Taking centre stage in NME‘s weekly Breakout feature, in which the rising artists “certain to dominate the near future” are given a platform by the long-running music publication, London-based collective Folly Group are this week’s artistic focus point. Discussing their approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in a recent interview, the band told NME that they have been “taking the new normal in their stride.” Rehearsing and communicating via Zoom, between two separate households, the band have surmounted the disappointment of seeing several live shows cancelled by instead finalising their new single “Fewer Closer Friends“.
According to Folly Group’s percussionist, Kai, time spent in lockdown has been utilised to ensure the four of them made the mistakes “every band needs to make – a lot of them…” One key learning has been to simplify the texture of their musical output, ensuring that the sounds of an online release can be easily replicated in real life. According to guitarist Louis, it was after Kai had joined the collective, “and we’d incorporated the electronic sound,” that the band saw their “eureka moment.”
The new single, released yesterday (June 16th) on their official YouTube channel, offers some strikingly trippy energy and the central appearance of the band’s drummer and co-vocalist Sean. Considering the limitations of performing live music – rather than being able to tinker, adjust and refine a recording with the use of digital software – he posits that, “It gives you limitations that force you to be really creative. It gives us healthy confines which lends themselves to making the best with what you’ve got, as opposed to just chaos.”
Yet the sudden disappearance of opportunity for live gigs was a huge blow for the band this year, on the cusp of breaking it big in the British capital. “Having live music swept out from underneath us is a bitter pill to swallow,” as Louis conceded. Adding to this, Sean says the band “almost decided … that we weren’t going to put another song out if there wasn’t a live show to celebrate. It would feel half-released.”
Fortunately they were all able to continue recording in Kai’s bedroom studio and the volcanic masterpiece you saw above is the lurid, remarkable fruit of that labour.
- Photo credit: Holly Whitaker