Interview: Flight Brigade

They’ve been heralded the “ones to watch in 2016”. Impact Music sat down with lead singer Ollie Baines, bassist Tom Clay, violinist Dorry Macaulay and guitarist Thomas Pink in Nottingham’s finest noodle venue, Wok & Go, to find out what makes Flight Brigade so special. 

So welcome to Nottingham! How’s the tour been so far?

Dorry: Really good, this is our last two days today.

Have you had any favourite venues?

Tom C: The one in Swansea was very good-
Ollie: Sin city.
Tom C: The sound system was very good.
Tom P: Awesome venue.
Tom C: And the stage was very massive.
Tom P: There’s a cheery welsh man named Sam-
Tom C: Wonderful welsh gentleman doing sounds, he was very good, so that was a lot of fun, actually both the welsh shows were a lot of fun

That’s cool, I’ve never even been to Wales.

Ollie: You should go!

So the new EPs out, how did you find the creative process when there’s such a big group of you?

Tom P: Well, Ollie is the main songwriter for the band and he’ll come up with a song and bring it to the group and then as a band we’ll sort of work on the arrangement and change parts of the song, it just happens it often comes together quite quickly, until its something we’re all happy with.

Do you think that’s anything to do with you all knowing each other from when you were young, that it just flows so easily?

Tom P: Yeah, we all get on very well and erm, creatively we’re all sort of on the same level
Tom C: There’s no conflict in the band which helps
Tom P: Yeah, were all, yeah, of a 
Tom C: Similar ilk when it comes to music, what we like and what we look for in music.
Ollie: And in noodles as well,
Tom P: And in noodles yeah definitely. I do love wok & go, I can’t lie.
Ollie: Its amazing. 
NB: Its the first time I’ve ever been to wok n go, they’re all over the country

Its a slippery slope, you will go all the time from now on

Ollie: Yeah I will

So, I read that, emerging indie bands said that your sound was ‘instantly recognisable’. Did that affect your thinking when considering new songs like ‘When We Were Young’, as that’s a bit more poppy that than the others ones I’d say?

Tom C: Yep. Erm, I think it just happens pretty naturally to be honest, its not a lot of forethought of what people want to hear it just sort of happens.
Dorry: We play around with it and if we like it it goes on (laughs)
Tom C: You’ve got to be careful not to write for other people or it becomes a bit convoluted doesn’t it? A bit fake.
Tom P: It’s getting the live shows right, if we feel like there’s a gap in the live shows for a certain tempo of song or certain feel of a song, so then, we’ll look in Ollie’s rich catalogue of material… and think, that would fit pretty well lets try putting that in there and that’s often the way it happens.

“I do love wok & go, I can’t lie”

So you’ve been compared to an early Arcade fire, who are your musical influences?

Dorry: We like them alot.
Ollie: Yeah they definitely are, and heavy music. So I’ve grown up listening to stuff like, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, sort of like classic songwriters really but there’s also like, erm… the other guys in the band are quite into their rock. Dorry’s’ classically trained, so it’s quite a melting pot really and I think erm for us, what we really like to do is play songs that have a lot of energy especially going towards the kind of synthier, rockier style but that are also well written and crafted songs as well

So the new albums supposed to be out in 2016? I read an interview that it’s a bit of a touchy subject. How’s it going?


Tom C: Touchy’s not the right word
Ollie: Its actually going really well and…
Tom P: No its not!
NB: Liar!
Dorry: They’re just being touchy
Ollie: …. we’ll have seven songs finished either by the end of the year or by the end of January and then we’ll just go in and record the remaining four or so, by the end of January, seven of them will be mixed and finished.
Tom C: Its just an ongoing process, its something that can take a long time and I guess we’ve evolved and changed as a band as well over the period of time and we’ve wanted to concentrate a lot more on how we sound live so we’ve been trying to capture that, which takes a little bit more time

So what can we expect from this album?

Ollie: It’s going to be very long.
Tom C: Eleven very good songs…. I hope

I really liked the cover of Florence’s ‘Queen Of Peace’, are you going to be providing any more vocals (turns to Ollie) not that yours are bad! I just really liked it, the girls singing…

Dorry: oh yay!

….Is that going to be happening on the new album?

Dorry: Oh yeah I think the girls are gunna be all over it.
Ollie: They already are

Yeah I read that ‘Graduation Day’ was about the charity Spear, are you involved with them or was it just an inspiration from them?

Ollie: I heard a story from a girl that worked at Spear so, that’s what the song was written about. You’ve heard of spear have you?

No, only when I had a look. I’ve not tried to get a job yet!

Ollie: I just thought, it was quite a moving story really because in Spear they help young people get back to work but there was one kid who graduated but he didn’t want to go to the graduation because his parents weren’t alive anymore, but the rest of the group were like “you’ve gotta come, you’ve gotta come’ it means a lot to us that you’re there as well.” so they in affect, became, his family on what was, you know, quite a significant day for him. I just like the story and graduating is something lots of people experience so that’s what that’s about.

So last year you had loads of festival dates. Which was your favourite?

Dorry: My favourite was Glastonbury. we stayed for the whole time because we had shows over that whole time and er, so we go the whole experience
Tom P: Walking for miles and miles
Dorry: We did a lot of walking – there was a lot of walking-
NB: It’s so massive!
Ollie: I think my favourite actually was Rambsottom Festival which is in bury, in Greater Manchester, which is where we’re going to be tomorrow as well. it was just a massive crowd and erm, big tent, big stage, and just an amazing amazing-
Dorry: Vibe.
Ollie: I think it was the last festival we did of the whole summer but I think that’s been my favourite gig that I’ve ever played.
Tom C: Bestival was a lot of fun as well, nice big stage, big crowd, the sun was shining

Do you have any lined up for next year?

Ollie: We’re starting to get some come in actually yeah.

What about Glasto next year? Its my first one next year so, please be there haha.

Tom C: Touch wood.
Ollie: It’s pretty certain we will be, yeah, pretty certain

I thought I’d end with like a little quick fire thing?

Tom C: Yeah go for it.

So, which is the song you wish you’d wrote?

Tom P: ‘Going Out West’ by Tom Waits
All: Wow.
Ollie: ‘My old school’ by Steely Dan
Dorry: Anything by Bon Iver… anything by Bon Iver (laughs)
All: Anything by bon iver…

Next one: who would be your ideal band member, dead or alive?

Tom P: Joshua Homme.
All: Oh yeah, yeah…
Tom C: Dave Grohl.
Ollie: Erm, yeah, I think it would have to be Tom Waits wouldn’t it, he’s alive, all these people are alive-
All: Johnny Cash? Julius Caesar?

If you could swap lives with any musician, who would it be?

Tom C- Do I have to swap lives?

Well, you don’t have to, no.

Ollie: again it would be Josh Homme because he lives in the desert and rides motorbikes around and then tours.
Tom C: Again I think it have to say Dave grohl
Dorry: Yeah I’d probably be him but then I’d be a man
Tom C: *shouts* Fistpump!
Dorry: Is that alright? Can I be a man? There’s less ladies to pick from
Tom P: The Corrs?
All: *laughs*
Dorry: Someone from Fleetwood Mac
All: really?
Dorry: Not now, maybe like,-
All: They’re still together, still alive…

Well, that’s it, that’s all of my questions. Thanks for speaking to me!

All: Thanks, it was good!

Thank you guys! Good luck with tonight!

Flight Brigade were speaking to Rebecca Marano

The link to the charity Spear’s website is here:

Follow Impact Music on Facebook and Twitter 


Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham's IMPACT Magazine.

Leave a Reply