Friendly Fires are an English band from St Albans, Hertfordshire, England. They are currently signed to XL Recordings. Their self-titled debut album was released on 1 September 2008 and was announced as one of the shortlisted twelve for the 2009 Mercury Prize on 21 July 2009.
Friendly Fires met at St Albans School. At age 13, in Year 8/9 (the second or third year), the members formed their first band, a post-hardcore outfit called First Day Back, covering songs by Green Day and other rock-like artists, which existed until they began university. During this time lead singer Ed Macfarlane released his own music (under his own name) through the electronica label Skam, and Precinct Recordings. Upon leaving university they formed a new band inspired by dance music, "lush shoegaze melodies", and classic pop songwriting. The name Friendly Fires originates from the opening track of the Section 25 LP Always Now. The band considers German techno label Kompakt, Carl Craig and Prince to be their greatest influences.
In late 2007, they became the first unsigned band to appear on Channel 4's Transmission programme. Their single "Paris" achieved "Single of The Week" in The Guardian newspaper, NME magazine, and also on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show. They have toured extensively, with past performances and festival appearances throughout the UK, Europe, Japan, the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America and Australia.
Friendly Fires (2008-2011)
In May 2008, their song "On Board" was featured in North American television commercials for Nintendo's Wii Fit. "On Board" is also featured in the trailer for the PlayStation 3 game Gran Turismo 5. "White Diamonds" is featured in one of the episodes in the second season of the American television series Gossip Girl. "Jump in the Pool" is the theme tune to BBC1's Final Score for the 2009/10 Football Season, aired on Saturday afternoons. "In The Hospital", and "Lovesick", are featured in the PC/Xbox360/PS3 driving game "Colin McRae: DiRT 2". "Lovesick" is played on Soccer AM as the week's football fixtures are announced.
In September 2008, they released their first LP: Friendly Fires, featuring the singles "On Board", "Paris", "Jump in the Pool", and "Skeleton Boy". The enhanced 2-disc version of the album, released on 31 August 2009, included new summer single "Kiss of Life", earlier songs "Relationships" and "Bored of Each Other", other various remixes, and a DVD of their live performance of the band's at London's HMV Forum on 15 May 2009.
The album was certified double gold in the UK; the band was nominated for a Best Breakthrough Award at The South Bank Show Awards and for Best Dancefloor Filler at the NME Awards. They were also second on the bill on the Shockwaves NME Awards Tour in January and February 2009, playing alongside headliner Glasvegas and other up-and-coming bands White Lies and Florence and the Machine. In March 2009, Friendly Fires co-headlined with White Lies on an American equivalent of the tour called NME Presents, with The Soft Pack supporting.
On 21 July 2009, Friendly Fires was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. They lost to Speech Debelle's Speech Therapy.
On 19 January 2010, the band was nominated for two Brit Awards: Best British Group and British Breakthrough Act.
On 8 March 2010, Friendly Fires released a split 12" single with their New York City friends Holy Ghost!. Friendly Fires covered Holy Ghost!'s "Hold On"; Holy Ghost! covered Friendly Fires' "On Board". The 12" also included instrumental versions of both songs; the download version of the 12" included a dub version of Holy Ghost!'s "On Board".
Friendly Fires have contributed the soundtrack to the Frank Miller-directed advertisement for 'Guilty', a women's fragrance by Gucci. It was a cover of the Depeche Mode song "Strangelove".
On 27 September 2010, Friendly Fires released through Rough Trade Records a special compilation with London club promoters Bugged Out! called Bugged Out Presents Suck My Deck. The 19 songs included on the album were 18 songs, including remixes of songs by Phenomenal Handclap Band and Lindstrom and Christabelle handpicked by the band and "Stay Here", a collaboration between the band and Azari & III.
In May 2011, their second album Pala was released. The first single was "Live Those Days Tonight", soon followed by "Hawaiian Air". On 20 August of that year, Friendly Fires announced that their trumpet player, Richard Turner, who contributed to their live shows, had died. Turner had suffered a cardiac arrest while swimming on 19 August 2011. At the end of 2011, Friendly Fires played their biggest UK tour to date, starting in Brighton on 10 November, and performing in cities, such as Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and London. An ongoing illness of singer Ed Macfarlane's caused several of these gigs to be rescheduled for December 2011.
Friendly Fires headlined the inaugural ABLE2UK charity concert for disabled awareness on 20 August 2012 at The Roundhouse in London. All proceeds from ticket sales went to ABLE2UK.
When asked in July 2012 by NME about their future direction, Macfarlane stated that the trio have no intentions of writing another pop record like Pala. They have been working with producer Andrew Weatherall and so far, they have come up with some dramatically different results to the band's usual output. Speaking to NME at Poland's Open'er Festival, Macfarlane said, "The music - the way we're writing and the style of it - is very different to anything we've done before; I think we're still learning to write music in a different way. We want to write something long and expansive and drawn-out and, I suppose, a bit more psychedelic." Macfarlane also confirmed that the tracks would definitely be released at some point, most probably under the band's name, "even if it is totally weird, psyched out, eight-minute long jams, we're still gonna call it Friendly Fires."