"a direct, driving sound that bears comparison to Arcade Fire but also has the crunch of Twin Atlantic. The songwriting has a real punch to it."
Think of Flight Brigade as a family as much as a band and you start to understand the chemistry between them. Think of their songs as epic stories to which each member is essential and you begin to grasp what makes their music so powerful. Watch them perform and you can’t fail to be struck by the special bond they share.
“Our relationship drives everything we do,” explains lead singer Ollie Baines. “Our sound is all of our influences and the tension between them”. Flight Brigade’s strength lies in the scope of their songs, the songwriting craftsmanship and the ambition of their arrangements. The striking mix of male/female vocals, crunching anthemic guitars, orchestral strings and vintage synths have bought them comparisons to Arcade Fire and Fleetwood Mac, whilst Ollie’s intense, storytelling lyrics set them apart.
At the core of Flight Brigade is an actual family. Ollie and Miriam are married. Miriam and violinist Dorry are sisters. The trio grew up in each other’s pockets, their families part of a hippy commune in Hampshire where Ollie’s family settled after moving from Ohio in the US. Bassist Tom Clay, guitarist Thomas Pink, keyboardist Jonny Barker and drummer Neil Blandford were childhood friends who lived nearby.
In 2016 they released their debut album, ‘Our Friends Our Enemies’. The album’s title track was inspired by a story about Czech factory workers forced to make bombs for the Nazis. Some risked their lives by neglecting to include detonators, so that when the bombs dropped, they didn’t explode. “It was on a production line, in front of soldiers,” explains Ollie, “so it’s a story of bravery. One even put a note inside a bomb saying ‘this is all we can do for now’”.
‘Thick As Thieves’ has an equally intriguing tale. It’s the story of a baseball pitcher Max Scherzer. When he was growing up his brother, Alex, encouraged him to keep practising baseball. Aex was great at analytics and knew by looking at the stats that if Max pursued his baseball dream he had a good chance of making it as a professional pitcher. Tragically Alex struggled with depression and committed suicide. So Max said whenever he pitches he does so for his brother. “It was such a moving story, I had to write about it” says Ollie. “It’s a great way to be able to use words and phrases you don’t often hear’. I mean, I’d never write about baseball otherwise.”
Touring extensively and playing the major UK festivals including Glastonbury, Bestival, and The Great escape, Flight Brigade have garnered a reputation from fans and critics alike for exceptional and explosive live performances. One such performance, at ‘The Castle’ in Manchester in March 2017 caught the ear of esteemed producer Chris Porter (George Michael, Elton John, Bowie). Porter promptly invited the band to record their forthcoming second album at The Visconti Studio.
In 2018 the band signed to Wixen Music Publishing (Neil Young, The Black Keys, Rage Against The Machine) and continued to have their music used in TV and film in the UK and US with 'Made In Chelsea', Channel 4's 'Sunday Brunch', E4's 'Tattoo Fixers' and 'The Boston Strangler'. With lots of support from BBC Introducing, radio play has included, Dan O'Connell Radio X, Steve Lamacq & Tom Robinson BBC 6 Music, Bob Harris & Janice Long BBC 2 and Tom Allen CBC Radio 2,Canada.
Members Ollie, Thomas and Dorry also compose for film, adverts and TV, an expanding side project that has a commission for ITV, an advert for NBC in the US, and independent films such as the upcoming 'Learning the Ropes' narrated by Ray Winstone.
Flight Brigade is supported by the International Showcase Fund, which is run by PRS for Music Foundation in partnership with UKT&I, Arts Council England, British Underground and the MU in association with PledgeMusic.