A chat with... Flyte
When it comes to heavenly sounds, nobody does it quite like Flyte. It’s been years since I came across their hauntingly beautiful harmonies and infectious pop melodies, and my attention is still as captured by them as it was back in 2015; something which I’d call an achievement in it’s self.
The release of the quartet’s eagerly awaited debut album The Loved Ones finally arrived back in August, unsurprisingly met with critical acclaim and admiration from the London boys’ now thriving fanbase, and rightly so. It’s ten perfectly put together tracks are more than enough to justify the time it took to hear a full length record from Flyte, and have earned them the recognition they truly deserve.
We caught up with Flyte ahead of their UK tour with The Lemon Twigs to talk all things The Loved Ones and find out just how it came together.
It’s been a busy year for you guys, how’s life treating you?
It has been fairly mental. We're right near the end of our UK tour at the moment, so we're all mildly ill but really happy with how it's going.
Your debut album, The Loved Ones is finally out after what feels like forever, how does it feel to actually have an album out?
The day we put it out we were terrified it was going to be a real anti-climax, after such a lot of effort and waiting. But it's been so gratifying seeing people react to it the way they have. Everybody has a different favourite and it's fairly overwhelming having people singing the words back at us during the shows.
The sound on the album is quite different to the music you were releasing a couple of years ago, is there a particular reason you’ve swayed away from the upbeat indie-pop vibe or has it just happened naturally?
With the record I think we definitely wanted to put a bit of distance between ourselves and the indie-pop bracket. At one point a couple of years ago we started falling in to the dangerous "trying to write a song for the radio" cycle, which was quite stifling really. In the end we stepped back, reevaluated a bit and decided to just do our own thing. Once those shackles were off the sound evolved much more easily and the whole thing really started taking shape when we started working with our producer, Burke Reid. It became clear quite quickly that we were making a piece of original art that we would personally choose to listen to, as opposed to something designed to fit in a playlist. It was liberating.
Out of those older songs, you’ve brought back the delightful Faithless, was it an easy decision to bring that back rather than the likes of We Are The Rain or Please Eloise?
Faithless has always had it's spot on the record. The other tracks were definitely of a time and place, but Faithless had always meant a lot to us as a song. It was the first thing we put out on YouTube as a band and one of the main reasons we got signed. It was a bloody mission to arrange the instrumentation for though, took us ages.
The album ends with your cover of Marry Me Archie by ALVVAYS, that seems like quite a brave choice. Why did you choose to end with a cover?
We didn't release anything official in 2016 so we started filming some stripped back or a cappella versions of some of our favourite tunes with a friend and uploading them onto Facebook. It began just as a way of connecting with people while we were making the album, but the covers ended up doing annoyingly better than some of our own releases. We loved the original Archie, Marry Me and wanted to reiterate how good a song it is by paring it back and drawing out the melancholy from it a bit.
Speaking of covers, you guys have done quite a few. If you could have any artist cover a Flyte track, who would you choose?
I mean, Nick Drake covering Annie and Alistair would be fine.
How has the live reception been since The Loved Ones was released? Have you noticed a difference?
In May we did a headline tour and quite bravely only played songs from the album, long before anybody had even heard it. People seemed to get on board straight away and it's been great seeing a lot of the same faces this time round armed with their records. The show is a bit more mature than before and we've tried to stay true to the record without using any backing track or tricks so it's quite challenging to play and there's lots of detail.
Which is your favourite track to play live? Any particular reason why?
I think Cathy Come Home is probably a unanimous favourite, it's got loads of unpredictable twists and turns and we need to be totally in sync with one another to make all the tempo changes work. It's also the one that everyone enjoys belting back at us the most.
Have there been any shows this year that have really stood out and stuck in your mind?
We did a sold out show at Scala in September and that was pretty dreamy. We had a string section and this huge hand painted backdrop with a full light show. We'd never played to a crowd that size that was our own.
Finally, which albums have caught your eye in 2017? Who should we be listening to?
The Dirty Projectors album was really impressive and it was great to see C Duncan continuing to be brilliant on his latest record too. We're going on tour with the Lemon Twigs in November and their album has been a tour van staple this year. We were a bit late to the Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam party but that has some great songs on it.