Interview: Fickle Friends and Clean Cut Kid

So a week ago now I had the privilege of interviewing two up and coming Indie Rock bands, Fickle Friends and Clean Cut Kid. If you saw my last post, a review on their gig, you’ll know I loved their music and really enjoyed seeing them play. Well, here comes the follow up to that, my interview with both bands which I actually did just before their gig. Hopefully this will give you an insight into the bands and, for me, definitely made me enjoy the music more, because I knew the inspiration behind it and hard work and perseverance needed by the bands to reach this point.

What’s Your Story?

Fickle Friends

We all met at university in Brighton, 3 or 4 years ago. Nattie started the band originally and there were a couple of replacements and that’s how it really started.

Clean Cut Kid

We started as a three-piece, not playing any gigs, but we wrote and recorded songs, including Vitamin C and Runaway, our first two singles. Then Ross joined us and spent between 9 months to a year just rehearsing under wraps. Our first gig was really secretive, we did it under a false name and everything, but it still leaked somehow. Our next gig sold out in an hour and we had 5 major record labels at the gig. It seemed to explode overnight!

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Fickle Friends – Photo by Jess Glendenning

Who Are Your Musical And Non-Musical Influences?

Fickle Friends

Michael Jackson, a lot of 80s stuff, like Daft Punk, Phoenix, Bombay Bicycle Club. Wes Andersen films and other 80s films really influenced us, which is appropriate because they experimented so much then with their sound and that’s exactly what we try and do.

Clean Cut Kid

Bowie, obviously. Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, Fleetwood Mac and Vampire Weekend. Wes Andersen , a lot of other film references, I guess. Back to the Future, definitely.

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Fickle Friends – Photo by Jess Glendenning

What Are Your Practice Sessions Like?

Fickle Friends

Pretty chilled. We work hard but we like a long tea break! It’s been a bit more manic recently because we don’t have much time to do anything.

 Clean Cut Kid

Cold! We’ve got a great room, but it’s rundown, the windows don’t really close, but we like that because it’s like a garage band set-up. You can just about hear yourself sing, but then as soon as you get on stage and the monitoring actually works it’s like a breath of fresh air. We’ve really made it our own and we wouldn’t change it!

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Clean Cut Kid – Photo by Jess Glendenning

What Have You Got Planned For 2016?

Fickle Friends

We’re going to Texas and LA to do some recording. Coming back to record our album. Then Festival season and after head out to New York. The world is our oyster. Our confirmed festivals at the moment are Bestival, Reading and Leeds, Field Day, the whole group, even some in Europe.

Clean Cut Kid

So many Festivals! It’s all laid out! A week of touring, then a week of recording, then another week of touring. Then we’re going to South West, South West, then we’ve got a load of random things, like a headline in London, some up in Liverpool, like Record Day. In May we’re finishing the record off and next single will be released. Then we’ll be doing the whole of festival season. We’re doing Reading and Leeds, Secret Garden Party and even, Lee Fest.

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Fickle Friends – Photo by Jess Glendenning

What’s The Best Bit About Touring?

Fickle Friends

Getting to meet the fans. The more gigs we play, the more fans we get and it’s just really nice to see them go for it and really enjoy it! 

Clean Cut Kid

It’s like you’re on holiday! Our tour manager probably doesn’t agree, but to us it just feels like a holiday with all your mates.

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Clean Cut Kid – Photo by Jess Glendenning

And The Worst Bit?

Fickle Friends

The boredom! There’s so much waiting around! It’s about 95% waiting around and 5% playing. We do the best job in the world though and we do stuff in between. Harry’s been learning French and Sam’s been learning Spanish.

Clean Cut Kid

Right at the end when it’s the last gig and you realise you have take all the gear back up the three flights of stairs to our rehearsal room! Also, however hard you try you can never take enough pants.

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Fickle Friends – Photo by Jess Glendenning

What Music Are You Currently Listening To?

Fickle Friends

Bombay Bicycle Club, because we love how they do things. They are such a good band. Jack Garrett, the 1975, all sorts really.

Clean Cut Kid

Honestly, a lot of Fickle Friends! Conner Youngblood, Flyte, Lying B*stards and Courtney Barnett as well. A lot of the talent is so raw and pure.

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Clean Cut Kid – Photo by Jess Glendenning

Finally, Sum Up Your Band In 3 Words

Fickle Friends

Right, let’s think about this. It’s a bit cheesy but indie, cool, 80s.

Clean Cut Kid

Fuzzy, hairy… Wait no, (after much debate). A beautiful, fuzzy mess.

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Fickle Friends – Photo by Jess Glendenning

Gig Review: Fickle Friends and Clean Cut Kid

Fickle Friends and Clean Cut Kid are both bands that, through their hard work and perseverance over the years, have started to make it big in the music industry. With plays across national stations, acknowledgement on the BBC introducing list and gigs at festivals including Reading and Leeds, both bands are living their dream.

Now I‘ll admit, I had heard of both bands vaguely but hadn’t really started listening to their music until this opportunity arose, so I went along to see them perform at an intimate gig in Joiners, Southampton. It’s safe to say I’m converted. Fickle Friends and Clean Cut Kid are both unique bands that are so enthusiastic about their music that their energy becomes infectious and you can’t help but sing and dance along too.

Howland, an up and coming band of three from Brighton, kicked off the show with their indie rock ‘n’ roll style, riling up the crowd ready for the bands to follow. Playing some new music and one song that they’d written that day (!) they set the atmosphere for the evening, building up to Clean Cut Kid and the Fickle Friends.

Howland

Clean Cut Kid rocked the stage, performing not only their favourites, including Vitamin C (a definite crowd-pleaser) and Make Believe, but also their newest single Pick Me Up. It is obvious in every song and throughout their set how much they love performing and how aware they are that they are living the dream! This band you MUST see live, even if you aren’t into indie music, you’ll love the atmosphere and their tunes.

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Fickle Friends opened with Say No More and received the reception they were looking for when Nattie, lead vocalist, said it was the ‘rowdiest start to a show so far this tour’! (Southampton, memorable as always). Their energy on stage made their performance phenomenal as they got their audience dancing and singing with them. Unfortunately, they experienced technical difficulties with cables whilst on stage and I feel this may have slightly affected their performance, even though it was out of their hands and nothing to be done about it. However, they kept it together and after a short pause whilst there was an attempt to fix it, they continued regardless. This didn’t affect the atmosphere much as the crowd continued to have a conversation with Nattie on stage, during this unexpected interval.

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Fickle Friends and Clean Cut Kid are a musical match made in Heaven, excuse the cliché! The Daft Punk-like style and ball of energy that are Fickle Friends contrasts, yet compliments the enthusiasm and sheer tunes that make up Clean Cut Kid.

*All photos were taken by Jess Glendenning*

Music Monday

Since I went to a music gig locally on Friday and I still have 5 minutes (I know it’s half past now, I had trouble with the videos) until it’s technically Tuesday, I thought I’d quickly put up a music Monday where I will show you the music I’m currently listening to.

Due to the gig on Friday for Clean Cut Kid and Fickle Friends, it’s safe to say that for the build up and aftermath I have spent a lot of time listening to both of them. For me though Clean Cut Kid are really the sort of music I enjoy listening to with a whole new level of uniqueness. My favourite song by them is Vitamin C (I’ll link it below). They are such an energetic band that are so obviously loving every moment at the minute, so definitely check them out!

Also check out Fickle Friends. They’re a Brighton band that have been around for a few years and are really starting to hit it big now. Definitely worth a listen! Both of these are indie bands and both are up and coming, so keep an eye out for them!

 

Keep an eye out for my review of the gig and interviews with both bands, still to come!

Top 5 PR Successes and Fails of 2015

Top Fails:

VW

VW’s crisis management team left a lot to be desired in Autumn 2015 when they proved that lies will get you nowhere. So many companies seem to believe they can get away with denying responsibility when they knew full well what was going on. Its about time they learnt from each other’s mistakes!

SeaWorld

SeaWorld’s slip up on social media last year cost them dearly as they received a huge negative backlash to their #AskSeaWorld campaign. In fact, it inspired several comeback hashtags from anti-SeaWorld Twitter users, including #EmptyTheTanks and #AnswerTheQ. Overall, with a surprising response from celebrities and activists it’s obvious that SeaWorld’s attempt to build a good CSR reputation through this campaign sunk straight to the bottom.

John Lewis
Straying from PR for this one, to the realms of advertising, John Lewis’ highly anticipated Christmas advert fell flat in 2015. It received much ridicule and criticism after many claimed it encouraged not only paedophilia, but also the isolation of the elderly during this family time. The amount spent on producing the advert was also considered hypocritical as viewers believed donating that money to Age UK immediately would have been money better spent. It’s safe to say that John Lewis will try to up its game this year!

Top Successes:

NHS

England’s blood bank engineered a truly inspiring PR campaign this year to raise awareness of the need for certain blood type donations and how necessary they are. The letter A, B and O were removed from many signs around London to show just how vital those letters are, not just on the signs, but also in the blood banks. Waterstone’s, Odeon cinema and even Downing Street all took part in the campaign. Overall, it was thought to have brought it about 200,000 more donators.

Cancer Research and Women’s Aid

Cancer research UK and Women’s Aid both showed their affinity for matters PR with their interactive campaigns in 2015. Cancer Research built a bump into a walkway which grew as people walked past and ignored it and Women’s Aid developed an interactive billboard that depicted a beaten women. As people paid attention to the woman her wounds healed. Both campaigns successfully raised awareness and encouraged the public not to ignore problems like these, whether they affect themselves or others around them.

Preparing For Germany

Alongside my aspiration to become an in house PR executive in a big music company like Sony or Universal, I have always wanted to have the opportunity to teach abroad for a short while as a sort of gap year. I’m so happy to say that it looks like all my plans to put this teaching dream into action are coming true!

I’m currently taking a TEFL course to provide me with the qualifications I need and I have already researched the places I’ll apply to for a teaching job in Aachen, Germany.

It’s amazing that one of my dreams seems to be really pulling together and actually appears to be achievable. So hopefully with a lot of hard work and perseverance I can achieve this goal before I go on and conquer my PR one!

10 Student Must-Haves

Everyone thinks that the university experience is all sunshine and light, and it is for the most part. However, no-one ever thinks of the events that all students have to be prepared for, including the necessary items that all students should have, ready for that worst case scenario.

  1. Medicine

You’ve probably heard about the infamous Fresher’s Flu and as a fresher you probably thought that no pathetic flu was going to bring you down. You were made of sterner stuff after all! Two weeks later you’re going to feel like death and wonder how you’re going to make it to the fridge for food, let alone your lectures. A call home although aiding in recovery through moral support doesn’t quite cut it when your mum can’t give you the medicine there and then. Night Nurse is the best cure. I swear by this stuff. As soon as I feel a cold coming on a chug of this before bed pretty much kills it overnight.

*Don’t think you’re safe in second or third year. That flu is not just limited to freshers!

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2. NUS or UniDays

Almost as soon as you arrive I’d recommend investing in the NUS extra card or signing up to UniDays. The discounts they will save you are immense and you can save the amount you paid for the card in a week! If you’re looking for a cheaper way to save money you can also sign up for UniDays, which is a free online website which provides you with discounts that you can redeem in store or online. You may not save as much and there may be more limitations with the places you can get the discounts, but it’s definitely worth a gander.

3. A Spare Phone Charger and Headphones

This is a definite must have. The amount of times I’ve lost my charging cable or headphones around uni is unbelievable and for that reason I always keep a spare of both back in my room. It’s so much easier to have to buy a spare one than be counting down the minutes until a new one arrives and you can finally recharge your phone! I’d also recommend although it’s not a must investing in a longer cable, say 2-3m long, as it allows for movement around your phone without having to take your phone off charge! Genius!

4. A Flask

Okay so this one you’re probably thinking ‘why would i want a flask?! They’re so old-fashioned’. Yeah they are but they are lifesavers when it comes to a quick tea or coffee in the mornings and when it comes to saving money. It is so much cheaper to make your own hot drink at home in the morning that you can literally save hundreds of pounds over a year. A decent flask is a staple item, so when you know you’re not going to have time to stop at a barristas you can make your coffee whilst getting ready in the mornings.

5. Netflix or Amazon Prime

Oh my god. These two things, although brilliant at allowing me to procrastinate, are the best things I have ever invested in. You can even get Amazon Prime at half price as a student. With the choice from movies to TV series and exclusives you will never be bored again. They’re brilliant for chilling out at the end of an evening after uni or those nights off from going out. You can even have a Netflix night with all of your flatmates. After all, everyone’s heard of Netflix and chill…

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6. A Planner

These are the best thing for organisation. Write the deadlines of your assessments and exams in so that you always know when they are. Then you can workout how much time you have to procrastinate and watch Netflix! It’s also good for keeping on top of any plans you make and ensuring you don’t double book things.

7. A Warm Waterproof

If where you’re living is anywhere like here in Southampton you’re definitely going to need one of those really really snuggly coats that is also completely waterproof. With all these storms we’re having to endure, a really warm waterproof is one thing that you’ll never go wrong with.

8. A Weekend Bag

If you’ve already moved in to uni then you know what the travelling is like, suitcase after suitcase, box after box. So it’s really useful for those weekends at home or those weekend trips with friends to have a smaller lighter bag that doesn’t suggest you’ve packed everything in your wardrobe.

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9. Dry Shampoo

This is more for girls, but guys might find it useful as well. It’s not only for those mornings when you press snooze too many times and are now having to make a half-hearted attempt at being ready for uni, but dry shampoo is a lifesaver if you’re trying to style recently washed hair. Really clean hair can be too slippery to style into that messy bun or fishtail plait, so dry shampoo or volumising powder just add that little bit of grip that you need.

10. Tupperware or Freezer Bags

I live for Tupperware boxes and freezer bags. All that space you didn’t think you had in the communal fridge and freezer has now been opened up to you when you invest in freezer bags. Drop the boxes and half empty packaging and you’ll save yourself a hella lot of space. Tupperware is awesome for keeping those extra portions of food in for uni the next day or dinner. Even storing half used veg like peppers and avocado to stop them from going brown and soft. Life saver!

freezer organisation

These tips should help you on your way to uni if you’re preparing to make that transition or remind you of a couple of useful ideas if you’re there already. Being prepared can save you a lot of otherwise wasted time and money!

 

 

5 Ways To Make Your CV ‘The One’

Let’s face it, the good old curriculum vitae leaves most people feeling fairly clueless. What do people want? How can I get that wow factor? Or even, what should be included? They leave us a little bit dumbfounded and questioning why you even wanted to apply for that job in the first place.

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Unfortunately, though, it’s one of those demons that we all have to tackle, even if you pig out on Chinese food and Netflix as a reward once you’ve done it. If you’re at university you have an advantage. Somewhere in your university there is bound to be someone who can or will help, but time can be an obstacle. Although, no matter what, they are the people to go to, I hope that this while summarise a few things that may help get started.

  1. Remember! All jobs, work experiences and applications in general are to different companies. Although it sounds like a lot of work, customising your CV to each company your sending it to can be a huge selling point. Whether its including their colours somewhere in your CV or using some of their key messages in your cover letter can help get you noticed and encourage them to think you’re right for the job.                                   giphy (2).gif
  2. Everyone says it and it sounds so clichéd, but uniqueness will really sell your CV to the company. We all hear about those examples of paper aeroplanes that have a link to the person’s CV on or those other interactive CV’s, but unless you’re hugely creative, you’re in the same position as me and have no idea what you could do to make your CV that one in a million. You can start by adding colour! If you look up curriculum vitae online and click on images you are almost guaranteed to have a page full of black and white A4 pages, so make yours that little bit brighter by highlighting certain words or different sections and you’re already a step ahead.giphy
  3. Keep it concise! The last thing a company is going to want to read through are pages and pages of beating around the bush. Really your CV should be limited to 2 pages maximum but even then you may struggle with huge amounts of detail where they’re not needed, or even tons of repetition. Obviously, if you’re looking for a job in communications you want to show you have as much experience and skills in communication as possible, but if it’s not relevant does it really need to be repeated in depth 10 times.   giphy (3).gif
  4. Sell yourself, but not in that sort of way. Really emphasise the aspects of yourself, your skills and your experience that really make you perfect for that job. You should always include a couple of short sentences (think of it as a mini personal statement) at the beginning of your CV. Use it to describe you in a couple of words, explain what experience or job you’re looking for, but also briefly cover your current situation. This can often be achieved in one word, graduate, undergraduate, etc. After this if you’ve listed previous experience make sure you emphasise the skills you learnt during that experience.giphy (4).gif
  5. Last but definitely not least, make sure your CV depicts you. Often your CV will be the company’s first contact with you, so make sure that whilst you’re selling yourself that you don’t drift off to dreamland. If you can’t talk about it in an interview or you character is definitely different to your CV persona, let’s face it, the chances of reaching the next round are thinned. So make sure that throughout the bigging up, giving them what they want and reciting your past that your CV really reflects who you are as person.giphy (5).gif

Hopefully, this will help through the work time woes, when trying to edit your CV seems like an impossible task. Obviously, every company is different and some will have specific trends or standards they want you to meet, but hopefully, in general, this will help you along your way!