Flyte Take Us Track by Track Through Their Collab-Heavy Self-Titled Treatise on Relationships

The third full-length from Will Taylor and Nicolas Hill arrives in the wake of their live performance of the album single “Tough Love” with Florence Pugh.
Track by Track

Flyte Take Us Track by Track Through Their Collab-Heavy Self-Titled Treatise on Relationships

The third full-length from Will Taylor and Nicolas Hill arrives in the wake of their live performance of the album single “Tough Love” with Florence Pugh.

Words: Will Schube

Photo: Katie Silvester

October 27, 2023

Flyte, the indie-leaning folk-rock duo of Will Taylor and Nicolas Hill, have been accruing fans from all walks of life, some of which happen to be extremely famous. Last month, they shared a live performance video of “Tough Love,” which featured backing vocals from none other than Florence Pugh, who covered Laura Marling’s studio part. 

Heavy-hitting collaborators aside, it’s clear on the band’s self-titled new album why they’ve become so popular. The melodies are catchy but never saccharine, the backing instrumentation minimal and sparse yet clever and interesting. It’s the aforementioned “Tough Love” that serves as the album’s emotional core, built around delicately strummed acoustic guitar chords, weeping strings, and yearning vocals. “Even on bad days, the world is gonna spin,” sings Taylor, affirming that even during low moments love perseveres. 

To celebrate the duo’s new album, we had Flyte break down each track on their new LP, discussing the additional high-caliber collaborations and other factors that informed the project. Stream the full record and find their insights below.

1. “Speech Bubble”
This song is a plea for love. It’s a mission statement for a relationship that’s yet to start. The song seeks redemption. It’s certain that love—in all its simplicity, empathy, joy, sadness, and darkness—will be the cure. I sat down on the recording studio floor and sang and played it through a single microphone with Billie Marten, actress Lily Newmark, and photographer Katie Silvester singing hauntingly in the background. The intention of the female voice was to sound like it was responding from the future, as the couple in the song hadn’t yet met.

2. “Defender”
“Defender” is written from the perspective of someone trying to care for a partner with poor mental health, even though they may be unqualified, not necessarily any stronger, but trying nonetheless. We wrote this with our friend and next-door neighbor, [South African songwriter]] M Field, around our sitting room table with some classical guitars and a drum machine.

3. “Press Play”
We wanted this song to encapsulate the pure joy of love as it begins to blossom—a fireworks display of happiness and nervous excitement. It was a full room of beautiful musicians—Suren De Saram (Bombay Bicycle Club) and Matt Ingram (Laura Marling) both drumming simultaneously, Jack Watts (Memorial) on accompanying guitar with Will, Nick playing bass with Billie Marten on piano, and Her Ensemble provides a string section. Everyone playing together in the same room cemented the kitchen sink jubilance of the song itself.  

4. “Don’t Forget About Us”
The very beginning of a beautiful relationship and wanting to snapshot every detail. Let’s never forget this early, fragile version of us. It was written very quickly in bed one evening to cheer up a very sad Billie Marten.

5. “Perfect Dark”
The toxicity and addiction of sex and love in a city apartment. The grace that can be found in darkness. The harp, french horn, and cello strike the right balance of sinister and beautiful.

6. “Even on Bad Days”
An ode to relationships in your early thirties. It started as a poem, a wedding vow even, but it fit perfectly to music. This performance was the first and only take, with one guitar overdub added by William Rees of the Mystery Jets.

7. “Tough Love”
This song asks how two people might rattle free from a closed loop of bad habits and codependent tendencies. It takes two people to prop up an unhealthy relationship, so a duet seemed appropriate, and Laura Marling felt like the perfect fit.

8. “Amy”
Written while sharing a flat with a group of deflated musicians during the summer of 2020. It’s an ode to struggling songwriters and was maybe the most fun track to record. Almost every musician friend we know plays in the tape loop at the end. There are some excellent alternative lyrics written by poet laureate Simon Armitage.

9. “Chelsea Smiles”
This was a melody that we’d been sculpting and playing with over many years. The final lyrics were achieved by writing several versions of the song—multiple themes including romance, football violence, football, and London were all written out then cut up and spliced back together at random.

10. “Better Than Blue”
Came from a true state of bliss. The line “Love is a tangerine healer / That makes life an easy peeler,” found written on a forgotten napkin in a pocket of one of Will’s less-circulated jackets, became the catalyst for writing the whole thing. The curious chord progressions are made to offset the bliss with Jess Stavely Taylor’s almost alien vocal overdubs, placing you fully in the dreamstate of early love.

11. “Bedtime Reminder”
A lullaby written with Will’s partner, Billie Marten, one sunny morning in Los Angeles.