Get your daily dose of sunshine in a cup from this brother sister duo and their bright, punchy, slacker tunes.
Don’t know about you, but we could use something a little upbeat these days and Aussie/Brit band Family Friends, aka Rebecca and Tom Fitzsimons, might be just what the doctor ordered. They’ve got that whole totally infectious slacker alt rock down to a T. Their first EP, “Across the Water”, released last year, has some Courtney Barnett vibes, especially the title track, full of psych riffs and drifting vocals with something just a little murky and mysterious lurking beneath it all.
Family Friend’s latest track, “Look the Other Way”, perhaps the most accessible and animated of their releases to date, gives off that feeling of instant nostalgia, almost like they’ve bottled up the spirit of endless sun-drenched hours of our teenage summers, the smell of yellowy sand and dry desert road trips. They channel that same up-beat, carefree feeling of 90’s classics like “No Rain”, opening with pounding, head bobbing drums, followed by some truly grin-inducing surfer rock guitar waves. If you’re craving sunny summer Sundays, Family Friends is a good place to start.
So you guys are brother and sister. What’s it like working together?
Have you guys always wanted to make music? When did you decide to go for it?
We’ve always wanted to make music, but there was never a ‘let’s go for it’ moment at the beginning for Family Friends. We just did our thing, stuck it on the internet, and rolled through.
What artists did you guys love growing up? How have they influenced your sound?
Beck, Paul McCartney, Blur, Weezer, Elton John, Pulp, the Bee Gees. They have influenced our sound in every way possible. Our sound is just their sound, jangled up and sieved through these two brains here.
What’s the songwriting process like for you two? Do you each have certain roles in putting a track together?
Yeah for sure. Every song is co-written between the two of us, but when it comes down to production Tom tends to get amongst all the instruments, and I am lying on the floor writing lyrics. We throw things back and forth until we’re both grooving.
You guys are based in London and Melbourne. What’s the good / what’s not so good in terms of music scenes? How do they differ?
In Melbourne there’s a lot more grass rootsy, sceney sort of stuff going on. There’s more room for the youth—you can actually afford to go out to eat, and there’s sense of creative freedom and headspace that you don’t get in London. But its incomparable really. The venues and the stories, and the sheer history of London are unreal, and its our hometown—so it will always come first for us.
“We’re not quite natural performers, but we do love it when we’re up there, even if we look pretty dorky.”
Your new single “Look the Other Way” feels a lot more lively compared to your mellower tracks on “Across the Water”. How do you feel your music is changing / where’s it headed?
After we got playing live with the band in London last year, we got to writing for the crowd. It’s so nice to see people bouncing around in front of you, so when you go back home to write, you find your BMP has inched up, and you’re spilling out real pop melodies. It’s for the fans! We still get mellow though, there are definitely a few slacker tracks on this EP too.
What’s your approach to performing live? Are you into it?
We’ve got to snatch time at the moment, so we put on super impromptu gigs in pretty weird places: people’s houses, galleries, studios… It’s probably true to say we are more at home in the studio than on stage, though. We’re not quite natural performers, but we do love it when we’re up there, even if we look pretty dorky.
What do you want people to feel when they listen to your songs?
Whatever they feel like feeling.
What are your favourite sounds to work with? Is your creative process more experimental or traditional?
We’re pretty traditional. We love a good mellotron.
Anything big on the horizon? What have you got up your sleeves in coming months?
We’ve got a lot more coming. We’re especially excited about our collaboration on this EP with Beatnik Creative, and the opportunity we’ve had to work with some of our good friends on it. It’s been rad.