Tristan Thomas, singer, guitarist and frontman of Florence Black, tells John-Paul Davies how everything from Abba to Slipknot influenced the making of this Merthyr Tydfil hard rock band’s debut album, Weight Of The World.
After almost a decade together, how does it feel to finally be getting your debut album out?
So good, it’s been a long time coming. Nearly nine years, just about.
But you’ve been friends for a lot longer.
Yeah, me and Perry the drummer were in nursery together, so we go way back. We met Fozzy then in high school, in Amman Taf. We’ve been together ever since then.
There’s a wide range of songs on the album: after the first three bangers there’s a lot of nuances. I can hear a lot of bands that I like in there, but who has influenced you, as writers?
Well, we love loads of bands, like. Our influences range from heavy stuff like Slipknot to pop stuff, like ABBA. A bit of everything, a bit disco, a bit of country, a bit of everything. We just wanted to incorporate that into our songwriting – everything we love – just try and put it in and make it original.
Were you worried about it being too broad? These days people want to know what you are, that you’re this band, so you can fit on this playlist on Apple on Spotify or whatever. Was that a concern?
No, we’ve always said we don’t want to stick to one thing. We want to branch out and be a bit of everything. You’ve got Grove Street which is like a really slow and soft song, and then On The Ropes which is a flat-out metal track. We just thought with Romesh [Dodangoda]’s production it’ll blend into one album lovely, like.
What was it like working with Romesh?
Awesome – we did the first EP with him back in 2016, so we know him well; we’re friends with him as well. There’s no messing about with him, you just go in. We demoed the album before we went in, so when we went in there we knew it from A to Z and Romesh put his little touches on it here and there. He’s easy to work with and he knows what he wants and we love the sound.
Did you have a lot of songs to cull to get down to those 10 on the album?
Yeah, we got a bank of songs like. It took a bit of time to whittle it down but I think we picked a nice 10.
Is that based on how they go down live or how they fit together as an album?
Yeah I’d say [how they fit together] because there are some really old songs from like 2012, ‘13, like the opening track Zulu. We wrote that back in 2012 and demoed it, but never officially released it on Spotify. So, we thought we’d bring that one back out now – opening track straight out the bread aisle!
And the single Sun And Moon has had loads of great press and airplay as well. How does it feel putting out a song like that, with a very broad appeal, when your fan base might know you more for tracks like Zulu?
Yeah, I think it shocked a lot of people – they were like, “it doesn’t even sound like you!” But loads of people have talked to me about it, like my mates don’t even like rock music. They listen to that song and they’re like, “yeah, I like that one!”
I don’t think it’ll be another nine-year wait before the next album.
No, we’ve got banks of material now, but we still write the new stuff as well. So we’re just going to focus in on the next album.
Florence Black play Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff with Bokassa on Thurs 21 Oct. Tickets sold out – check social media for resales. Info: here
words JOHN-PAUL DAVIES
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