“A complex and at times monstrously beautiful breed of prog-influenced post-rock that is fully capable of tugging at the heart strings as well as the adrenal gland.” Whisperinandhollerin.com.
Flies formed in Summer 2004, when they had a singer very briefly (recordings still exist, scattered to the winds). When he left they started jamming and gigging with various musicians up in Leeds and listening to the first releases of 65daysofstatic, Explosions in the Sky and Oceansize. Around this time they recorded their ‘Demo EP’ in smoky, cidery basements in Gosport and Leeds. This included ‘Rows of Moving Cages’ and ‘You’re making me nervous; you’ve got to stop this.’ Leeds fanzine Sandman described it as “all haunting piano lines and crunchy guitars floating and riffing, riffing and floating all over a menacing backdrop of impending epic-ness.” They began playing shows, infusing them with climactic heartfelt aggression alongside the moments of melodic peace.
In 2007 they released the ‘Mountain Language EP’ – “a remarkable accomplishment, saturated in beauty, enriched with emotion, and compelling from the moment it begins” according to Silent Ballet. Oxford fanzine Nightshift described it as “like some bizarre fusion of Mike Oldfield and Explosions in the Sky.”
The same year, Chris co-founded the I Am Joy Arts Festival in Chichester, which Flies played every year until it folded in 2011. It always included post-rock / instrumental events and experimental noise / soundscape experiments, as well as other genres of music and art forms.
Over the next couple of years the band toured with Red Paper Dragon, Monsters Build Mean Robots and Wild Dogs in Winter. They also shared stages with the likes of Russian Circles, And So I Watch You From Afar, Maybeshewill, *Shels, This Town Needs Guns, UpCDownC, A Genuine Freakshow, and Vessels.
The band’s debut album – ‘Red Eyes Unravelling’ – was released in December 2009. The release was much delayed due to lightning strikes destroying studio equipment, lost masters and disputes with the printers over the delivery of boxes of blank CDs. Once it was released it received glowing reviews: “Something a little more for you post-rock flavoured progheads – more than challenging some of the bigger names associated with the whole scene” Organ; “A stunningly assured debut… the band’s compositional elegance and ear for a genuinely affecting melody make this a hugely enjoyable listen.” 8/10 Rock Sound magazine.
The ‘Red Eyes Tour’ of the UK followed in 2010, before Field Records took an interest and started recording their next EP at the end of the year. The resulting ‘Nerves Still Beating EP’, featured two studio tracks ‘Nerves Still Beating’ and ‘Axe to the Root’, plus remixes by Gunning For Tamar, Court of Hidden Faces and Karhide.
In April/May 2011 Flies embarked on their first European jaunt – taking in the UK, Czech Republic, France and Belgium. The enthusiasm of crowds over there poured extra fire into their bellies and they returned the next year for a longer tour of Belgium, Holland, Germany, Czech Republic and UK.
In 2014 the band played ArcTanGent and two years later added Dunk! to their list of festival performances.
2015 saw the release of their second album, ‘Underdog Underfoot’ – “There isn’t a weak song on Underdog Underfoot. It’s an exhilarating listen… You’ll be hard pushed to hear a better post-rock album this year, phenomenal stuff” 9.5/10 altdialogue.com. Another two European tours were undertaken to support the album. In February 2018, ‘Underdog Undone (Ambient Remixes)’ was released – an ambient sister album to the previous studio record, featuring remixes by artists such as Cities and Memory, WiresDreamDisasters and Karhide.
Flies released their third studio album – ‘Final Quiet’ – in May 2020 on Voice Of The Unheard Records. “An impeccable production and execution.” BeCult
In 2010 Chris began the ‘A Cheery Wave From Stranded Youngsters’ compilation series. In 2020 he formed A Cheery Wave Records – https://acheerywaverecords.bandcamp.com/
Will and Chris formed Winter At Sea in 2021.
Flies Are Spies went on hiatus in 2022.