WHETHER it’s recording their debut album in Los Angeles or coming to Warrington to headline RivFest, Fickle Friends have quickly gained a reputation as one of the UK’s hardest working bands.

Natti Shiner and her Brighton five-piece joined the roster alongside the likes of Guns N’ Roses, Snow Patrol and Take That when they signed to Polydor Records in 2016.

The unashamedly 80s-influenced band have since played more than 350 live shows including 100 festivals.

But despite their hectic schedule they didn’t hesitate to say yes when the organisers of RivFest – in memory of guitarist River Reeves and Viola Beach – offered them a gig.

Fickle Friends knew Viola Beach because they had the same booking agent and the last time they shared a stage was at Electrowerkz in London in December 2015.

Natti said: “We were doing a big Christmas show and Viola Beach came and opened for us.

“They were all jokers. They had their mates Hidden Charms with them and they were all backstage and everyone was having a nice time.

“The way Electrowerkz is laid out is very communal and everyone hangs out together.

“What I remember from that gig is we were sharing our drumkit with them and Jack (Dakin) went to town on our drummer’s kit. I’ve never seen anyone bash the kit that hard.

“They were such lovely guys and super talented and so it’s something that is quite close to our hearts.

“So when we got asked if we would headline RivFest we were very honoured to do so.”

Viola Beach and their Woolston manager Craig Tarry died in a crash in Sweden after their first international show at Where’s The Music festival in February 2016.

RivFest was set up in the same year to raise money for the River Reeves Foundation, which provides bursaries for young people who want to build a career in the arts.

Natti, 26, added: “With it being the music industry and so public I think it shook everyone up.

“They’re not going to be forgotten. They were on the same circuit as we were and because we had the same booking agent we were supposed to play that festival in Sweden.

“It was such a horrible situation. Every band see themselves in a situation like that like that because everyone’s on the circuit, you’re knackered, you’re driving late, anything can happen. But I don’t think anyone thought about it until that happened.

“I thought what Chris Martin did at Glastonbury was such a magical way to remember them and to be doing RivFest each year in memory of River and Viola Beach is such an incredible thing.

“It’s probably what the boys would have wanted, especially supporting and nurturing new music as that’s what people were doing for them.”

Fickle Friends have been given a huge amount of support themselves. In the studio they have recently worked with the likes of Mike Crossey, who produced the first two Arctic Monkeys records, while recording their debut album, You Are Someone Else.

Natti said: “He’s the most amazing engineer I’ve ever seen. He manages to make guitars sound like a million dollars and he cuts up lots of guitar riffs and puts them through different amps so they all have a different tone. We also recorded the drums at double speed and then he slowed them down so they had this like damp sound. We learnt a lot from him.”

Even Fickle Friends’ album cover was designed by one of Natti’s heroes, Mat Maitland, who has collaborated with Elton John and Goldfrapp.

Natti added: “Mat Maitland is one of my favourite people. I can’t believe he agreed to do our artwork. I love his work so much and it’s not often you get to work with people you’ve admired for years. He’s so talented and he’s permanently living his life in the 80s.”

So how did this musical journey start for Natti?

She said: “I’ve always been musical and my mum loves music. I’ve been brought up on ABBA, Madonna and Bob Dylan and I was taken to festivals when I was a toddler because my mum was a crazy hippy. I remember being six at Womad festival and watching Chumba Wumba.

“I was just baffled by it. I didn’t understand how it worked but I thought live music was the best thing in the world.”