Form a band, write and record a few songs, make a music video on shoestring, upload it to the internet and watch it go viral… It’s the kind of stuff that remains firmly a dream for so many bands - only for Brighton’s FUR, it’s something that actually happened.
When the quartet - made up of singer William Murray, guitarist Harry Saunders, bassist William ‘Tav’ Taverner, and drummer Flynn Whelan - uploaded their video for ‘If You Know That I’m Lonely’ to YouTube towards the end of 2017, they didn’t expect too much. A few months later, the song - a ‘60s-meets-’00s jangly indie-rock bop - began to take off at an alarming rate.
“It was just after we’d headlined The Haunt in Brighton, which was quite a big show for us. Literally the morning after it had jumped up to 10,000 views and we thought, oh we only played to like, 300 people but maybe word of mouth…” Murray laughs.
For the next few weeks, views on the video continued to jump up by 10,000 a day. Soon it was being watched over 100,000 times a week. Today, the video is approaching five million views, all without any major label or commercial sync deal backing. “And now our biggest fan base is in Indonesia, so that’s cool,” Tav explains. “Countries like Peru, Brazil, they’ll all loving it at the moment. We’ve got to work on the UK, I guess!”
“Countries like Peru, Brazil - they'll all loving it at the moment!”
This strange series of events led the band to label Nice Swan Records (also home to Sports Team, Pip Blom, Queen Zee and more), as well as to support slots for Miles Kane (“We got pissed up with him which was a laugh,” mentions Tav) and Matt Maltese.
However, as they gear up for the release of their self-titled debut EP - a collection full of nostalgic guitar sounds with a vibrant edge - the band are keen to not let a random early-career success deter them from their long-term goals. “Obviously we’re aware that the views and response from [that first track] aren’t necessarily an accurate representation of where we're at as a band,” Murray says. “But it makes us want to work harder to get to a certain level because we don't want to making flat whites for the next however many years of our lives.”
Five million views down and counting, FUR’s stroke of algorithmic fortune should give them the kick start to ensure that their coffee shop days don’t last long.
'FUR' is out now via Nice Swan.
As featured in the February 2019 issue of DIY, out now.