The London duo interviewed ahead of Saturday Social...

Friendship: a pretty special thing to have in your life.

Friendship: a two-piece band from London whose wickedly addictive single of a few weeks back, ‘The Graveyard Shift’, perhaps should have been our pick of the week. If I had my way, grrr, et cetera. Also a pretty special thing to have in your life.

The band is Hills (drums) and Willard (guitar), the former also chipping in on vocal duties while the latter lets his fingers get all fiddly. Their music has been described as “utterly deranged” by Artrocker, “a frenetic piece of gatecrashing electro with the teeth marks of Vampire Weekend,” by Steve ‘I Am Indie Personified’ Lamacq, and “purveyors of filthy noise-rock” by NME. They’ve recently shared stages with Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Future Of The Left. Top notch rocking.

Clash can conclude, simply, that they rule, and that you’d be foolish not to catch them playing live – for free – at the Clash Saturday Social @ RoTa at Notting Hill Arts Club on May 23. Full details follow our Live Talking interview with the duo.

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Friendship – ‘The Graveyard Shift’

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Are you a band that records to tour, or that tours to record? Or do you not see the two as separate parts of what you do?
Will: I would say record to tour, as for the last six months we have been concentrating heavily on doing live shows rather than recording.
Hills: But after so many shows we’re now looking forward to recording some new material… so I suppose we work both ways.

Do you feel you translate well as a live act, perhaps better than on record, or have live shows been a bigger learning process than writing/recording?
Will: The way we play live has been a huge learning process, almost all of the loops we use are recorded live, and there are plenty of things I have had to learn about playing in order to make this work.
Hills: It’s quite difficult for us to recreate the recordings in the live environment. Ask any of the engineers that have worked with us… they’ll tell ya! Things would be a lot easier if we chose to use laptops, but we don’t want to be a band with a whole load of samples playing in the background. We did try it once but it sucked. Those tracks ended up getting ditched because we couldn’t physically play them live with just the two of us. I spent about two weeks preparing the samples for one song as well… gutted.

To date, what show stands out in your memory as the best you’ve played?
Will: For me it would be either the last RoTa at Notting Hill Arts Club we played, or opening for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which was a lot of fun.
Hills: Playing wise… yeah, definitely the last Notting Hill Arts Club show. I reckon that was the first time that everything came together properly for us. The crowd were really into our music as well which helps a lot. We’re definitely looking forward to this Saturday’s RoTa show… it’s gonna be amazing.

What’s the best show (by another band) that you’ve been to? Perhaps not ever, but certainly of late…
Hills: Best show by far has to be Monotonix at the Luminaire. Within the first five seconds of the show I was covered in beer, sweat and maybe even blood. Those guys know how to keep you entertained. I also think there was some mutual moustache respect going on between me and the singer. I think he spat on me at one point.
Will: Die!Die!Die! smashed it at an afternoon show at The Great Escape. (If I can have two then Pulled Apart By Horses also rule!)

And what about the worst show? By yourselves… is there a venue/town you’ll happily never return to?
Will: Ha ha, not gonna blame any one or venue but we played a shocker at the Freebutt in Brighton the other day… no soundcheck gives us plenty of problems. Oh, and it didn’t help that the engineer was a massive weapon.
Hills: That show was totally Spinal Tap, and not because Willard’s amps go up to eleven. I kinda liked it though… it’d be pretty boring if you smashed every show you played. We ROCKED the best we could under the circumstances. And yeah, that engineer needs a new career fo sho.

Say you’ve the budget to put on your ultimate four-band bill, featuring yourselves – who plays and in what order? No bringing anyone back from the dead, here, but defunct bands can count.
Will: Metallica, Die! Die! Die!, Pulled Apart By Horses, Friendship.
Hills: Ah, that’s nice…“friends!!!” I’d definitely agree with Metallica headlining, but then I’d go Rage Against The Machine, Fugazi and then us.

How does the band keep itself entertained on the road? Any bus games you break out for motorway gridlock?
Will: Mainly taking the piss out of each other and the ‘guess which famous person’ game.
Hills: It’s called the Yes or No game. It’s really shit but somehow manages to keep us out of mischief. Plus we have a favourite CD that gets played far too many times.

What tips would you give a new band about to embark on their first ‘proper’ tour?
Will: Take loads of socks, pants and be prepared for sleeping on floors, small chairs and the foot well of your van!
Hills: Yeah, that’s great for narcoleptics like you! I’d say get yourselves a Sat Nav… we still don’t have one and constantly find ourselves getting lost or end up breaking the law and getting traffic fines. And try to sell as much merchandise as possible because you’ll need some cash to pay the fines!

Tell us about your latest release… will it be available at the show?
Will: Yes, we will be selling it at the show. It’s called ‘The Graveyard Shift’ and is released on Too Pure’s Singles Club. It’s a limited run of 500 on 7” vinyl.
Hills: Too Pure have been great and even allowed us to have it pressed onto really heavyweight vinyl, so it sounds amazing. It was mastered at Abbey Road as well so it sounds a lot fatter than we could have done ourselves. It’s available from a couple of shops but as far as I’m aware it’s close to selling out, so buy it from us before it’s too late.

Have you listened to the other acts playing on May 23? Any that you’d not heard of before and are looking forward to seeing?
Will: I am looking forward to UNGDOMSKULEN - dem cats are gonna rock.
Hills: I haven’t seen any of the bands before but Laurel Collective sound great and look like a whole lot of fun. Ungdomskulen also look amazing. Their video for ‘Modern Drummer’ is pretty cool.

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Friendship play the Clash Saturday Social @ RoTa on May 23, 4pm-8pm. The show is free entry (over-18s only) and also features live sets from worriedaboutsatan, Ungdomskulen and The Laurel Collective. Nearest tube is Notting Hill Gate. Find the event on Facebook HERE.

Find Friendship on MySpace HERE.


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