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Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008
Introducing... Flashguns

By Greg Cochrane
Newsbeat music reporter

Like four Harry Potters reared on The Smiths instead of dark magic and potions - these Brighton-based indie rock boarding schoolers might look angelic but they're no choirboys…


Watch Flashguns play Locarno on the BBC Introducing Stage at this year's Reading Festival

Youth, apparently, is wasted on the young. Not in Brighton-based indie-upstarts Flashguns' case - they're grasping it, shaking it and spraying it with two hands.

The quartet may all make X Factor's Eoghan Quigg look like a sea-weathered fisherman and may have only left school four months ago but they're taking full advantage of their tender years.

"We met at school about a year and a half ago and started making music there together," says lead singer Samuel Felix Johnston.

"You can hear the youthful factor in the music and it's quite energetic but at the same time quite epic," he elaborates.

"Thoughtful as well I think - it reflects our character quite nicely."

Classic influences

The guitarist and singer, and keyboardist James Wright (drummer Giles Robinson and bassist Ollie Scanlon complete the line up), are sat backstage before playing at this year's SWN Festival, Cardiff lamenting the fact that "all the good stuff is on at same time as us" and drinking water.

They are, for such an inexperienced band, alarmingly relaxed.

"Mozart, Vivaldi - one of my faves" quips James when asked about their influences.

"Oh, I like Elgar," adds Sam. "Good stuff like that."

Flashguns release their debut single Timehouse Blue this week

It wouldn't surprise us if they weren't joking though.

Since they're four well-read classy lads stewing up what they describe as a "contemplative, moody sound" informed, more truthfully, by The Cure, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Maccabees and The Killers.

Those influences come brilliantly dressed in Sam's distinctive melancholic drawl, xylophones, rasping riffs and sombre keys.

"As we listen to different things we start writing in different styles," says Sam. "I think we're quite malleable in the way we write - always changing."

Their cumulative age might be less than Seasick Steve's beard but they're unafraid of embracing their own naivety.

"Because we were at boarding school in the middle of nowhere I think we weren't really influenced by what our scene of mates were listening too," explains Sam.

"We were finding all this music for ourselves."

Refreshingly, far from shunning their privileged education, they acknowledge their background's impact on their sound.

"It was a catholic school - all boys. It means that we're very cohesive as a group," he ponders. "It gave us a lot of time just to sit writing songs and dream about big things - it really instilled a sort of passion in us."

Flashguns, the facts
WHAT: Itchy, scratchy Brighton-based indie pop
FOR FANS OF: The Killers, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Kooks, Kaiser Chiefs, Interpol
DOWNLOAD: Timehouse Blue
LIVE: Visiting London and Southampton (this week) with a full UK tour in the new year

'Fitting image'

Right now then Flashguns are very much a name on many peoples' lips.

"Looking back on it [the name] it's a bit kid-boyish and I didn't really know what it meant - it turns out it's the thing that goes on top of a camera," says Sam. "But I think it's like a fitting image for the music - it's quite catchy as well."

Having just finished a UK tour with White Lies and their debut single Timehouse Blue due out today (1 December) the teenagers are growing up quickly.

That release comes followed by the Stephen Street produced Locarno in the spring, the wonderfully romantic St George [sample lyric "For Harry, for England and St. George/My home/This green and pleasant land"] and an album in the latter part of 2009.

"The day we're releasing this single we're going into the studio to start on the next one," babbles Sam. "Kind of like '60s style - one out, next one in."

Prolific, energetic and vibrant - if Flashguns are anything to go by, the kids are more than just alright.

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