Interview: A Chat with Barnaby and Tom from Friends of Friends

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Goldie band Friends of Friends have just dropped a video for their track ‘Human’ off their debut EP Memory Motel.  The EP (as well as the track ‘Human’) is chock full of feels and super strong, emotive lyrics, which they’ve managed to bottle and then release in their lounge-room — as you’ll see in their film clip.  I managed to catch up with two of the band members, Barnaby and Tom, this week ahead of the release (and I think the third member, Barry has learnt the valuable lesson of making sure to be present at interviews).  We discussed the new clip, the depth of their lyrics and Snapchat stalking.

Hey mate, cheers for having a chat with me this morning!  Firstly, nice work on your EP Memory Motel.  What has the experience been like for you guys putting this thing together and then getting it out there?  Is it an intense process?

Tom: Yeah it is hey!  I’ve got Barnaby with me as well.

Barnaby: Hey Kate!

Hey man!

Tom: Yeah it has been hey, it’s been a long time…because it’s our first release, even sort of conceptually coming up with how we want it to sound took a really long time. So that was probably the biggest thing – there were so many songs that we kind of scrapped and changed a lot of stuff so it was a bit of a relief and a bit of, like, a point that we can reference now for the future.  But it’s been good though!

For sure!  And you’re about to release a ‘live’ video for your single ‘Human’.  Can you tell us what we can look forward to in this clip? 

Barnaby: It kind of has a little bit of a homely feeling hey!  Literally in our lounge-room!  But yeah it’s pretty straightforward.

Tom: We kind of set up something fun and we sort of probably got a little bit too into the song and I guess a lot of emotion comes through, some of it accidentally. But yeah just like a fun moment, we had a friend come over and film the whole thing, and she’s amazing.  She does a really cool, sort of edit and um, sort of revealed probably, a lot of…you know…what we’re going to look like live but more just like, I think a lot of the emotional aspects of the tune’s come through.  Which we didn’t really try to do but yeah, we sort of got real into it.

*check out the video here*

Well, I was going to say, you guys have got very strong lyrics in your songs, especially, in your song, ‘Stay’.  Who is your chief songwriter?

Tom: Barnaby.

Barnaby & Tom: Yeah (laughs)

Barnaby, do you find it nerve-wracking letting people in that deep, like putting yourself out there in that way?

Barnaby:  I do.  I think for a long time I would sort of struggle with trying to make something that felt good and I found that the only way that I could sort of making something that felt authentic was to really dig deep.  I’ve got a bit of a unique kind of life story and I guess I can’t really do anything else.  All I can do is just write from my experience.  And it can be a bit dark and it can be kind of tragic, but I feel fine.  I try to find the beauty in that as well.  Um but it’s definitely nerve-wracking.

I’ve gotta say, hearing what you just said with the dark but still, like, beautiful place I guess, my favourite track off this EP would have to be ‘Reverie’; even though I had to Google the meaning of the word.  But I mean, I know a little bit of French so I thought, like, ‘rêve’ means dream…

Barnaby: Yeah, I definitely used a thesaurus for that word (laughs).

(Laughs) But yeah wow it’s quite a lovely poetic word that you’ve placed in this super dark situation.  I feel like you’ve ‘Stanned’ it.  Like how Eminem took that happy, pretty Dido song, ‘Thank You’, and gave it such a different feeling.

Barnaby & Tom: Right. Yep, yeah.

Even though I have absolutely no experience in the field, you’ve got to let me direct the video clip for it.

Barnaby & Tom: (Laugh) Yeah sick.

I’ve got such a vivid um I guess reverie or vision for it.  Like an old-school horror movie taking place at the ‘Memory Motel’. 

Barnaby & Tom:  Yes! (Laughs) That’d be rad!  Yeah!

(Laughs) Or I dunno you could hire a professional.  Not sure what my question is here, I think I’m interviewing myself at this point.  Do you guys have plans to release ‘Reverie’ as a single at all?

Barnaby: Well I mean it’s on the EP so we’ll probably just let it hang out.  I mean once we get going and everything and we put out a debut album it will definitely be on there. But at this point I dunno if we’ll put it out again as like a sneaky single or…

Tom: Or maybe even do another little live video and try and capture the emotion of the song as well.

Barnaby: Yeah.

OK, cool, so kind of like what you’ve done with ‘Human’ but maybe not in your lounge-room.  You’ve gotta get some old motel, ‘Memory Motel’.

Tom:  Yes!  (Laughs) Yeah, that’d be sick.

Now Barnaby probably I guess one for you again.  Basically, I was thinking with the lyrics in, ‘Stay’, there’s one line reads, “’Cause I’ve been staring at my phone, oh why can’t you just stay?”. But I feel like this is nothing out of the ordinary these days.  Like everyone stares at their phones all day long.  So I’ve actually fixed the lyric for you, if you’re open to feedback? 

Barnaby: (Laughs) Yep.

So if you want to target the younger market, I think the line should say, “I stalk you through Snapchat on my phone, why can’t you just stay?”  Or something like that.

Barnaby:  (Laughs) Oh yeeeess! That’s way better (laughs)!

Cause they’ve got that stalking function on there now.

Barnaby:  Yeah it’s nuts!

Tom:  Yeah!  It’s weird, aye!

Barnaby:  So weird!

Tom:  Like where you can view people on the map?


Tom: Yeah that’s creepy as!  It’s too much

Alright I’ve revealed too much about myself.  Awesome.

Tom & Barnaby: (Laughs).

God dammit. 

Are the songs about someone in particular and if so do they know the songs are about them/have they heard them? 

Barnaby:  Yeah.  I mean, a lot of the lyrics can sort of be amalgamations of lots of different things.  For instance in ‘Stay’, it was about my girlfriend at the time but it’s also a little bit about my mum who had cancer.  So it’s kind of like this cross-section of feelings.  But I mean obviously, it’s like relationship experience and sort of feeling that.

Is your mum ok now?

Barnaby:  Oh yeah she’s sick.  Oh sick in a good way.

She’s like ‘Thorpey sick’, she’s “fully sick” now.

Barnaby:  Yeah she’s chilling, she’s just having a good time.

Good to hear.  So maybe some happy ones on the next EP then (laughs)?

Barnaby:  (Laughs) Oh yeah definitely need some.

Tom: Yeah!

Can we expect a tour with this EP guys?

Tom:  Oh definitely, probably closer/towards the end of the year.  Um, we’re still just sorting out a couple of things.  But we wanted to come out with a bang so we’ll definitely do some big fun shows.


1.  To Tom:  Ok, so out of the three bandmates, who would be most likely to survive a ‘Cast Away’ type situation and why? 
Tom:  Umm.  Yeah me, because I love camping most I think.  The boys are hermits!
Barnaby: (Laughs)
Tom:  I’m always outside adventuring!
Alright well I put this to you then, who would be the Wilson?
Tom: Barry!  (Both laugh)
Barnaby:  Barry is definitely Wilson (both laugh). 
Tom:  Yeah yep!
Barry this is what happens when you’re absent. You get chumped. 

2.       To Barnaby:  What’s the most embarrassing song on your phone?
Barnaby:  Oooh.  Dear lord.  I mean I’ve got some rippers from Whitney Houston hangin’ out. 
Barnaby:  But hey if you scroll through voice memos it’s like all those awkward 16-year-old emo songs. 
In your voice memos?!
Barnaby:  Yeah like, you know how you record the stuff… Oh I dunno, that’s what I use to write stuff.  I don’t play them.
Oooh, so they’re your ones?  I thought you’re here like covering ‘Simple Plan’ or something in your voice memos. 
Tom:  Oh my God, that would’ve been amazing.
Barnaby:  That would’ve been sick. 
(Laughs) I’m glad that you’re not. 

3.       To Tom:  Do you guys have a song you can cover the absolute shit out of?
Tom:  Yes.  ‘Black Smoke Rising’ by Greta Van Fleet.
Barnaby:  (Laughs) Yes!
Tom:  Have you heard that though?
I dunno, I don’t think so.  Is it famous?
Tom:  Oh.  You have to listen to it.
Barnaby:  You have to.
Tom:  We’ll send you a little…
Barnaby:  Compilation video
Tom:  Compilation.  They’re like these young dudes who are between 18 and 23 and sound identical to Zeppelin.  And they are blowing up right now.  There’s this one ripper song.
Barnaby:  (Laughs).
Tom:  The kid’s vocals on it are insane.  And Barnaby, somehow, I dunno how you do it…
Barnaby:  Oh no.
Tom:  Smashes it as well.  Whenever we’re driving, it’s our driving tune and we’ve started learning so hopefully we can sneak it into our sound-check or something.
Barnaby:  (Laughs) Yeah.
Tom:  ‘Black Smoke Rising’ by Greta Van Fleet.
Kate:  Awesome looking forward to that. 

4.       To both, beginning with Tom:  What’s the best pick up line you’ve ever used or maybe had used on you?
Barnaby:  I mean I just have to say, “Hey my name’s Barnaby”, and it’s already the longest conversation starter ever!  (Laughs).
Oh shit.  The girls just line up.
Barnaby:  Yeah or people get angry. 
Kate:  So is that Tom’s pick up line, he walks up and says he’s Barnaby?
Barnaby:  Well I reckon it would work. 
Tom:  Um.  Oh man.  Barry…
Barnaby:  Oh he’s the chief to answer this.
Tom:  I don’t actually think I’ve ever had to use a...
Barnaby:  Oooh (laughs).  He just has to show his face.
Tom:  Nah nah.  I don’t think I’ve like, attempted in that way to be honest. 
Oh really?  You go the genuine attempt?
Tom:  Yep.  Yeah, usually.  (Laughs) nah (laughs). 
Barnaby:  Um can we get Barry to answer this?
Yeah alright!  Get Barry to email me his response.
Tom:  Yeah.  He’s definitely that kind of…
Barnaby:  He’s the promiscuous one. 
Barnaby & Tom: (Laughs)
Oh shit.  Alright.  I’m already seeing a Nelly Furtado gif for this. 

Tom:  Oh that’s the best.  Definitely.

*From the email – apparently he had a few winners but the favourite was from the movie ‘Hall Pass’ that reads, “You must be from Ireland, because when I look at you, my penis is Dublin”.

5.    For both, beginning with Tom:  What Simpson’s quote do you use the most?
Tom:  Oh… Simpsons quote….D’oh!
Barnaby:  Yeah you actually do though!
Really?  He actually says, “D’oh!”
Barnaby:  He does!
Tom:  I’m quite clumsy anyway… so.  I’m always punched and kicked or tripping over or something like that, aye.
How often do you get punched and kicked?
Barnaby:  I think you’ll find he does it to himself (laughs).
Tom:  Self-inflicted from my clumsiness.

What about you Barnaby?
Barnaby:  Oh I’m just… I reckon Bart, just writing lines the whole time.
Always in detention?
Barnaby:  Always (laughs).
God dammit Barnaby.

6.        What are you bingeing on Netflix ATM?
Tom:  Oooh right now…
Barnaby:  I love a bit of Chef’s Table.
Tom:  I’m watching How I Met Your Mother.
Barnaby:  Well it just finished but it wasn't on Netflix, but [The] Handmaid’s Tale.  Frothin’.  Yeah, frothin’ hard.
I haven’t seen it but I’ve heard it’s good. 
Barnaby:  Yeah it’s kind of scary but sick.
Tom:  I almost want to go back and watch Black Mirror again.
Oh, Black Mirror’s alright?
Tom:  Yeah did you ever get into it?
Nah, I haven’t seen it.
Barnaby:  Always a good time
Tom:  You should watch it.

Also looking forward to seeing the video for ‘Human’!  Make sure you flick it to me!
Barnaby:  Yep.  Will do!  Thanks for the call!  Appreciate it!

Written by Kate Carnell (@Kate_Carnell)

You can stream Memory Motel below: