I Feel Fine Interview: “The city is overwhelmed by culture. It begs you to get involved.”

I Feel Fine

Debut EP Long Distance Celebration is out later this year.

Banging and bludgeoning their way through a cathartic and emo-tinged brand of post-hardcore, we find Brighton’s I Feel Fine. Theirs is a raw and vulnerable approach to the genre, with group vocals, and sing along sections. Quite heavy and a bit sad.

We had a chat with (Nathan Tompkins – guitar, vocals) about their new track ‘Everyday Safari’, their upcoming debut EP, and the Brighton music scene.

Overblown: Really loving your new song ‘Everyday Safari’. What inspired that musically? What inspired it thematically?

Nathan Tompkins: Thanks! The origins of that song actually go back quite far. I seem to remember Cloud Nothings’ ‘Here & Nowhere Else’ coming out as we were putting the first draft together, and that being an influence. The song’s come a way since, though, but I still hear elements of that record when I play it back now.

Thematically that’s a tough one to answer. Just because the specific intention I had when I put the words to it last year is a little distorted now. As an overview, the song basically deals with understanding your flaws, but also that they might only be flaws to other people. It’s entirely transferable, though. At its heart, it’s a song about pride, and I’m not concerned with that ever being a statement I couldn’t stand by.

Overblown: You will have a debut EP called ‘Long Distance Celebration’ out later this year. What can you tell us about the EP at this point? Where did the name come from?

Nathan Tompkins: That’s right. We’ll be announcing the official release details real soon (or already, depending on when this goes live). There are also some other exciting things in the works in the run-up to the record coming out. I just can’t be specific yet.

The title is taken from something Antoine (drums) said. As a unit we’ve been playing together a little more than 2 years now, but we didn’t name the band until much, much later. Not for a lack of trying. It just took a lot longer than we’d anticipated, or even allowed for, to all agree on something that we felt was a suitable representation of our music. So, when the breakthrough finally came, it seemed like a massive triumph, haha. We were each communicating from home, though, which denied us the joy of sharing that moment in person. Antoine called it a “long distance celebration”.

He liked the pairing of its words and held onto it. Given its sentiment then, and the deeper coincidental relationship it had to lyrics that came much later, when he proposed it for the title it was hard to think anything else might top it.

Overblown: What do you do when you don’t feel fine?

Nathan Tompkins: Foiled my plan. I lied. I only agreed on the band name so that I wouldn’t get asked this question.

Overblown: You guys are from Brighton. How does that affect your approach to music?

Nathan Tompkins: The city is overwhelmed by culture, with a lot of cool people doing cool things. There’s festivals, not just music-related, on all year round. It kind of begs you to get involved, one way or another. So, from that perspective, I think that it’s really pushed us in two ways: first to commit to our music hard enough to make it out and onto that circuit; but then also to challenge ourselves to try and stand out from what’s there already in some way.

Overblown: How did the ‘Beast from the East’ treat you? I made a snowman!

Nathan Tompkins: Woah! Honestly, I can’t say we got enough snow in Brighton to enable that level of creativity. It’s been a while since we’ve seen any snow here, so to look at it was pretty nice. Having to trudge to work in freezing temperatures, however, not so much. The growing pile of snotty tissues to the left of me can attest that.

I apologise. That was a disgusting thing to say. Maybe you should have told me more about your Snowman instead.

Overblown: What bands from Brighton are worth checking out?

Nathan Tompkins: There’s a lot! From the top of my head, though, I’d recommend Sweet Williams, Cousin, Wild Cat Strike, Chalk Hands, Perch and The Hundredth Anniversary. Also, I think Delta Sleep live around here now.

Overblown: What are your plans for after the EP release?

Nathan Tompkins: What with the whole prep for the record, it’s been difficult to work on new songs together. I’ve had to shelve a bunch of ideas in the meantime so, for me, the hope is to somehow get around to that.

That said, it obviously informs the contents of our live shows, too. We’re aiming to announce new dates real soon!

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