Brandishing distinct spoken-word vocals and lush shoegaze guitars, indie-art-rockers flirting. are on the warpath to ensure guitar music stays intriguing, captivating and relevant.
Earlier in the year the London 5-piece released latest single Peppermint, a blistering indie-pop opus that clocks in at a generous 6 minutes and keeps you hanging on every single second.
Twisting and charging through moments of C86 guitar work, fervent poetic recital and static walls of guitar fuzz, Peppermint is a tour-de-force opening gambit from the band’s upcoming debut EP.
It’s a track that sets an exciting precedent for the young band, calling upon a mixture of eclectic influences and wearing all of them proudly upon the sleeve.
We caught up with the band ahead of a massive mainstage slot at Truck Festival in Oxfordshire where they’ll open up for the likes of Jake Bug, Everything Everything and George Ezra.
What was the first song you developed an obsession for?
William: One of These Days by Pink Floyd, which really does answer for a lot.
Kevin: Definitely the DJ Sammy cover of Heaven. The early 00’s were WILD, right? Eight-year-old me could not get enough of it.
Andy: I remember like really vividly when I was like 12/13 going home every day for about 4 months and playing World of Warcraft for about 4 hours and just listening to Helicopter by Bloc Party on repeat.
Poppy: This kids song We’re going to the Zoo. I played it so many times the tape wore out. I must have been like 3 or 4. My parents definitely hated it. Sorry.
What’s the first gig you went to?
Andy: Like aside from the village fete, the first proper gig I went to was Gorillaz, On The Plastic Beach Tour in Manchester.
William: Reading Festival 2007. I tell people the first act I saw was Arcade Fire but at midday I was well and truly bopping to Paramore.
(neither Arthur or Kevin can remember, which says a lot).
What’s the first instrument you ever got hold of?
Kevin: I think it was the recorder. I once saw an Alto recorder and was amazed at the absolute unit.
William: I remember at school I was always a fan of percussion, usually just one drum at a time to keep a rhythm going. I didn’t start learning properly until Rock Band came out though, Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs is a true to life chart and I was obsessed.
Poppy: My voice? You kinda have to if you grow up in Wales.
Andy: I played piano from like aged 8-13.
What is your worst musical habit?
Andy: Shredding my fingers on my strings?
Will: I am too loud.
Poppy: Making up all my lyrics on the spot and then never changing them (or in some cases never remembering them /shush/).
What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?
Kevin: Wear earplugs.
Arthur: Stop trying to sound like your favourite bands and artists.
William: Learn your rudiments, play to a click, punch fascists.
Where do you discover new music?
Poppy: Gigs, or rather, stalking gig line ups then forgetting to go to them. Twitter too!
Andy: Spotify’s discover has found me some really good stuff. Back in the day I used to deep dive shoegaze forums but now Audiotree and Spotify suffice.
William: It’s corporate as fuck but Apple Music’s new music recommendations. They’ve brought me my current obsession, No Thank You, as well as some really sick records from Sacred Bones. Otherwise I tend to just follow labels like Alcopop!
Kevin: I’m not even sure anymore, I used to be very active on last.fm, but nowadays I’m just as likely to deep dive labels on Discogs and of course follow the rabbit down the YouTube hole.
Arthur: This website called Radioo is heavenly- you just pick a country and select a period of time and it will play you songs relating to your searches, whether it’s Romanian love ballads from the 50’s or Bolivian Punk in the 80’s- it’s truly a gem. The actual radio is also still fab- Charlie bones on NTS explodes his eclectic and crazy music taste every morning whilst babbling on about literally nothing as it’s so early, it’s therapeutic and simultaneously baffling. And I honestly order my friends to make me playlists of what they’re into atm- double win, you get to know your friends better and get new music!!
What’s your favourite venue?
William: To play? The Lexington, in case you luck out with their rider. To go to? Probably Roundhouse or POWER LUNCHES (RIP).
Kevin: Big fan of the Union Chapel.
Arthur: Passing Clouds was always fun, RIP and the Crypt at St Martin in the Fields.
Poppy: The Lexington/bring back Power Lunches.
Andy: RIP POWERLUNCHES. Erm I think if I’m playing probably, quite oddly, the Five Bells in New Cross/Peckham.
Who is your current favourite band/artist?
Kevin: Melrose, out of Victoria BC, make ‘slow rock music’, in the style of Duster. Slowing things down and taking a deep dive into your own head maybe isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m absolutely in love with it.
William: No Thank You. Philadelphia based emo indie project, they sound like all your favourite bands when you were a teenager but you can still listen to them with a straight face (at least when you’re not crying) There’s so much amazing stuff coming out from Philly and Lame-O Records at the moment but No Thank You really are cream of the crop, I’m dying for them to play EU so we can get on that tour.
Andy: If we’re talking like a few days recently I’d say Meat Wave, they played in LDN recently and absolutely smashed it live. Other than that in the past year or so I’ve been obsessed with all of Nick Rattigans work but mostly his solo stuff in the guise of Current Joys. Based out of L.A. I suppose its bedroom pop but the live show seems more reminiscent of post-punk gigs. Its just really emotive music and you can here the tension in Nick’s voice and playing. It’s anxious and emotive bedroom post-punk and I BLOODY LOVE IT.
Arthur: I’m obsessed with the saxophone atm and so bands like Morphine and The Lounge Lizards really give me joy. Also The Garden, Bo Gritz, 404 Guild and NAH are psychotic and wonderful. But my real obsession would be artists like Jorge Ben Jor, Hamid El Shaer, Yelp Fuzzo, Les Filles de Illighadad, and Tartit – all these artists are such a wonderful insight into their respective cultures.
What inspirations outside of music impact your songwriting?
Poppy: Thinking about how to make better representation. It both impacts how I want to shape my voice and lyrics – I want to not have to mimic the canon set by a bunch of men. At some point last year I got super into like identity based language theory – I’m fascinated notion of us all lacking language to sufficient to discuss ourselves because it was written by straight white cis men (or whoever was dominant in the region). That and the works of Walter Benjamin. And a lot of leftist meta-modern writing. (Sorry this is hideously lofty).
Andy: I take a lot of ideas and thoughts for lyrics from my studies and I like applying historical methodology to structural ideas around songwriting.
Will: You know noise cancelling headphones? How they take the sound of external sources, invert the signal, and play it back to cancel out the outside world? That’s kinda how I approach noise in flirting tracks. My anxiety presents itself as a kinda blanket of noise, so in making my own field of noise with the way I drum sorta allows me, and hopefully others, to tune out the world.
Arthur: Rhythm of Movement.
Kevin: Have been really getting into architectural acoustics recently, and I’ve been trying to incorporate spatial elements to the music as well as just sound. The setting in which your music is played can have as much impact as the piece itself – one of my favourite live music experiences was a performance of an Eliane Radigue piece deep underground in a cave.
What track of yours best represents your sound?
William: Peppermint! It’s the single for a reason. But we’re always changing, and honestly the next EP or release will probably sound quite different to the one coming out this year.
Arthur: In the Dark- it has the best amalgamation of music tastes and I think it reflects the direction I’m most excited about us heading in.
Poppy: EP has two halves for a reason. That’s all I’m saying.
Andy: I say this conscious that no one will agree with me but I think YUM, the title track of our new EP. I think a representative flirting. track is long and sprawling, where you can get lost in the lyrics and swooning guitars. Yum is just perfect for that.
What’s next for you?
Kevin: New pedals that haven’t been marinated in beer.
Rest of band: We’ll be playing Truck festival on the 21st – catch us at 2pm on the main stage. Then an EP in the very near future!
Photo: Jessie Morgan.