Life In Film
Some people just get lucky. They’re the people for whom the stars always fluke their way into alignment, and who always seem to be in the right place at the right time. And once they get to this destiny of theirs, you can’t even begin to imagine what life was like before.
These people include Samuel Fry, Micky Osment, Dominic Sennett and Edward Ibbotson. As a band – Life In Film – they “just kind of fell together” partly out of friendship, part practicality. While those around them “tried to start” bands with five guitars (“They were always quite really long drawn-out psychedelia,” says Fry. Adds Ibbotson: “… And that’s being quite complimentary to whatever these songs were”) they all played different instruments. These London lads – reasonably clean cut with rolled cuffs, clipped sentences and quick laughs full of ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’ – are the four-piece that Burberry’s Christopher Bailey found near accidentally. Their songs are the kind you fall for and never quite recover; Carla – the track they recorded exclusively for Burberry – makes you want to change your name to anything even vaguely resembling its title.
We met them at the Cricketers Arms a few days out from their show at Burberry’s Sydney flagship store and their story is the kind most would struggle to dream of: their set at Glastonbury was filmed – “a one-mic kind of thing” – by a blogger who uploaded the content that Bailey came across, somehow, on the world wide web. Next thing Fry knows, he’s got a meeting at Burberry HQ. (“I had no idea,” Fry says as to who Bailey was. “But I’m not the most astute person.”) So they meet and Bailey mentions a campaign – AW 10 with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Co, lensed by Mario Testino – he was preparing to shoot, and asks Fry what he’s up to on Tuesday. “I was like ‘not much really’,” he says. “It was crazy. It was the same kind of thing: everyone was like, he’s this massive deal. I was nervous really.” From there, they went onto join the Burberry Acoustic set and the brand’s summer eyewear effort as one of four bands cast in the campaign – The Daydream Club, Marika Hackman and One Night Only – each playing one of four cities over four nights in May this year in celebration of the new collection, and all things summer and music of the Brit pedigree.
At the Cricketers, the bar had that warm not-yet-open glow and the only thing that gave them away as anything other than a young band doing their time were the aviators on the table in front of them, their check features on the inside of temples just like the iconic trench lining. Burberry has not just opened their wardrobe, but doors: one of them being Stephen Street’s. Street produced The Smiths and Blur – the bands the boys were raised on. It was Street’s Telecaster that turned Blur’s Graham Cox – until then a Gibson loyalist, or so legend has it. Says Fry: “Street gave him this Telecaster to try out and since that, he only ever plays Telecasters. So he gave me (that one) to use …” His tone is reverential until the others laugh and break the spell. “But yeah … then I bought a Strat.” Recording with Street gave them much more than an affinity for Stratocasters: he “didn’t really mess around with the songs too much” and taught the boys to have “more confidence that (they were) on the right track” when it came to their own arrangements.
The logistical arrangements, for now, are taken care of: they don’t travel in the back of “a shitty van”, they’re not their own roadies, they don’t need to beg for a rider. (Although that afternoon they were drinking VB. By choice. “It’s boutique in London on account of the twist top.”). This isn’t to say they have missed out on cementing the dynamic – or the soundtrack – that comes only from shared experience of living in each other’s pockets through country towns and flat tyres. There are all the regulars that define a common aesthetic, those they will never let go of. The aforementioned Smiths. David Bowie for sure. Even The Beatles. The songs and the names they’ve had on their playlists for “five years and listened to one hundred thousand times” that just have to be left on “in case there was some kind of emergency and (they) had to hear it”. On high rotation, too, is Phil Collins. “And that’s not a joke either,” says Sennett. Fry also flags The Book Club, a Sheffield outfit. An accidental find, one of those you unearth and wonder how you ever managed to walk in a straight line before. They are, he says, “as good if not better than everything that seems to be all over the place”.
.The best thing, they tell us, about their relationship with the luxury label is not the trenches that fit just right, the tickets to ride or the time with those who are “dead nice and kind of a big deal”, but instead the recognition that they are doing something that somebody likes. “And the girls are all pretty too,” says Sennett. “I’ve noticed that. In passing.”