Shortly after being confirmed for next year’s Shockwaves NME Awards Tour and subsequently winning an award at next year’s Brit Awards, Florence and the Machine’s Florence Welch, the current London it-girl of indie, took time out to answer Amy Pay’s questions. Read on to find out what Welch’s genre-hopping band have planned for the not-so-distant future.
Hello, Florence. How are you today?
I had a photo shoot today in my house, but I just lay in my bed while they took pictures and drank tea. It was nice.
2008 seems to have been a whirlwind year for the band, playing festival after festival, gig after gig and sandwiching recording in-between. How has this sudden exposure been?
It’s been fun followed by fear, followed by fun, followed by fall over, followed by more fun.
Your single, ‘Kiss with a Fist’, was released in June. How far along are you into the process of making your album, and when can people expect it to be released?
I’m about to start making it in a week or so, if I get my act together. It should be out in the springtime.
On a couple of occasions, you have collaborated with Dev Hynes from Lightspeed Champion. Are there any other artists who you have already worked with or would like to work with?
I would like to work with T.I. because I fancy him. I’d also like to work with Tom Waits, but I don’t really fancy him; he’s just a f**king genius.
NME once described Florence and the Machine as “epic, unhinged blues-based rock that bridges the gap between creepy folk and fun pop.” Do you think that is accurate?
I like the words “epic”, “creepy”, “unhinged” and “pop” – that about covers it.
The last couple of years have seen numerous female Brits making their way onto the music scene. Even though your sound is quite different from the likes of Lily Allen and Kate Nash, do you think that this situation has helped you to make a name for yourself?
They opened the door for a lot of other great female talent to emerge, but in a way I had to kind of wait for the first rush to die down before I could really come across as an artist, not just another girl singer.
You left art school in order to pursue your music career. Was this a hard decision to make at the time?
Not really. I was never a very good student. I spent most of the time asleep under my desk or photocopying flyers.
The “Machine” seems like a changing bandwagon of young, talented musicians. Are there any permanent members of your entourage?
The thing I like about the way “the Machine” works is that it can be any musician at any time, whether it’s an orchestral harpist or someone banging a tea tray. It’s also cool to get people to play their instruments as if they were something else, like making the guitar sound like tubular bells.
Apparently, at one gig, your only accompaniment was a metal lid from a dustbin. When playing live, do you prefer a large, full sounding backing band or one consisting of fewer instruments?
Right now I have a harpist, a pianist, a drummer and a guitarist. It’s great because you can really lose yourself in this massive sound all around you. I still play songs with no band, just a backing track and me banging a drum, no more bin, and then the band kind of builds up around me, so it’s never really one thing or the other.
Some of your lyrics seem like they’re based on or inspired by personal experience. Is this so?
Yes, but I’m not telling you what they were. You’ll have to figure it out yourself.
Vocally, you have been compared to PJ Harvey and Alanis Morissette. Do you have any favourite female artists?
Diane Cluck, Grace Slick, Kate Bush and Sandy Denny.
In the past you have covered Cold War Kids, Beirut and Iggy Pop. Some would say that these artists are quite diverse. Does this reflect a liking of yours for a wide variety of musical genres?
I love any music that makes me feel like I want to jump in the air, fall on the floor, scream, throw myself out of a window, etc.