News Reading & Leeds Festival 2009: Florence & The Machine

The last time DIY caught up with Florence Welch; she was one of the hotly tipped females of 2009 and on the brink of releasing her breakthrough single ‘Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)’. Now she is a Mercury-nominated artist with a Number 2 album in the UK charts. In the run up to her spot at Reading and Leeds this weekend, DIY dropped in on Flo to see how she’s been getting on since we last spoke.

Hello Florence. Since we last spoke, a lot has happened for you. Congratulations on the success of album, and of course, the Mercury Prize nomination. How important is an accolade like that to you, especially for your first album?

I think as an award it’s a really good one to be a part of because the music is the only thing being judged, so it’s nice that it’s appreciated in that way. But I didn’t really make an album to win awards. I did it because I love making music.

If another artist scoops the Prize, who would you like it to be?

It would be great if The Horrors won. I think they have made such a step forward musically from their last album, and it would be great for them to get some recognition, so that their music would reach a wider range of people who might not have thought to listen to them before.

The latest single from “Lungs” is “Drumming Song”, which you apparently wrote after listening to a lot of hip-hop. What it is about hip-hop and hip-hop artists that you admire?

I think that the core of all good pop music is basically drums and vocals - the heartbeat and the lungs you might say. Hip hop artists use these two aspects in the most experimental way, and are not afraid to use them as the only parts in a track, really stripping music down to its base elements.

Your tastes are pretty eclectic. As a teenager you’ve said you were into punk and a big Nirvana and Green Day fan. Green Day get a lot of stick for their punk credentials, but what did their music do for you growing up?

I think that early Green Day, especially the albums, Dookie and Nimrod, showed me that there was a form of music that was emotive without having to be a ballad or a soul song, and could convey that sense of confusion and anxiety that all young teenagers go through in a way that was exciting. It felt like something that I could define myself by - a kind of musical protection from being an awkward chubby teenager.

Actually, one of the tracks from your album, “Hurricane Drunk”, shares a common theme to a couple of Green Day numbers - ‘getting wasted’. In this case - to numb pain. What happens when ‘Hurricane Drunk’ wakes up with a hangover? Does she wake up to the same problems?

In the morning she wakes up with a sense of exciting and terrible freedom - the worst has happened, the man she loves is with another, and it’s horrible but it’s exciting because once the worst has occurred, she has no more fear.

That’s a “song” analysis, but in your ‘Artist On Artist’ with Katy Perry for Myspace you told her you were apprehensive about the press analysing you as a person. How do you make sure they respect boundaries?

Well, I think you just have to remember to hold yourself back. You learn through experience what you are comfortable and not comfortable talking about.

One thing you’ve been open about is your love for the Gilmore Girls in a youtube clip. If you could do a guest spot in any episode, what would it be?

The one where she runs over the deer in the truck.

You told the press recently that you’ve started thinking about the new album. What can you tell us about it?

It’s more like a collection of sounds in my head, kind of more droney, more electronicy, sounds. I’m going to have two weeks in September in a studio just to experiment, so that will be fun.

You’re playing Reading and Leeds this weekend. What’s been your personal highlight of this summer’s Festival season?

Glastonbury - just stepping onto the John Peel stage was a moment in itself. All of the times I have been and watched bands like Spiritualized, and MGMT, and Lightspeed Champion I always hoped I

would get to play on that stage. It was an amazing experience.

And amazing to watch! Finally, Florence… what is the Machine’s message for this weekend’s festival goers?

NEVER SLEEP x

Read More

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Love Festivals?

Subscribe here to receive regular updates from DIY on all things festivals.

Here comes the summer...

2024 Festival Guide

Featuring SOFT PLAY, Corinne Bailey Rae, 86TVs, English Teacher and more!

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY