Hailing from the North Coast, high-flyers Brand New Friend are having quite the time of it. Just last month the band were on stage at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Hull. The four piece have had accelerated success, with the sibling duo of Lauren and Taylor Johnson the core.
The band’s infectious performances have been delighting gig goers since their Chordblossom Kickstart win last year. Mixing catchy vocals with their indie pop sound, their fanbase has grown and grown. Hoping to ride on the wave of their Big Weekend, Brand New Friend have released an uptempo new single in the form of live favourite ‘Your Friends Hate Me’.
A band very much rooted in the local scene, Brand New Friend talk us through some of the members’ favourite tracks and biggest influences.
The Streets – Everything Is Borrowed
The Streets were a childhood band for me, I grew up amazed at how Mike Skinner could say something so impactful, but at the same time sound like he was just chatting to a mate. He makes the normal things in life mesmeric. I used to listen to this album, ‘Everything Is Borrowed’, on loop when I was at school. I once submitted the lyrics to his song ‘On The Edge Of A Cliff’ to a poetry competition and came second. Gutted.
“I came to this world with nothing, I leave with nothing but love, everything else is just borrowed”. – Taylor
Oasis – Acquiesce
Oasis are my favourite band of all time. They changed my life forever. Noel’s songwriting is untouchable, no question about it, but as a child I wanted to be Liam. I still want to be Liam now. This song is special, it’s about believing in yourself, in your family, your best mates, everything we try and embody in Brand New Friend. To me, they’re the greatest band of all time. – Taylor
Paramore – For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic
Paramore have undoubtedly made the biggest impact on me musically. I started listening to them at the age of 11 and RIOT! definitely sparked the ‘I want to be in a band’ feeling within me. I always seek to emulate Hayley’s boundless energy on stage and her vocal ability is flawless. This song, and the entire album, is so unapologetic, and ‘I Love You, Goodbye’ gives me a chance to channel Paramore’s fighting spirit. – Lauren
The 1975 – You
Choosing my second pick was difficult, as a lot of my favourite artists wouldn’t be a massive reference point for our sound. (I think the guys were worried I was going to put One Direction in here) However, I just had to go with The 1975. They are unashamedly pop and Matty is a genius songwriter. As an English student, I love that a lot of his lyrical inspiration can be traced back to literature! This song has always stood out to me, the chorus is so simplistic but it’s also hugely anthemic. I’m cheating slightly here, as there is a hidden track at the end of this song, entitled ‘Milk’. At just over two minutes, it’s a short and sweet banger that makes an impact straight away – something that we try to channel in Brand New Friend! – Lauren
Soundgarden – Like Suicide
This song in my opinion is the most perfect song to close the most perfect album! For years Like Suicide has been my favourite song, it appears on my favourite album (Superunknown) and is by my favourite band (Soundgarden). This song is a perfect mix of haunting, loud and beautiful. The tribal drum beat and melodic guitar riff is just complemented perfectly by a signature Chris Cornell vocal melody. Chris Cornell has always been my favourite songwritter and musician and I think out of his whole discography “Like Suicide” and the rest of “Superunknown” is his masterpiece. – Luke
Tom Waits – Heartattack and Vine
This is a song that you cannot listen to without bopping your head or tapping your foot, and as a drummer this is something that I try to do with every song. This song is a great mix of jazz, blues and rock and roll. Tom Waits gives an amazing vocal delievery including my favourite lyric of any song, “Don’t you know there ain’t no devil, there’s just god when he’s drunk” – Luke
Ramones – My Brain is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)
I first heard this song in ‘School of Rock’ when I was in primary school. As soon as I heard it I got my parents to buy me a Ramones best of CD, an that was me hooked. This song has an incredible sing along chorus and although it’s a very political song, it’s just great fun to sing along to. I just remember being amazed the first time I heard it because it sounded so angry and still so fun and energetic. Now when I play bass I just try to rip off Dee Dee Ramone. – Aaron
Foo Fighters – Hey, Johnny Park!
A stand out song on an album I constantly find myself going back to. The riff at the start is massive and I remember it being one of the first songs where the lyrics really blew me away. This song is the ultimate ‘Fuck You’ tune for when you’re feeling angsty. “Now that I’ve found my reward, I’d throw it away long before, I’d share a piece of mine with you” – Aaron
A Plastic Rose – ‘…And The Sea’
A Plastic Rose have always been a massive inspiration to us! From very early on we wanted to channel their heart and passion into our own performances. They have a ‘live from Aunty Annies’ bootleg album Taylor was given while he was just learning guitar, so they’ve been a big part of the Brand New Friend story from before the band even formed.- Group choice
Pixies – Debaser
One of our favourite memories as a band so far was sitting in Aaron’s Dad’s house, eating pizza and listening to ‘Debaser’ over and over again. This song really has an energy, a manic defiance maybe? Whatever it is, we love it. Aaron wore a t-shirt that says ‘Debaser’ on it at Radio 1’s Big Weekend as a little nod to this unreal band! – Group choice