Introducing: Fighting Colours

Brighton-based rock band Fighting Colours have just released their debut single; ‘To the Bone’. We spoke with Pete Ferris (guitar) and Jasmine Ardley (lead vocals) about the formation of the band, what it means to have their debut single out there, and some personal musical memories.

What are the origins of Fighting Colours, how long have you been playing together?

Pete Ferris: “I originally met Jasmine in late spring/early summer 2019. I’d been searching through the internet and social media for nearly a year trying to find a singer to start a new band with after the old one split. She got in touch and said she was interested, and by the end of summer we had a whole bunch of songs written together! We then spent a few more months looking for a drummer & a bassist; we met both Leo and Harrison in January earlier this year and gelled with them very quickly. By early February we’d reached our final form!”

The band’s debut gig came just before the lockdown in March, that must have been surreal going from the euphoria of your debut gig to the total shutdown of all live music?!

Pete: “It was crazy! At that point, I hadn’t played a gig in nearly 2 years, so it was a massive emotional high for me. We booked a second one for April, and then suddenly everything changed. For a while, we didn’t quite know exactly what to do with ourselves. Personally, I saw it more as a challenge than a hindrance, so me and Jasmine recorded some remote acoustic videos (and one full band one as well) which can be found on our YouTube channel. Doing those things, and also writing songs during the downtime, made the first lockdown that bit more bearable.”

What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe yourself?

Pete: “Something that’s heavy but also quite poppy at the same time. The songwriting’s fairly accessible but our sound has a lot of grit to it, and we like to flex our math rock muscles every now and then.”

The new music scene is bursting at the seams with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?

Pete: “The songwriting has to be absolutely top-notch, the sound should be defined, and the live performances need to be consistent. Not to mention that any band that wants to stand out has to be persistent in putting themselves out there, and promoting themselves at every opportunity. Because of the nature of the industry, a baby band needs to develop an at least half-decent business sense very quickly.”

Debut single ‘To The Bone’ has just been released today, December 4th, any nerves?

Pete: “Yep. Nerves, and lots of ’em! Going into this off the back of a single gig is a step I didn’t think we’d end up taking. But equally, there’s a lot of excitement! Having something that’s yours, available out there for anyone in the world to listen to at the click of a button is a huge deal for us.”

What are the lyrical themes behind the single?

Jasmine Ardley: “It’s about battling with mental illness, the fear of losing control of yourself, and how traumatic it can be to be stuck inside your own mind. It can probably relate to a lot of people right now, as lockdown has had a similar impact on people.”

What band out there at the minute do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?

Pete: “Marmozets, Black Peaks, or Jamie Lenman. Out of the current crop of British rock acts those are the ones I think are leading the charge at the moment. I’d be honoured to go on before any of those bands!”

Jasmine: “Dream State or Greywind!”

Both Biffy Clyro and Marmozets are listed as influences for the band, both bands copped some flak for changing up their sound on their most recent albums, Marmozets in particular. But bands need to evolve and keep trying new things, or should they just keep the fans happy by rehashing the same album over and over?

Pete: “It’s a double-edged sword. If you stray too far from your original sound then you can end up losing the essence that defines you as a band – that’s something both Biffy and Marmozets have done well to keep hold of, despite switching up their sound from album to album. It’s more frustrating as a music fan to watch a band stagnate and never move on from one place creatively.”

Who do you feel is the next band to break out?

Pete: “If I had to name one, it’d be a fellow Brighton band called Blue Eyed Giants. They exist at the Biffy/Arcane Roots end of the rock spectrum, and their most recent singles have been some massive steps forward. I could definitely see them holding a crowd in the palm of their hands at 2000 Trees or ArcTanGent!”

What are your first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

Jasmine: “My first musical memory was when my big brother used to do band practice with his metal band in my garage when I was a kid. At the time I didn’t like it as I wasn’t into music yet but when I was about 13 I listened to their songs and was like ‘Damn, why couldn’t I get into music earlier and see them live as a kid?’. Also my mum told me I used to sing from the cot as a baby and wake everyone up like a bird!”

Pete: “My initial exposure to music came, funnily enough, through Busted’s debut album! Me, my mum and my brother would have both their albums on in the car every time we went somewhere. It’s hard to pinpoint a lightbulb moment, but I remember being 13 and having just started playing guitar as a hobby, and watching a video of a band playing live in a huge stadium with the crowd going nuts, and thinking ‘That needs to be me!'”

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

Pete: “Frank Turner doing a solo acoustic gig at the Brighton Dome. It felt like a big communal moment – everyone in a room singing along to one man and his guitar.”

What current social issue are you particularly passionate about?

Pete: “There’s a lot to unpack this year. Black Lives Matter is something that a lot of people finally seem to be paying attention to, which is heartening to see. Inequality and injustice across the board is something that needs to be a focus, but sadly it feels like the government’s more interested in going backwards rather than forwards. The same can be said for their attitude towards the arts & events industry, which have pushed to breaking point by the loss of income during the COVID crisis.”

There is great debate at the minute about whether or not musicians should use their platform to talk about political issues, some for and some against. Music has always been a form of protest, surely an artist has just as much right as the next person to offer an opinion? Or should they “just stick to the music”?

Pete: “Musicians are people too, right? There are issues that affect us in our day-to-day lives the same way they affect people in other walks of life, so we’re entirely within our rights to speak up and say what’s on our minds. Music hits a different note when it reacts to the world around it – Sunday Bloody Sunday, Get Up Stand Up, The Times They Are a-Changin’, etc.”

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

Pete: “Probably my entire collection of U2 albums!”

Although 2020 has been a year to forget, there has been some great music released; what would be your album of the year?

Pete: “There’ve been some great albums this year by Biffy, Deftones, Jamie Lenman, PVRIS and others, but the one that really sticks out for me is Moral Panic by Nothing But Thieves. It spans a big sonic spectrum, and captures pretty much every collective emotion we’ve felt in 2020, with just that little spark of hope.”

Who would you class as an underrated songwriter?

Pete: “Charlie Simpson. The sheer contrast and songwriting diversity between Busted, Fightstar, his solo work and the Once Upon a Dead Man EP is insane.”

Jasmine: “Vic Fuentes from Pierce the Veil.”

What are your plans for 2021 should COVID ever disappear?!

Pete: “Record and release more music, and play a whole bunch of gigs to make up for lost time!”

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

Pete: “We became very active on social media once lockdown 1 started. With no gigs to play you have to find a whole other way of building an audience. We can be found on the usual places – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

‘To The Bone’ is available now, purchase here.

 

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