INTERVIEW: Florence Welch

Posted by Dean Piper On March 10th, 2012

You must be thrilled to be on tour….and selling out Alexandra palace for three nights in a row!

It’s really nice to start touring and it feels like I’ve done the promotional tour for Ceremonials and spoken to a lot of people. What’s nice about this tour is we’ve got strings and a choir and a full set up. It’s as much of a representation of Ceremonials as you can get.

And after the success of Lungs you have some money to put into the shows….

One of the perks of the first record doing so well we have had more scope to do everything we actually wanted to do. We’ve put more money into the set this time around. I mean we’re not we’re not U2 with a space-bus-spider-thing but we’re on our way.

I loved your MTV VMA performance in 2010.

I loved that too – the blue people and the rotating stage. That was the moment for us in America where things started happening. We were actually very lucky because they gave us a free reign on what we wanted to achieve. I sat there and said I wanted 14 people blue, tribal drummers and pyschadelic choir. They were like: “Yeh, cool.” It could have gone wrong and we could have been sent home.

How involved were you in that performance?

I was very involved. We wanted to make it a representation of the video and it was psychedelic and it was a live version. America seemed to embrace.

How have you kept your voice in check and not had problems like so many have of late?

I’ve tried to keep myself in check. It takes a lot of discipline to keep your voice in good order. And it’s obviously something I can’t afford to lose. I don’t know whether mine is particularly strong because of all the years I screamed in shows and drank too much. I really pushed things in the old days.
I’ve only lost my voice once and that was a long time ago. When I used to drink a lot, jump on stage and scream non stop.
Nowadays my lifestyle is the opposite. Touch wood, I’ve not had too many problems. I don’t drink, I don’t party and I plan nights where I can have fun. In the old days I was just shouty and it didn’t matter if I didn’t hit the notes. Now I want to be a singer, I want to perform well and embellish on phrases and try out notes I haven’t done before. I want to feel part of the music and not have some horrible hangover.

Fashion seems to have upped it’s game with you?

It has. Things are pretty nice and sweet these days.

You’ve got Sarah Burton of McQueen dressing you in one-off pieces (above at the Brits).

I love Sarah. We’ve met at various events and always end up giggling at the back like school girls. We’re both very easy going. I remember meeting her and talking and it all happened naturally. Our imaginations are quite similar and the way we feel about clothes is very similar. The dream-like dresses that she creates are insane. There’s a true romanticism to her dresses and she mixes it with nature and the tailoring is structured and armour, but there’s birds and flowers and it’s just the best. There are so many beautiful elements within her work.

Would you want to design your own clothing?

Well, I’ve got a lot to get out of my head and I’m not entirely sure anybody would want the sort of things I’d want to design. The other day I was designing this outfit and it was a fitted frock coat waistcoat with a thick black brocade material and a maroon paisley lining that could be worn over shirts. I don’t think anyone would want that at all. I’d be designing clothes just specifically for myself if I’m honest.

Is America a big priority next?

Well, yes. We will go out there and tour but with everything I always tip toe forwards. It was a big surprise to go into America and for there to be some success. It’s always a try and see what happens situation. I’m just interested in playing shows and every day is kind of amazing right now. I’m about the live show and creating a performance.

Are we already thinking about the next album?

Yes. I’m thinking about it. In fact I’m hoping to get back into the studio. We’ve got a portable studio with us on the tour so maybe. I’ve always said I’m not a workaholic. But I guess I am really.

Adele said she wanted five years off – are you like that?

No, I’m just restless with a lot to get out of my head. I’m focused and need a project.

What have you spent your money on?

I’ve not spent anything!

I’m imagining you buying a sprawling country mansion where nobody where’s shoes and there’s love everywhere.

That would be nice. The truth is I’m still at home and my mum has banned me from moving anywhere out of walking distance. She worries constantly about me coming home without any keys. We’re still in that stage. I can’t even envisage moving out of home and if I did it would be a small little something to start. I’m happy. All I spend my money on is clothes. I’ve always only spent money on clothes and music.  One day I’ll fly the nest.

Florence and the Machine’s second album Ceremonials is out now

Pictures: With huge thanks to Steve Bainbridge

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