Tipped as ones to watch, Flyte are set to support Neil Young as part of British Summertime Hyde Park festival. Amie Mulderrig speaks to lead singer Will Taylor about Evelyn Waugh, English despair and impersonating journalists.
Who are Flyte?
Flyte is Will Taylor (me), I’m the singer and guitar player, Nick Hill is the bassist, Sam Berridge is on the guitar and keys and John Supran is on the drums. We all sing.
Whereabouts are you based?
How did you all meet?
We grew up together. I’m not going to say where though. Because I like to keep factual things down to a minimum (chuckles).
What inspired the name Flyte?
It was a book I was reading at the time, I really love Evelyn Waugh in general, and I had a fixation on Sebastian Flyte from Brideshead Revisited. He’s this flawed English character that burns so brightly, but then for no reason at all, he’s turning in on himself. You know when you’ve got this friend at school, or at any point in life and you think – they’re an amazing force of nature, they’re charming, they’re talented, one of those people who you think they’re going to do something incredible. But for some reason it all comes apart, they fall apart and implode. I really like that sort of character, that English despair.
Is that what you’re hoping to bring to the music scene, English despair?
(Laughs) It’s inherently there in literature and music already, it’s a popular trait, that melancholy retrograde. What’s the best way of articulating it? I’m not really sure. I suppose the name is reflective of what we were reading at the time.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s varied, tricky for people to pin down. I would explain that by our process, we’re all songwriters, all the emphasis is on the song. A huge amount of effort is put into the writing and the arranging is there afterwards. When we’re working out the music we try not to listen to anything, as you end up inadvertently using bits. We really try to avoid referencing any other music. We spent our whole lives growing up absorbing music, and now the trick is to forget all of that and serve the song, rather than thinking about sound or style.
Do you think there’s greater pressure on you if you can’t be easily defined, if you’re that eclectic?
It’s difficult, it can hold you back at times. People really want to define you in the industry.
Who’s the best looking member of the band?
We settle that in a battle of wits and base any attraction anyone might have on a more well-rounded personality. So obviously me.
Who takes the longest to get ready before a gig?
Nick. Because he’s a ponce.
When did you decide to become a musician?
I always loved writing, so for years I would write and rewrite songs. I remember in particular creating my own lyrics for a Gordon Lightfoot song. I was about eight.
Did your home environment influence your songwriting abilities?
My parents are both English teachers, so there was a lot of theatre and literature around, lots of Shakespeare, so I was really drawn to words. Groove and dance and soul, that came a lot later on in adolescence, when I was trying to get groups together and trying to get laid. The fundamental thing for me though was always literature.
You’re playing British Summertime Hyde Park, how did that come about?
I think the promoters were fans and they asked if we wanted to jump on the bill. We’re the first on, but it’s great to be alongside people like Neil Young, The Phosphorescent. I’m going to see if I can hang out with Neil backstage. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve. I might pretend I’m a journalist, perhaps for the East London Guardian Series.
Then what will I do?
You can be in the band. Perform on the day. I’ll send over some chord sheets. How’s your singing?
British Summertime Hyde Park is from July 3 until July 13.
Win tickets to British Summertime Hyde Park, in this week's (June 12, 2014) edition of the Guardian series.