Interview: Flo Morrissey – ”Internet has been such a wonderful tool for me”
ENGLISH VERSION OF AN INTERVIEW WITH FLO MORRISSEY PUBLISHED AT GAFFA
Written by Tommy Juto
You were in your teens as social media exploded and your generation has had to act somewhat like guineapigs coming to terms with how to deal with all of this. Being perhaps a person not wanting to do things the mainstream way, how did social media affect you during that period in life?
– The Internet has been such a wonderful tool for me. I put things online at the age of 14 and it’s how my manager found me, I never did any open mic nights or shows… Just hard work and sending things to blogs and just sharing my songs since I was young. As you say, it is so important for me to find that balance of keeping things sacred and opening interesting avenues using the Internet too. It sounds crazy but Instagram has actually led me to some of my favourite people in the world and if you know how to use these technologies in an artistic way then I think they can be so helpful.
Did you feel like an outsider?
– I feel more of an ‘outsider’ in the world outside my home rather than online. Most of my friends are at university and doing something very different, I also have always been very connected to my family and not going to parties and so on. I find that the Internet is kind of an inside world where people project whatever they wish. Sometimes it’s sad when I meet someone I admire who I’ve found online and then they are completely different in person. I hope the human I am really is how people perceive me online. Though it’s neither here nor there for me, the music should lead!
You’re still fairly young, but what would you say has been the most crucial moment for your career so far?
– Signing to Glassnote when I was 18. They are really wonderful and understand me, I am very lucky.
You have described your style as bohemian, and you seem very aware of the way you dress. Can you see yourself pictured in fashion magazines?
– (Laughs) I don’t know, it’s not my main priority – not to say it wouldn’t be nice but my focus is the music, so we shall see…!
Are you also bohemian in the sense that you go with the flow, take the day as it comes?
– I’m getting better at that. Ironically even being called Flo doesn’t make the ocean less violent on some days.
Do you read books? If so, what do you recommend?
– Yes, especially more recently. I like poetry by Rilke, Buddhist books my dad lends me and I start each day with ‘Drops of Gold’ by Emma Curtis Hopkins. I’ve never been big on novels.
You seem like a pretty determined and serious person, at least outwards. Do you feel like lettting loose and be silly and giggly as well, or is it something you do more privately?
– Ha! Yes I am quite serious sometimes I suppose but I also have a sense of humour and like to enjoy myself. I guess my enjoyment and idea of fun is not similar to most people my age.
Some of your songs have been around since you were 15. Moving on a few years, have you felt the need to improve them lyrically before putting them on the album, or have they been good enough already from the beginning?
– I think the songs should be left as they are as they were meant to be that way when I wrote them. So no! I have kept everything the same.
“Wildflower” is arguably one of the best songs this year so far. Could you share the story behind the song, i.e. how it was written and recorded, what it’s about etc?
– Wow, thank you! That’s so nice to hear. I had the guitar part, slightly Spanish influenced and then put the lyrics to this. I guess it is about my first time away from home on my own when I went to California, I had just turned 18. It was for a new/old friend I had made there and then had to say ‘farewell’. I was thankful for the experience as it taught me how ‘through the pain we emerge, with so much more power’. It is nice because this one is about someone else from the rest of the record, ha ha!
How did you get signed to Glassnote?
– Daniel Glass, the head of the label came to see my support Alela Diane in London when I was 18. He had never heard me before but his friend told him to come that night and then we signed a few weeks later.
When did you find your singing voice? Did you chase your own expression or did it just come naturally?
– To be honest it’s always what felt natural to me.. You obviously have to practice but I always knew it was what I wanted to do and am lucky I can sing and do what I love for a living.
You seem to prefer the electric guitar before the acoustic, at least on the record. Is there a specific reason?
– Really!? I only play the acoustic usually, but on the record I guess there is some electric guitar. I think we had a vintage semi electric Gibson which just sounded so sublime on a lot of the songs. I hope to start to bring this element into my live set up soon.
Did you arrange the strings yourself, or did you get help with that?
– Noah (Georgeson) studied string arranging at college so I let him lead the way! Though I did play a big part in deciding the road we ended up taking – it was amazing to collaborate with a like minded person.
You’ve studied French and expressed a liking to Paris. Are you a Francophile? And would you consider singing in French?
– Yes! I adore France, particularly Paris and the south. I am currently replying to these questions in Paris before my headline show here tomorrow! I have already sung some French covers and hope to release an EP of French songs one day.
Where do you think you are in five years?
– I never know how to respond to this question! You can’t expect things to happen the normal way in this world anymore so I’m just taking each day as it comes! But hopefully with a few more albums under my belt and to have seen new places around the earth!
Will you be coming to Sweden for live shows?
– I sure hope so! That would be so inspiring and nice.