In what has now become an annual tradition, The Brothers Fife have resurfaced with their latest video for ‘Christmas (I’m a Fan)’.
The duo deal in folk pop songs and kitsch homemade videos filmed in quintessentially Scottish settings, but the two personalities involved share a musical history that runs deeper.
It’s the second time that childhood friends Grant Jeffrey and Andrew Lennie, both 29, have teamed up under the moniker.
“We’ve been in bands together off and on since high school. We started off as a punk rock band and we’d play around Dundee and Aberdeen. We moved through to Edinburgh to make a go of it under the name State of Affairs but disbanded around 2008.
“There’s a wee Easter egg at the very end of the clip,” says Mr Jeffrey. “That’s us when we were 12.”
Now it’s all kilts, denim jackets and a general feeling that they’re sending a love letter to easy-listening greats from Scotland’s past.
“That’s very much it. I’m a massive fan of unintentionally bad music videos. Because they’re so sincere, I find it hilarious. With both videos we’ve made these past two Christmases, we got somebody who isn’t too familiar with a camera to film it, just to give it authenticity. We like to do things in the style of the Alexander Brothers’ and Andy Stewart’s videos.”
It’s the long-awaited sequel to a track the pair released in December 2015, when The Fife Brothers was born out of economic necessity.
“We were both pretty hard up last year, so as a Christmas gift we made a wee video for friends and family. Somehow we’ve ended up doing it again.”
The Brothers Fife’s 2015 debut
“We might have just accidentally committed to do it every year. Therein lies the worry.”
Filmed by Mr Jeffrey’s girlfriend Karen Mcloone, the video to ‘Christmas (I’m a Fan)’ has the air of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer’s Mulligan and O’Hare meets Fife’s original folk-rock sensations. The latter similarity is no coincidence.
“We went to the same school as the Reid Brothers,” says Mr Jeffrey. “They’re just down the road from us, in Muchty. We’ve been trying to get in touch to send our new video to them.”
“I was originally trying to get hold of the original ‘Sunshine on Leith’ video by The Proclaimers because it has a shot of them on boats on the Forth. The plan was to edit it so that it looked like us.
“Towards the end of the video I play a bit of ‘I’m On My Way’. I made it quite subtle.”
The song itself was written and recorded in two days with the video clip shot in and around picturesque South Queensferry in just two hours.
The video’s bare premise certainly evokes simpler times. Is it a reaction, perhaps, to bands who take the festive comedy too far, or the often overblown and unmemorable festive pop songs that tend to be released by Simon Cowell’s camp at this time of year?
“A lot of people our age who have done the band circuit tend to go that indie route when they’re writing Christmas songs,” says Mr Jeffrey. “They make it the wrong satire, more overtly poking fun. I’ve tried to write a completely harmless song.
“People got it pretty quickly last year. We were trying to make it look so serious that people wouldn’t be able to tell whether it was a joke or not. We got a few negative comments from people who took it at face value, which I quite liked.”
“This time, we wanted to make it look like we had a budget and had paid good money for it. People seem to like it regardless of whether it’s a joke or not.”
Now with another local viral hit under their belt, can we expect to see The Fife Brothers’ live experience any time soon?
“There’s been a bit of public demand for it,” says Mr Jeffrey. “It could be difficult getting a group of musicians together. I’ve written a mockumentary that I’d quite like to make in the future, which would include seasonal things.”
From the Beta Band to Big Country, there’s a strong history of internationally acclaimed music hailing from the Kingdom. Do The Brothers Fife see themselves becoming part of that great lineage?
“Anything is possible.”
You can help them on the road by buying tracks via their BandCamp here.