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Interview: The Fratellis looking ahead to Kendal Calling debut

The Fratellis play at Kendal Calling on Sunday 28 July (photo Nicky J Sims)

AMONG all the British indie icons that have emerged in the 2000s, one has been notable by its absence from the Kendal Calling line-up.

This month, The Fratellis get the chance to put that right when they hit the Main Stage on the closing night of the award-winning Lake District festival, running from July 25-28.

“Funnily enough, The Fratellis have never played this festival before but I was there a couple of years ago with The Twang,” says Barry Fratelli – founder member and bassist of the Scottish rock outfit, best known for their early hits ‘Chelsea Dagger’ and ‘Whistle for the Choir’.

“We spent the day at Kendal Calling, and it had a great festival vibe and a brilliant atmosphere, and it seemed like there was lots for the kids to do too.

“Staying overnight is something that we’ve been talking about because looking at the line-up, there’s lots of bands that I’d like to see. I’d love to watch Gomez but they’re on the Thursday and we’re not on until Sunday.

“It will be nice to visit the Lake District though; it’s a beautiful part of the world and I’ve driven through it a lot. I’ve also got a lot of good friends there, so hopefully we can spend some time there.”

Completed by vocalist/guitarist Jon and drummer Mince (both of whom also take the Fratelli surname), the band emerged in a crowded British indie scene in the middle of the last decade.

Where a number of their contemporaries have dropped by the wayside, the Glasgow trio survived a four-year break and emerged all the better for it. Last year’s full-length, ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’, has been lauded as their strongest album to date, showcasing a more mature sound that traverses all manner of pop and rock styles.

Barry continues: “We were on hiatus for six months, and that soon became three or four years, so I guess you could say we were broken up.

“We’re not as big as we once were, but we’re still travelling the world playing tours in America and shows in Japan and China – to still be doing this 14 years on is incredible.

“The album (In Your Own Sweet Time) came out just before the festivals last year, in April I think, but now people have had time to digest it and some of the new songs have slotted right into the set-list perfectly.

“That’s what any band wants when they’re releasing a new record, and I think it’s fair to say that the album has done a lot of good things for us.”

While the classic chart hits from their early days are assured, can we also expect some newer numbers to feature at Kendal Calling at the end of July?

“Obviously everyone wants to hear the songs that are familiar to them, and I even do it myself,” says Barry.

“Even if it’s a band I love, you tend to visit the bar when they’re playing the new stuff.

“It’s always something I’m conscious about, but I don’t sense that with our new songs from the shows we played last year.

“So yes, there’ll be a couple of new ones, a couple of old ones, and let’s be honest, you don’t really want ballads at a festival, you want to create a party atmosphere.”

If you were one of the many fans bowled over by the latest album and you missed out on their headline run last autumn, you’ll only have a handful of chances to catch The Fratellis in 2019 – Kendal Calling being one of them. You’ll have to move quick though, with only a limited number of tickets available.

By comparison, this year is much quieter – though Barry reveals that they’ve been working away behind the scenes.

“We’ve just finished recording in America, so we’re always busy. It will be early next year when that starts emerging, and it will be time to start the whole touring thing over again.

“Last year we were so busy and it was a bit full-on, so this year we’ve cherry-picked four or five festivals that we were keen to play.

“We’re just a rock ‘n’ roll band and we don’t know anything different. We always strive to just be a great live band, and playing festivals is no different – they’re our bread and butter.

“The Kendal Calling line-up looks great, and I’m sure we’ll slot right in. It’s certainly one I’m looking forward to, and hopefully we get the weather. And if not, we’ll need to bring our wellies!”

The Fratellis appear on the Main Stage at Kendal Calling 2019, on Sunday July 28th. The final tickets are available now via

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