BACKSTAGE AT ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL WITH MCFLY | INTERVIEW

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McFly (Bella Proudfoot/Northern Exposure)

In the hours following a thrilling main stage performance at the Isle of Wight Festival, I had the pleasure of catching up with the members of McFly to discuss their set and career thus far. Their latest album, Power to Play, released just over a year ago to the date of this interview, clearly made a significant impact, resonating deeply with both the band and their fans. The audience, stretching as far as the eye could see, included both new fans and lifelong listeners, all of whom singing along to classics “Obviously” and “All About You,” and dancing energetically to the electric tracks from Power to Play. Here’s what the boys had to say about their Isle of Wight experience…

After being introduced to the band by the festival’s incredible press coordinator, saying our hello’s and just about managing to avoid being struck by the precariously low-hanging tree branches between us, we began chatting.

McFly (Bella Proudfoot/Northern Exposure)

Interview:

Bella: What a performance! I was in the pit taking photos actually, you guys were amazing! 

Mcfly (all): Oh thank you! 

Bella: An iconic set list, of course. A few of us were wondering earlier though – does it ever get tiring playing the hits over and over? 

Danny: No, no it gets better every time!

Tom: Better every time yeah. 

Dougie: Keeps it easy!  

Tom: Well, I think as well yeah – that sort thing [festivals] is very different. I think we just played six or seven songs? 

Bella: And the crowd go crazy for it! 

Tom: Oh yeah! It’s like a huge burst of energy for us. It’s not necessarily our crowd so it’s a fun opportunity to get in front of people you wouldn’t usually get in front of, it’s a chance for us to be like, ‘OK this is what we’re about’ and then when you play those songs on your own tour you’re mixing them amongst new album tracks and it’s really fun for us to play. So to be honest, I’ve never gotten bored playing! It’s fun, it’s really, really fun. 

Bella: Of course! And I’m sure different crowds bring different energies at different shows. 

Tom: Exactly! Different challenges and I think that sort of thing is the challenge for us, it’s different crowds to win over. It keeps it fun. 

Bella: Well, I know I don’t have you for very long but I do have a burning question for Dougie, something my peers and I have wondered for a while now. 

Dougie: Ooo. 

Bella: The dungarees! What’s that about? 

Danny: Dougie wearing the ‘Doug’arees! 

(All laughing)

Bella: Every show?

Dougie: Every show yeah. 

Bella: I took photos of your Manchester show last year with Northern Exposure, you were wearing them then – I was thinking ‘That’s such a cool outfit’, and here we are again! 

All the boys laugh. 

Harry: My thing with it though, it’s such a strong look; I’m like how’re you going to top that Doug? 

Bella: Absolutely! 

Dougie: Well that’s why I’ve never changed it, it’s comfortable! I think Van Halen did it for a little while and I thought like, that’s awesome. It’s so easy! 

Tom: I tried to wear them during McBusted but it just looked ridiculous. 

All laughing. 

Tom (con’t): I literally looked like I was wearing SuperMario cosplay. I just couldn’t pull them off.

Bella: Not quite the Dougarees?

Dougie: They’re so freeing! It must be what it’s like playing shirtless, ‘aaah the breeze!’. 

Lily: It’s almost like your signature look now! 

Dougie: Yeah. 

Danny: The Dougarees! 

Bella: Well, I guess you can never change now. 

Dougie: Why change! 

Bella: So true.

All laughing. 

Harry: It’s becoming iconic! 

Dougie: It’ll always be the same pair, if I can still wear the same pair of dungarees now until like, the next anniversary [of McFly] – 

Harry: You’ll see him in like, a Hard Rock Cafe covered in mould. 

Danny: (Laughs) Yeah! If you think of like Planet Hollywood, people have their signature looks right? First person I can think of is like Chad Smith, he always has a baseball cap on backwards right? 

All: Yeah. 

Danny: Well that’s his thing, so I reckon overalls are like your look – I think you can get away with it. 

Dougie: Yeah, yeah! 

Danny: You can switch it up, play with the colours! Add some sparkles? 

Dougie: I could do sequins! 

Bella: (Laughing) perfect for pride month! 

All: Yeah! 

Bella: So, the album Power to Play, your most recent album released just over a year ago now! How have you found the response to the album? 

Harry: Yeah, great! 

Tom: Amazing. I think it’s, the fact that we can put some of the songs from that in a set like this shows just how much we love those songs. Sometimes you get a year on into the album and you think you’ve moved on a bit but I think those songs are just so much a part of who we are as a band. 

Harry: It’s our seventh album, official album… there’s an eighth – kind of. But I get the feeling from fans we interact with online, outside gigs or outside a studio, I get the feeling Power to Play is in the top two of those seven albums. 

Danny: It’s been an important album for that reason, to join us, for us to reignite a lot of –

Tom: We’re due a shit one now. 

Everyone laughs. 

Danny: Well, Power to Play 2.0 that’s what we’re going for. 

Bella: An innovative name! ‘Power to Play 2.0.’ 

Danny: More like Power 2.0 Play. 

Bella: Perfect! 

Lily: So, I have a question for you! If you had to choose a new genre, which would it be? 

Silence whilst pondering until… 

Harry: Latinaaaaa! 

Tom: Oo yeah, reggae would be fun too! 

Bella: Oh I’d have to see that immediately. 

Tom: I think we actually did do a reggae cover of Five Colours In Her Hair… 

Dougie: Yeah that was a nice little reggae jam actually. 

At this point, we were ushered by the lovely press organiser of Isle of Wight festival to ask a final question. 

Hannah: So you’ve been together as a band for twenty one years now, what kind of legacy would you hope to leave behind in the industry?

Harry: We’re OK. 

All laughs. 

Tom: Mediocre Mcfly! 

Danny: Yeah like, ‘they’re… they’re ok!’

Bella: ‘Oh yeah, that’s… definitely McFly!” 

Laughing continues. 

Tom: In all seriousness though, what we hear from people is like “Oh you look like you’re having fun!” And we are and it is fun! 

Bella: Yeah you can see it on stage.

Danny: -And you know what, some of the biggest, most impactful things is when you see someone in the crowd that you can see is being inspired by the show and you’ll see them afterwards like, “you’ve made me want to learn guitar”, “you make me want to be in a band” because they’ve watched us. 

Tom: And that happens a lot recently now, we’re at that age where-  

Danny: ‘Cos we’ve gone from that world of being in the middle of trying to be commercial but then trying to be a band at the same time as trying to get on radio but being pop and it’s a real, kind of, tricky place to be but we try to manage it the best way we can and I think a lot of people realise that and that’s why Power To Play is a massively important album. 

Tom: Yeah, we’re at a point now where we’re meeting people in their 20s who come and say like “Ah, you were the first gig I ever went to” or “I play guitar because of you”. 

Danny: Yeah love that.

Harry: Oh it’s awesome. 

Bella: Oh yeah! I mean, I’m 26 now and I’m pretty sure you were my first concert too. 

Danny: Do you mean that?

Bella: (Laughing) Yeah. 

Harry: That’s amazing!  

Danny: It’s so mad, stuff like that is just awesome. 

Harry: Yeah, so as far as a legacy goes, as long as we keep inspiring people it’s great. 

McFly (Bella Proudfoot/Northern Exposure)

As per the request of our wonderful Isle of Wight coordinators we had to wrap it up there to allow the boys to continue their rounds of press and enjoy the the festival. Admittedly, I was taken aback by just how conversational, friendly and enthusiastic the band were to chat with; despite their high-energy performance, stagnant heat and hordes of various members of staff, press and fans fighting for five minutes of McFly, the band seemingly couldn’t have been in higher spirits.

With thanks to Lily, Hannah, and Daisy whom I met on the first day of Isle of Wight while we collected our accreditation for the festival and spent the weekend camping together. The girls travelled from Brighton, attended the festival representing BIMM University and joined me in this interview with McFly; their coverage of the festival will be available soon via an online blog post which will be linked below once released. 

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