Just after releasing their first full-length LP, “Sights & Sounds,” Oregon quartet flor got the news that their Soundcloud account had accrued more that 1 million plays while on the road for their nearly sold-out tour with Halsey. Talk about the American hustle.
Victoria Wasylak of Infectious Magazine sat down with flor’s lead singer Zach Grace and drummer Kyle Hill before their sold out show with Halsey at the House of Blues, Boston to talk about their new album, their previous tour with COIN and Colony House, and how they recruited Hill via Craigslist.
Victoria Wasylak: First matter of business -your new album came out yesterday.
Zach Grace: Yeah, I guess so! It’s just really a collection of all the songs that we’ve been releasing over the last year – has it been a year now? Yeah, it’s been a year. So it’s just a collection of them so people can have it easier, and I guess one new song.
VW: So it’s an addition to the EP?
ZG: Yeah, it has the four songs from the EP, and then three more- two that we’ve released since then and then one that we just slapped on there for fun.
VW: You said you’ve been working on it for a year now?
ZG: Yeah! It’s been a little bit more than a year, but our first release was about a year ago. I’d say a year and a half ago we really started writing the songs and like, getting a feeling for what kind of music we wanted to be making and like, got happy with what we were creating.
VW: Are you sick of it yet? You’ve been working on it for a while.
ZG: You know, you’d think you would be, right? But no, no we’re not, and maybe it’s because we haven’t toured extensively on any of the songs yet. We’ve done about two – no, we’ve been out for a month.
Kyle Hill: We’ve been out for at least a month, and we have a few weeks left.
ZG: But yeah, we haven’t gotten sick of them yet, and definitely haven’t been tired out by them leading up to it either, so that’s really nice. I mean I know that there are probably some bands that are like “Oh, we’ve been working on this forever, now it feels like old news,” but for us, it’s very much like, “Wow, this is still fresh and exciting.”
KH: I still get as excited about the songs when I hear them as I did when I got the first mix back of the new songs. They haven’t really lost their magic, and I don’t really even see that happening.
ZG: Maybe a couple years down the road, we’ll be like, “Oh dang, that song has been played a lot!”
VW: Three weeks ago you were at Boston, and you played at Great Scott, which, I’ve been there and it’s a cute little dive, but this is totally different from that. What’s that feel like?
ZG: I mean, we appreciate both of them because they’re both such different experiences. At Great Scott, we had tons of people packed into a little room, the sound was huge, everyone was having a great time. Here, the sound will be even bigger.
KH: There will be a lot of people packed into a bigger room. (laughs)
ZG: But I think both experiences are very important to a band, I think you need to have those intimate moments, those littler moments, and then, if you’re lucky enough to play those kinds of shows, then you should take advantage of them because they’re amazing. There’s nothing quite like singing out to so many people and looking out there. It’s a little intimidating sometimes, but you get past the first song and you’re like, “Wow, this is really fun.”
VW: How did you get to open for Halsey? Did you ask, or is that something that they reached out to you for?
ZG: I guess the way to say it [is] our managers are – we are managed by the same person, but not solely managed by the same person. He has a hand in both of us.
KH: Mutual management.
ZG: And on top of that, Dylan works very closely with her, he did I’m pretty sure all of her vocals on this last album, so Halsey loves Dylan, loves hanging out with him, thinks he’s a great person, and he is. He definitely is a good person. So I think she just heard our music every day that she was working with Dylan, and she’s like “I like this band, I want to take them out.” And I think as soon as she sold out the tour, her label was probably like “You know what? You’re killing it right now, take out whoever you want and just have a good time.”
VW: Do you guys get to hang out with her?
ZG: We see her every now and again, she’s busy.
KH: She is a busy, busy girl, so we see her in passing here and there, but it’s always super chill. She’s friendly.
ZG: Very friendly, really, she’s really good to us. I’d imagine it would be overwhelming to be in her shoes right now, so we don’t try to add to that. We’ll be there if she needs some camaraderie.
VW: You just started with her, right? And you just finished [touring] with COIN and Colony House? What was that like?
KH: That was a lot of fun. It was, like he [Zach] was saying earlier, the shows were smaller and a little more intimate. It was a blast every single night and all those guys are incredible musicians and even better people, so we connected with those guys really, really well. Lots of solid friendships were made.
ZG: We went into it not really knowing any of the guys. We knew their music because it was awesome, but we didn’t know the guys, and by the end of it [the tour] we’d call ourselves very close friends because it was just a really easy group to hang out with and be with, a bunch of really swell dudes, really down to earth and beautiful people,.
VW: Do you think you’ve grown as a band a lot in the past year?
ZG: Yeah, we’ve been making music for a while, and I think a lot of the growing period happened before, but you’re always growing as a band, I guess. You know what, never mind, this last year was probably the biggest change the biggest growth we’ve ever had, musically and professionally.
KH: Just overall, everything that it includes, as musicians, as people, as friends, as a cohesive band, being comfortable together onstage, it’s all just – this last year especially – it’s been a lot of positive changes, a lot of learning experiences and personal growth on our own and as a unit.
VW: Were you friends before you were a band?
ZG: Three of us grew up in a little town called Hood River, Oregon, and this was through middle school and high school. We didn’t really start making music until the end of high school. Then the few years after that we made lots of music, just hung out all the time. We were definitely friends before it all happened. But then –
KH: I came along via Craigslist
ZG: We got Kyle from Craigslist.
VW: Weren’t you scared?
ZG: You know what? Not really. We should have been, we really should have been, and he should have been scared of us! And I’m sure he still is a little scared of us, but no, it was easy, and we did a lot of screening before we invited anyone out to our garage to play with us. But yeah, we hit it off pretty well, Kyle liked what we were doing, we liked what Kyle was doing, and now, many years down the road we are very good friends and wouldn’t want any other drummer.
VW: If you had to recommend one of your songs to someone who’s never heard you before, what would you recommend?
ZG: Dang, that’s really hard! Can I do two for different reasons? I would do “Heart” because I think people can connect to that one the best, I think they can hear it and be like “Yeah, I like this song and I like how it grooves, and it’s catchy.” But I think that “Warm Blood” would be my favorite track and that would be the one that if you want some cool lyrics and a cool story, and some interesting musical stuff, then I would listen to that one.
VW: Is there anything else that you want people to know about you?
ZG: I want them to know how thankful we are for them listening to us and caring about what we have to do, and caring about our art because, I mean, they’re really the only reason we get to do what we do, and it’s really, really cool that we get to do what we do. The best way to get to know us is probably from just following us on twitter and seeing what kind of stuff we say! We’ve got interesting personalities up there. We’re very grateful we get to do what we do, and we hope we can do it for a long time.
.@SoundCloud is where we got our feet off the ground – happy to say we hit 1,000,000 plays today 🌸 thank you all for listening
— flor (@florsounds) October 27, 2015
get behind this 🌸 boston pic.twitter.com/pMeKvZNuj1
— flor (@florsounds) October 25, 2015
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