Fresh from playing the main stage at The Isle of Wight Festival, rising indie stars Wild Front headline the rather more intimate Follow The Sun Festival.
Put on by CloseUp Promotions, it features a top-flight bill of up-and-coming acts including Marsicans, Lauran Hibberd, Hows Harry, Bel Esprit, Me and The Moon, Sad Palace & Tom Millichamp.
The Guide caught up with Wild Front’s drummer Josh Betteridge, who was still buzzing about playing on the island.
‘We all said it was the best show we’ve done, in terms of the size and the opportunity. We opened up the main stage on the Saturday, and there were lots of people there, which was great.’
This four-piece are a real band of brothers – Josh and guitarist Joe Connell knew each other practically from birth as their families were friends.
‘We used to have these jam sessions when we were little playing classic rock songs, we’ve still got the video of us playing gigs to our parents. The other three all met at college, and Joe introduced them to me.
‘Jack [Williams], our singer was looking to start an acoustic folk project, and it went from there. That was about eight years ago. We did that for probably five years, but we were finding that stuff was getting a bit heavier so we couldn’t put it into his sets, and that’s how Wild Front started, it was somewhere we could put that that stuff. Hopefully we made the right choice!’
Over the past couple of years the band, from Southampton, has put out a steady stream of self-produced material.
‘We’ve put out about 10 singles and an EP, the idea is that with Spotify and streaming, people consume music differently now, and once you put new music out they’re like, right, what’s next? And it’s so easy to put music out, we thought, instead of waiting for six months, let’s get it out as quickly as we can. We’re writing all the time, so as soon as we’ve got something we think is worth putting out, we do.
Up until now they’ve recorded in Joe’s home studio, but for their last single Simmer Down, they turned to outside help for the first time.
’Joe’s still co-producing, but we’re working with a guy called Fred Cox. We wanted another person involved and having that extra input into the songs. Before this it was very DIY.
‘In terms of music, we’re quite clear with what we want, even when we’re working with someone else, we’re quite clear in how we want it to sound. And doing it yourself, you do save a lot of money, and it was nice to have control of it.
‘Because wanted to put out a track every month, doing it ourselves, we could. Having Joe as a producer, it worked.’
Simmer Down is actually one of the band’s older songs, but they only recently laid it down.
‘It was in the first batch of songs we wrote. For whatever reason, it sat for a while, not because weren’t happy with it, but more because weren’t sure where to go with it.
‘Because a lot of the songs have come directly from us and we’ve produced them all, we didn’t know what to do with it, but having Fred come on board, he did stuff we wouldn’t have thought of and it was: “Ah, that sounds great!’
The band, completed by bassist Mike Flowers, is now starting to make waves beyond Hampshire.
‘We’ve built like a nice following in the south – Jack went to uni in Brighton, so we’ve got a good following there, but we want to take it everywhere it can go, and we’re going out of our comfort zone now. But it’s so much fun taking our music out there.’
have they had any of the classic one-man-and-his-dog gigs?
‘We’ve had a fair few, but we’ve not done the UK tours until we’ve felt there would be a few people there. Even when we went to Ireland we met people who told us they’d driven for an hour to see us, which was a surprise. But there’s been shows where you’d turn up and there’s be no-one there.
FOLLOW THE SUN
Edge of The Wedge, Southsea
Saturday, July 7