We chatted with lead singer Charlie Ferriday in early January as part of our Band of the Month feature on his band Narrow Plains. We discussed guilty pleasure music, family support, and how their music has changed. Check it out below!
What would we find on your iTunes, any guilty pleasures?
As you’d expect, there’s a lot of folky rock – great artists and band like Ben Howard, Bon Iver, Daughter – but there’s also a really wide mix of sounds from new punk/rock (Jimmy Eat World, Green Day, Blink-182) to old soul classics. I’m going to see the 1975 play in London soon so there’s a lot of their stuff. I suppose my guilty pleasures are listening to some fantastic oldies like Fleetwood Mac and Bon Jovi. Also mmmbop is still one of the finest songs ever written!
How did you realize music was what you wanted to pursue?
We have all always loved playing to live audiences. Stu and I were in various bands together from about 13 onwards. Rog also played in a lot of bands at school. When I first went up to university, I couldn’t find people with similar musical tastes so I started composing my own songs and playing as a singer/songwriter. I played as often as I could at open mics and at local clubs and places like that but I always enjoyed it more when Stu and I played together as a two-piece. I had already realized that I was a bit addicted to music. When we left Uni, we all three got together to record the EP a couple of years ago and really enjoyed playing together so I guess that was the really key starting point.
Each of you started out in bands in high school. Were your families supportive of your ideas to go into music?
My parents and sister have always supported me and got involved with the band – we are even recording most of the album at my parents’ home. My Dad is our Manager and my Mum is an Accountant so she does all our books and tax and stuff. Stu and Rog’s parents have also always been right behind us and have come to some of our gigs. We recorded the EP at their Grandma’s house.
What kind of music did you focus on in high school? What were some of your favourite covers?
We played a lot of punk and rock covers. I guess my all-time favourites were things like Jimmy eat world songs or we loved played save tonight by eagle eye cherry.
You mentioned in earlier questions that you don’t use much technology or electronic sounds in your music. Do you think that sets your music apart from a lot of the current artists that do use those sounds? How?
We really believe in keeping our music simple and genuine. We try to keep overdubbing, fancy electronic sounds and technology to a minimum. Music for us is about just getting up there and playing so we try to play live as often as possible. I feel our songs reflect this as they are simple and can always be played live almost exactly as they were recorded. That doesn’t mean though that we don’t respect people who use those techniques. It’s just a different way of making music. in the future, we may develop our sound as we continue to evolve.
How has your style changed since your earlier endeavours?
Completely! As you get more confident, you try to find your own style and sound. Our playing is tighter and more of a unit. The songs that we are writing together today are more rounded and thought through. I think they flow better than our earlier attempts.
Where are some of the places you’d most like to see Narrow Plains play (either specific gigs or location-wise)?
Of course, our ultimate pipe dream is that we would love to do a world tour and meet some of the people who have been following us on social media, like Twitter. Perhaps, more realistically, we would love to play more festivals in the short-term.
How do you think social media like Twitter and Facebook has aided in the recognition of unsigned bands like Narrow Plains?
Massively! As an unsigned band, there is no way that we could have reached such a wide audience without them. A lot of our followers have discovered us through Twitter and other social media. We are great believers in social media as a means of communicating with people who may be interested in our music. They allow for two-way conversations so you really get to know what people are really thinking and pick up on their opinions and ideas.
You mentioned recording your first full length during this winter. How is that going?
We are still in the early stages but have a lot more new songs written that we are eager to get out. We hope everyone likes the new stuff!
If you weren’t in a music-related position, what would you be doing instead?
We are already all working full-time as the band does not yet pay for itself. I work in documentaries production, Stu works in events management and Rog is in environmental consultancy. We all live and work in or near London so our jobs take up a huge part of our lives. We always get together at least once during the week to rehearse and at week-ends we are either gigging or working on new songs and videos.
Are there any final thoughts you’d like to say to your fans?
Thank you everyone who is downloading and enjoying the music. We hear a lot of amazing things and it’s fantastic to hear! As an unsigned band, having an active fanbase is extremely important. Hopefully we can bring you some new music in the near future!