Scarborough band The Feens round off successful summer with new single
A few months ago Perrie Bunton, drummer in The Feens, was scrolling through Twitter when he saw someone had tagged the band in a Radio X post.
That is how he found their single What Are You Dreaming had been played on national radio.
“It’s still not really sunk in.” he says.
The single was released today on Spotify and Apple Music, rounding off an incredible summer for the Scarborough band.
Not only did it impress John Kennedy at Radio X, making its way onto the station’s evening playlist this week, it has also been played by Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart on BBC Radio One - both gatekeepers of emerging talent.
Formed in late 2016, the band is made up of vocalists Freddie Schumuck, 21, and Adam Lodge, 25 (also on guitars), drummer Perrie Bunton and lead guitarist Sam Dowling, 27.
In just over two years the band have gone from strength to strength clocking up plays on Soccer AM in 2018, a support slot for Inhaler in Leeds earlier this year and their first major festival appearance at Y Not? Festival in Derbyshire last month.
Despite this early success, there are no overinflated egos around the table as I sit with them in Freddie’s parent’s garden - home to the rehearsal space they built in the garage.
“We try and keep each other grounded,” says Sam, “When we got the radio plays we could have been popping champagne and patting ourselves on the back but we just say the highs don’t make you a big deal anymore than lulls make you rubbish.”
That being said, the group have a steely determination and it’s clear they’re serious in their ambitions.
“We’ve never seen it as a given. It’s a hard industry to break but we’ve put too much into it to stop now.” says Perrie.
Freddie adds: “We’ve never been one to shy away from saying we want to make it.”
There are bands all over the country playing in garages who won’t ever get their single played on national radio, though, so what makes The Feens different?
“You’ve got to have good songs,” says Freddie, “but you’ve got to know how to operate and do social media and everything else to create interest.
“I know how to do it through going to see loads and loads of little bands.
“You take inspiration from small bands not the big ones, then it seems achievable.”
Their music is full of anthemic lyrics reminiscent of britpop tempered by rhythmic 1960s-esque melodies.
It caught the attention of Jericho Keys at BBC Introducing North Yorkshire who got them in for a live session and has, says Freddie, been “a champion for us.”
Jericho was watching Soccer AM when the band’s single was played.
“I was jumping around like Leeds United had scored, I was going mad,” he told me on the phone.
Jericho explained that he receives a lot of new music through the Introducing platform and if he thinks a track has “a little bit extra” he’ll send it to Radio One and 6 Music.
“It’s got to be a really good song - I’m putting my name in it.
“For me they’ve got great melodies and the choruses are really catchy and that drew me in.
“The music’s fantastic, they look the part, and they’re really nice lads which goes a long way and is really underrated by some bands.
“There’s no arrogance or self-entitlement, they’re very grateful which is brilliant. I’m proud of them.”
The band recorded the new single at Sugarhouse Music in St Helens where producers Andy and Lee helped them to develop the sound over four nine hour recording days.
Adam, who writes the music with Freddie, says: “They know how you need to sound, some people might be narrow minded but we’ve been quite open.
“Increasingly we think a lot more about our songs and their structure. It’s a craft and we’re getting better at it.
“What you’re trying to do all the time is push yourself as a songwriter and change it up.”
Playing at Derbyshire for Y Not? Festival, on the same bill as bands they’ve grown up listening to, was another milestone for the group.
Speaking to Freddie after the set he described it as “an unbelievable experience for all of us.
“It’s the stuff we’ve been dreaming of since we started the band.”
“It’s a bit surreal really. I’ve grown up worshipping people like Miles Kane so to be on the same bill as him was amazing.”
The band have still got day jobs but continue to practise two or three times a week and want to play in as many cities as they can, but are still taking everything step by step.
“If we played in London there’d be nobody there. Everything is baby steps or it would shatter your confidence,” Perrie says, “It would just be a long, silent drive home.”
Freddie adds: “The fact we haven’t played these major cities and we’ve still been quite successful is really encouraging.”
An album will come eventually but for now they’re putting out singles to try and build interest and create buzz in what is an overcrowded market.
Perrie describes their current strategy as “play more, record more.”
It’s clear the foursome show no signs of slowing down in their quest to become signed artists.
Sam puts it simply, saying: “At the heart of it we enjoy it, we have a passion, and there’s no better feeling than playing your tunes on stage.”
Listen to the new single on Spotify here.