number five! Under PlayStation and cat.
I don’t a miss a lot.
Tim: For me it’s my own space. You’re driving the van, you’re together all the time, and then you go on stage and then you go have beers together…. and its fine, because we all actually like each other. But I just really like my own space.
Benji: Yeah, I get really disheartened now when get a green room without its own toilet, because I just want to sit there and be like [mimes sighing with a book in his lap]
Paul: Lock the door, and we’ll all be like, Benji you okay? “No! Go away!”
Benji. Toilet time is very precious.
L: How do you guys cope being around each other so much?
Benji: We’re good mates, that’s how we cope.
Paul: We love each other and we know each other’s ticks, and we know when we’re getting near the line.
Benji: We know when to back off and when to lay it on.
Jake: We just get pissed a lot!
Tim: It helps with quite a lot of things. It helps when we have a really good gig and everybody is in a good mood. Butt if you have a couple of tough shows, and a couple of long drives, it’s a bit cold and you’re not staying in the best places- tempers have been known to flare. I think we are all well aware that that happens.
Paul: We’re a family really; it’s not all roses. People fall out with other people, and there’s sometimes a bit of a bad vibe in the air- but it’s never personal and it never lasts. There’s a deeper something under that, where we are all in it for the long haul. It’s always alright in the end.
L: So what is the Leeds music scene like at the moment?
Jake: It’s cool man, there’s a lot. There’s like- it’s just one of those places that just great bands come out of. There’s a big student population there so there’s constantly new people coming into the city, which breeds new trends so new bands forming constantly. I can’t keep up- I used to know what was going.
Benji: But we used to play in Leeds a lot more. We’ve branched out a bit more now.
Tim: But it’s a funny one- like Jake said everyone is pretty good friends- it’s not a small city but the city is quite compact, so everybody’s friends, everybody sounds really different. It’s a very diverse sound, not like…
Paul: No ones in danger of ripping anyone else off.
Tim: Yeah- that’s what I’m trying to say. But at the same time, everyone is really encouraging of each other, very supportive.
Paul: A lot of our mates are in bands that are super electronic and we still go to their gigs and think they’re sick.
L: Are there lots of good music venues there too?
Tim: Yeah. Well Jake used to work at the Brunel, which is probably our collective favourite.
Jake: It’s the place to be man!
Benji: Whenever you’re in a taxi in Leeds and you mention that you are in a band, they say- oh you play the Brunel yeah?
Paul: Sure. What do you want to know about it?
L: What was the inspiration behind it?
Paul: [Pauses] It’s about…as most songs are… it’s about a relationship. I’m not going to go too much into the nitty-gritty of it, but its just about… It’s a reminder to step out of the situation you’re in sometimes. And think about how you’re coming across. Because sometimes you look back and…
Benji: It’s about hindsight.
Paul: It’s just a reminder to have a bit more of that about yer.
L: A lot of your songs seem quite personal, would you say that’s true?
L: You write most of them Paul?
Paul: A lot of the lyrics, yeah.
L: As they are so personal- what do you do when you are in need of inspiration?
Paul: Just bang my head against the wall until it comes out. [Laughs] Sometimes it’s really easy, with most of the songs we’ve released. It writes itself. A lot of the ones we don’t release are the ones I really have to try hard to get. I guess if I have got something to say, or my subconscious has something to say, then I’ll say it. If it won’t, I don’t. Or, if I’ll really try to, it will sound contrived and shit.
Jake: That’s when he sends it to us and we go: “Yeah… that took you a while, didn’t it?”
and he’ll go: “Yeah, it took me two weeks”
and we’re like: “Sorry man, its one of them!”
Paul: It took me like two years to write ADHD!
Paul: I think you have to find new ways to relate to them. Because you’re not the same person you were when you wrote all the early stuff. So I guess my enjoyment of them comes from people’s reaction to them when we are playing. And I think that’s the same for all of us.
With the new songs, sometimes the subject matter is a little bit more…[pauses]…recent in my mind, so I can relate. But some of the older ones, I have to find new ways to enjoy it.
L: I think that happens with a lot of bands. When you speak with a lot of older bands and they say they find songs from 40 years ago relevant in a completely different way…
Paul: I was watching an interview with- and say what you want about him- Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys. He was saying that when they play their old songs- and I know they have been around a lot longer than we have- but when they play they’re playing their older stuff, it feels like they are covering another band. And that really rung true for me- because there are a couple of songs that I wont name any names- but they’re starting to feel like we’re not playing our own songs. It’s a bit like we’re covering something else.
Jake: Our influences have changed so massively, and we’re all really into music. And when you are that invested, you’re never going to be into the same thing forever. It’s constantly shifting and changing. I probably don’t listen to the same I was listening to two months ago.
L: I think that’s what I like about your music. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s the same band but you can seen the different influences for each song.
Jake: I think that that is one thing that we try and really push. We’ve managed to do tours with bands like While She Sleeps, and then go on tour with Spring King…
Ciaran: There’s not really another band that has done something like that.
Jake: Which is really cool for us, because we want to be that band that bridges that gap. Rock really used to be the same thing, and now it’s a more separate weird thing. It’s weird… when we did that While She Sleeps tour, the people who go to the show are great, but the Metal crowd is so different to the Indie crowd. The indie crowd are just so up for it. But the Metal crowd were a bit more like…
Jake: Standoffish, and they’re just like… It’s weird. Like the Arcane Roots thing as well, they’re a Math-Rock band…
Tim: …and even that was different to While She Sleeps…
Jake: That was a totally different world- because their crowd were almost elitist.
Benji: It’s like playing to a gallery- people just coming to watch an art piece. You’ll still get the odd rock fan who is just like: “Yeahhh! Go for it”… but…
Paul: But you can feel them picking you apart while you’re playing. Which can be off putting.
Jake: But that’s what it felt like that tour. It was weird- we still enjoyed it- but thought this audience is a bit like… arms crossed and standing there…
But after doing all that stuff, we now see ourselves as a Indie Rock band. We didn’t start off as that, but that’s where we are going. So to do that Spring King tour was great.
L: So tell me about that.
Jake: It was amazing! We all loved it so much- the crowd were just amazing. It just went off every night, Spring King are so much fun. We all love their album, so to be able to watch that every night and know all the words to the songs… and they’re just such cool guys. It was inspiring. It was great to be placed where we want to be placed.
The other tours were great, and such a learning curve- but Spring King was the exact opposite of a learning curve, it was being where we want to be. It’s ace, it works- it’s a pay off for all the stuff we’ve done in the past.
Paul: In part, it’s what this tour is all about. I feel like now we are a band with our own identity. We’ve gathered up all these different people from these different sub genres and subcultures. They are all coming together and they all like it. I don’t think people give kids enough credit these days for the diversity of music they listen to. The way people listen to music now is on Spotify, on a playlist, you’ll get like ten different genres in one. It’s not like the 70’s or going back to the bloody 50’s with yer Rockers and yer Mods. People listen to all kinds of music like we do, and we feel like there’s not enough bands out there just doing what they want to do, regardless of what the genre is. I’m not saying we are super successful at it, but we’re trying. Hopefully that’s what we are bringing to the table now, and that’s what this tour is all about. You see a lot of different kids dressed super differently at the shows- but they are all there for the same reason.
L: I think bands forget to have fun these days.
Jake: Well that’s the core of our ethos right there. We can’t take ourselves too seriously. Becuase then its painful. It’s almost cringey. I think we can all agree on that. I just don’t understand how you can take it so seriously when you’re in a band with your friends and you’re playing music! Get on with and show some personality.
L: What’s the first piece of music that ever moved you?
Ciaran: Ooooh…. I don’t know!
Benji: What made you want to play bass?
Ciaran: Jon Entwistle really. Thunder fingers.
L: I hate that nickname…
Ciaran: I remember I had never heard anyone play bass like that before, and it quite stuck with me. Just hearing what he was able to create and portray… especially live as well, compared to the records. It really stuck with me.
Tim: I don’t want to sound like I’m on Spinal Tap- but like my mum and dad were mad on music. They would say when my mum was still pregnant with me, the only thing that would chill me out would be if my dad played Private Investigations by Dire Straits [laughs]
But my first actually memory- you know- a good Friday night for my mum and dad would just be in our living room listening to music. So they used to put on Queen, Live Aid and… I can’t remember. But they were my first real memories. Oh! And Travis at Glastonbury ’99. That was the first ever gig I went to.
Paul: Yeah, there was probably stuff before that I can’t remember, but something I can really remember that had a proper impact on me was ‘Hey Jude’ by the Beatles. I heard it when I was about ten and I used to sing it all the time. My teachers asked me to sing it at the end of year assembly in Year 6. So I did! High pitch voice, knees shaking… and let me tell you- Year 7 was not easy. [Laughs] I was relentlessly bullied for that.
All laugh, and someone asks ‘Just that?’
Paul: Among other things! I don’t help myself. But i didn’t really care! I couldn’t explain why, but that song really made me feel something.
Benji: For me, it’s more of a beat than a piece of music. My Dad was a butcher- my mum used to drop me off with him at the shop, and I must have been two or three. And when he was sharpening his knives, he used to do this beat on his knives- like [raps on the table] and I used get up and [bounces up and down]
Benji: But yeah, I remember it because it was like a high hat, and I used bob up and down to it- and that was my first…
Paul: Your dad sharpening his knives!
Tim: It’s funny cus you still do that when we go out.
Jake: I was kinda the same as Tim- I was brought up on a lot of music. Memory wise though, the first thing I ever thought “Oh, this is class”, and the first thing I actually understood, was when I got a record player and bought The White Album on vinyl. At that point I would listen to albums the whole way through- but that’s just walking around doing something with headphones on. But with this I just sat down and listened to the whole thing. Just concentrating on it. That was it for me.
L: It’s a different experience when you allow the music to fill the room you’re in.
Jake: I just sat on the floor in between the two speakers. I was like: “Okay, I like The Beatles now”. I hadn’t listened to their records before- but [had got this] in the charity shop and it was £2 or something.
Tim: That’s funny, because that was the same thing with me for Hendrix. I used to have guitar lessons from quite a young age, and obviously everybody is like: “Oh you must like Hendrix because you play guitar!” and until I was about ten or eleven- I just never got into that. Then dad was just like sit down, and he had Electric Ladyland on vinyl. It was the same thing. That was probably the first time I ever just sat in the room and listened to something- without headphones and without doing something else. Then of course I got it straight away and I was an instant Hendrix fan.
L: Is there any music people would be surprised that you listened to?
Paul: Barking by Rams
Bouff Daddy- we like that.
We’re not even joking.
Ciaran: As a kid, because I have a massive Irish family…
…Two of my aunties are Irish dancing teachers, so I was heavily surrounded by Irish music growing up. Like fiddles and reels, and stuff like that. Back home, my aunty runs an Irish pub, and those playlist that come on, I just know every song.
L: And your favourite Irish tune is?
Ciaran: ‘I Useta Lover’ by the Saw Doctors
All: [Start singing it softly]
Jake: I have a great story about that- can I tell you an anecdote?
Ciaran: Go for it mate.
Jake: When Ciaran and me went to college together, there was a project we had to do. It was an Irish project, so you had to learn Irish songs. So him and me were well excited- thinking: “Great! We get to pick these songs! Let’s do ‘I Useta Lover’!”
He was like: “Yeah! I’ll sing it!”
I said: “You sure Scan?
“Yeah, yeah! I’ll sing it”
Rehearsals went great mind, but got to the gig and the song started… and he just went bright red… and just didn’t sing!
Ciaran: Yeah, I started with [in thick Irish accent] “I haven fallen for a lover…”
Jake: …then the band kicked in… and he just turned round to look at me and had just gone bright red! I was literally screaming the lyrics at him and he’s just stood there frozen… [laughing]
Then two minutes later he just comes back in with:
All: [sings] “When we had a session…”
Jake: After, me mum and dad were like: “It was still great Ciaran!”
But now they’re like “Yeah… that was absolute shite.”
Paul: So yeah- Irish music and chart bangers!
L: What’s the best gig you’ve been too?
Tim: One that stood out for me was when Alt J played the NME stage at Leeds festival in 2012- or 13.
Jake: Weren’t that when Tame Impala played before?
Tim: Yeah, Tame Impala had set it up, but Eminem was on the other stage…
Jake: Yeah and all the tossers were over there! It was the same for me at Reading. Seeing Tame Impala for the first time was fucking great. Then Alt J came on and it was even better.
Tim: They had just released An Awesome Wave. They were still kind of new, but enough people knew about them. It’s very rare at festivals that the sound is spot on, but it was amazing. And like Jake said, people in that tent, really really really want to be there. So the atmosphere was amazing.
Benji: Rage Against the Machine in 2008. That was insane.
Ciaran: King Gizzard when we saw them…
Paul: and Anderson pak
Paul: Seeing Anderson Pak for the first time, in a tiny little tent. No one knew he was- that was class.
Ciaran: We saw The 1975 as well when they headlined NME, they were great then.
L: What have you changed your mind on, as you’ve gotten older?
Paul: Family. The importance of family. I really didn’t place much importance on it all when I was younger- and now I remember how important it is to always have people there who have always got your back.
[Pause before they all laugh]
Jake- You’re such a XXX. Fair play!
Benji: You just grow up and you learn to be more eclectic. I was very close-minded. In regards to music – if it weren’t Punk I wouldn’t listen to it. But as you get older you branch out because you get bored of the same thing. I’d listen to anything now. As long as it’s good.
We had a big discussion last night actually. His brother was asking us: “So what makes a good music? I don’t really know anything about music!”
And we were just like: “Well, how it makes you feel…. there is no such thing as a good song or a bad song. It’s whether you think it’s bad or you think its good. I could think a song is bad and you can think a song is good. It’s subjective.”
Jake: For me, it would have to be Guinness.
Ciaran: Mine would be coffee and cigs.
Paul: I feel like a right tit now.
L: Any bands in particular you look on differently?
Benji: Not so much bands, but artists. Me and Paul especially, we listen to a lot more R&B, we love Frank Ocean, Anderson Pak, and when I was 15 or16- I wouldn’t have touched that with a barge pole.
Paul: I think the reason I listen to music has changed. When I was younger I used to listen to things because it was easy to enjoy and to digest. Now I listen to it because it has meaning or a connection.
Benji: I think that’s a really good point. In yer mid teens, you’re looking for a social category to fit in. For me that was Punk. It was almost a definition of where I should fit in society. Now, as Paul said, the reason for me to listen to music has changed.
Paul: So consequently, all the things I liked I now think is shit. And all the things I like I used to think was shit.
L: So lastly, what’s next for Fizzy Blood?
Jake: God knows to be honest. We got some festivals. We’re releasing an EP. We’ve got a single coming out.
Paul: Yeah, and its the best single we’ve ever done. So keep your eyes and ears peeled for that.
Jake: It’s one of those where we were really happy with it, and then we’ve been playing it live and the reaction has been more than we expected. Every night someone will come up and say…
Benji- [mimics] “I love that song man!”
It one of them songs you hear once and people will come up to us after and they will recite the lyrisc to yer!
Paul: I feel it in my gut- it’s one of those. I’m really excited for it to come out.
Jake: [jokingly] We’re basically Oasis.
Check out their new single ‘PINK MAGIC’ now and see for yourselves: