We had the pleasure of sitting down with the awesome First Time Flyers at The Long Road festival last weekend. Check it out as we talk about their sound, the scene and their plans for the future!
You guys were in individual projects for a while, what made you want to get together to form this project?
Poppy: Simon Cowell!
Tim: As you say, all solo, but just through the nature of our work, we’ve all written together, performed together, I’ve produced stuff for the ladies and a track or so for Jake. We’ve also played in Jake’s band. So between all of that we’ve known each other and of each other for so many years. It was actually Jake who suggested it to me. That we should do it as a four.
Jake: He was reluctant, not gonna lie!
Tim: He just wanted to share fuel costs! But I said what could go wrong starting a band?
Vicki: And then we got involved!
Jake: I think when the idea came about we always wanted it to be very harmony-heavy. There’s something about two guys and two girls that’s so rich when you get that vocal blend together.
Vicki: And now we are a four and we are no longer individuals!
And just how did four people from the UK come together to form a country-inspired band?
Vicki: I think country is a guilty pleasure of a lot of people. They just don’t want to admit it.
Jake: I also just don’t think they know that they’re listening to country!
Poppy: Country is storytelling and instruments and great singing. I think we’ve all loved country music as individuals and now we’re doing this. I wouldn’t say we’re strictly country, we write what feels good and sing what feels good. But we’re hugely influenced by it.
Tim: It’s always the harmonies that make it come back round to that.
Poppy: And the stories in the songs. We always pull that from personal experience and that’s such a country-heavy thing as well.
A couple of you have worked in the US before; are there any comparisons you can make between the scene there and over here?
Jake: I did a lot of writing in Nashville. It was great fun. You learn so much because they’re just so quick! You can’t hang about when you’re writing with the Americans!
Tim: For me, the stuff I did in America was really bucket list stuff. I was very fortunate at the time to do a couple of shows at the Oprey and the Ryman. It’s mad. It almost feels like a past life it’s so surreal.
But the performing side of stuff doesn’t feel any different. I think there’s just a special feeling when an American audience embrace you. They can be quite territorial about country music.
Poppy: It’s so embedded in their culture to like country music so in a way it’s like, you have so many people who love it, are they gonna get into it.
Tim: I think we’d have fun out there! We will have fun out there.
Poppy: We should and we would!
What’s it like to be a part of this boom of country music in the UK?
Vicki: Yeah, it’s wonderful! I’ll play any festival.
Poppy: You [Vicki] have always said a lovely thing in that you think there’s not many fans here and then you watch someone like Lady A.
Vicki: Yeah, basically, like we were saying earlier that country is taking off but people are scared to admit it. Then you go to these festivals and you’re like ‘where have you been hiding?! Where do you live the other times of the year?’. You just don’t hear of these people. And when you do headline gigs or whatever, we’re very fortunate that we have people who come out and support us and will follow us round, but then there’s all these other people who will go to C2C and the Long Road and there’s SO many more people into it.
Tim: How do we make them regulars!
Poppy: And that’s the cool thing about being in the scene. I think a lot of people think there’s a ceiling in the UK scene but it’s constantly bigger and bigger and bigger.
And obviously you’ve put out a handful of singles now, is it building towards a larger release?
Poppy: We have so many goals! With us, it’s always building to something!
Tim: Honestly, I think we’re quite flexible with what we’re doing, because we’re not tied to a label or anything. Because we worked together really hard before we actually launched in January, we have such a backlog of songs we can put out in any order depending on what we’re aiming for. It’s nice to have that freedom to do stuff. We’re happy to go with anything.
Poppy: And we’re just getting started really!
Is the plan to stay as an independent artist for now?
Tim: I think the beauty of what we do is… it’s this, it’s the live stuff. We love playing in front of people. We love collaborative stuff that isn’t just us sat in a bedroom recording. Yes, you have to do that sometimes, for monetary reasons usually, but because we are so flexible we are open to meeting people. I think those sorts of things happen when you aren’t looking for them. It’ll happen when you least expect it. If the right thing comes along absolutely, we’re ready for it.
And you guys are on tour this month, is this the first time you’ve toured together as a band?
Jake: As a band, yeah.
Poppy: Yeah, well this is our eighth gig as a band! And we have five more. We’re hitting big number 10 this weekend, and then that tour will rack us up to gig 16.
Vicki: That’s actually ridiculous when you say it out loud!
Poppy: This feels like a mini-tour though as we’re together all weekend. We’re so excited.
Tim: We also have a tendency to go away on week trips to write, so they always feel like mini-tours too. We know we vaguely get alone.
And what was it like playing Hyde Park?
Tim: We found out pretty late on, as well. It wasn’t much. They do historically leave it quite late sometimes! But we’re glad it was us, for sure. That was a special day!
Do you have an goals you want to hit in the next say five years?
Tim: Talk him through the box, girls.
Vicki: You tell him about your box Poppy!
Poppy: I ordered us a box saying ‘The Adventures of First Time Flyers’ and I got us loads of bits of card and we wrote down what we wanted, and a little reward inside it, and we filmed it. Actually, the first one we opened was BST. And that was a nice little video that went out, it felt like a real moment for us.
We have so many goals. Sell out this tour would be the immediate one. Collaborate with artists, play big festivals, play a support tour would all be absolutely awesome.
Tim: There’s a nice one of playing ‘that’ gig. Where we feel like it’s the pinnacle kinda thing. And that could be today. We don’t know.
Poppy: We have so many big goals, and I think that’s why we’ve had such an exciting year so far. And why it’s not going to slow down.
Jake: We are four very driven people. I think that sort of eggs us on a bit. It’s so much fun. I didn’t have to spend eight hours in a car going to a festival last weekend by myself! It was awesome!