we wanna play FTSE with FTSE!
Not to be mistaken with the Financial Times Stock Exchange, FTSE are the brilliantly talented, wicked fun dream team (both on stage and IRL), Sam and Tazmyn.
Photography Lucy Bridger
Hailing from Leicester, the duo aim to create tracks where both music and lyrics are of equal value... ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED! Their simple productions revolve around social commentary and are full of brilliant beats, honest words and sweet sounds. Taken from their recent EP, Utopia talks of "possessions possessing a whole generation's psyche - Apple, Adidas and Nike", while Nite Life, featuring i-D favourite Femme, is the antithesis of your favourite club tune and sounds like a sober night out with your drunk mates, but amazing. It's also worth noting that Sam is currently partying hard in his no-fucks given side project with Jakwob, GET HOT, and collaborating with the likes of Kenzie May and Saint Saviour. Ahead of their live performance at FARR festival this weekend, we caught up with the Lucky Number kids to chat sad songs, perfect songwriting and real life issues.
Tell us about your name…
Sam: It was a stupid thing between us. I remember there was something on the news that said FTSE on it and we figured it would be a cool name. That and the fact that we don't necessarily like capitalism.
Taz: I just like that it's a big, red, downward arrow...
Sam: ...and also the fact that it's everywhere.
Your tracks give off the impression that you guys are sad. Are you?
Taz: Some of it's sad, but it's mostly about bringing to light things that people don't necessarily focus on and making it accessible.
Sam: It's always had that tone of morbidness to a degree. It was more down to the atmosphere of it, but the newer stuff is less sad and more angry. The thing is, there's a lot of satire there... it doesn't really work if you tell people not to take it on face value though, do you know what I mean?
Do you reckon there's anything we can do to improve the current state of the world?
Sam: I think that honestly, all you can do is do the best by the people around you. As much as I would like to think that you can go out and do rallies or give all your money to charity or whatever, I honestly don't believe it works. I don't believe in any of the systems that we have in place now, but I can't think of anything that would replace it and work better.
Taz: Also, fucking teach kids politics! Loads of kids don't know anything about it and they're expected to vote.
Sam: The most important thing in life is social interaction and how we work as a larger organism of people - whether that's within a community or a whole country. It's so important for everyone to be able to enjoy their civil rights as well as being able to do something which is productive and valuable to the population. I think that with more knowledge, even just the last 20 years of political history taught in schools, it would make a massive difference to how people interact with each other.
You've been working on new music in Cuba. Did the location give it different tone?
Sam: Yeah we wrote the only song we've ever written in a major key!
You two are proper word wizards. Who do you admire lyrically?
Taz: I like Amanda Palmer from Dresden Dolls, she's amazing.
Sam: Yeah, her songwriting is really great. That's is what the whole point of FTSE was... I just found that so much stuff that I loved musically was lyrically awful. Or social commentary that was political, emotional and honest but delivered over wank music... I wanted to start something where the music was just as good as the lyrics.
Taz: I don't want people to listen to our music and think 'oh god, they're just trying to save the world' or whatever. Just like the music and if you realise there's a message in there somewhere then that's cool.
So, are you looking forward to FARR festival?
Taz: Yeah, totally!
Sam: I love the feeling of lawlessness at festivals, and I don't mean 'let's all get naked and shout and fight', more like, there's a sense of being detached from normal social structures.
Taz: I think that's why the UK loves festivals so much.
Taz: Yeah, everyone just goes mad for three days.
Sam: It's like a safe haven of shit and mud.
Taz: It's always so nice to play festivals because you know that people have been looking forward to it for so long and they're there to have a really good time. There's always a great vibe.
Do you have any good festival memories?
Sam: I met Fred Durst at Sonisphere and got him to do a freestyle for me. He did like 4 bars and they were awful. That same day I got thrown out of Tony Iommi's dressing room. I managed to blag myself in, said hi, and asked where the drinks were. I poured myself a drink and then he realised that I was just some random guy and so they threw me out.
Good times! What's the FTSE plan?
Sam: To have a good time, all the time!
Text Francesca Dunn
Photography Lucy Bridger