Florence on How Difficult Making ‘DANCE FEVER’ was.


really sort of resurrected the 
record really it was sort of   very lost like i couldn't get i didn't i'd 
started the record with jack and i couldn't   get back to him for a year and a half there was 
no travel there was no like leaving and the record   we nearly scrapped it because 
i just say i don't know how to   yeah i don't know where this is going and sort of 
meeting dave really did like resurrect the project florence welsh welcome back to absolute radio how 
you doing good yeah thank you thanks for having   me thanks so much for coming in we're just sort 
of um talking off air about how we last i think   we did this really well we sat next to each other 
on some bench a few years ago but now it's lovely   to have you back in the studio i'm fed up of zoom 
interviews we did a lot of those in lockdown it's   so nice to be able to be back and face to face how 
are you doing you're right yeah i'm i'm good the   album is out and that's a relief yeah totally um 
so yeah just kind of like coming down from that a   bit i think absolutely dance fever so number one 
congratulations on that as well a fairy tale in   14 songs i think he described it as well with each 
song being sort of chapter as it were i absolutely   love this trip when i first heard my love i 
instantly felt like i was actually in the festival   field it's transportative like the the sound 
and the production so we'll work our way through   through the albums it were but this started off 
quite early on just before the pandemic is that   right it's weirdly almost a chronological album so 
king three quarry mania back in town all written   free ironically was written march 2020 wow okay so 
free and back in town which is back in town is the   last song that i wrote when i got to new york and 
it's kind of a love song to new york or the sort   of amazing sort of manic loneliness that new york 
creates and the space it allows for fantasy and   i had packed my bags to go make dance fever and 
spend a month in new york so it was this kind of   as back in town like my my fantasy always tricks 
me into thinking i'm going off to have a kind of   romantic adventure and it's always an empty room 
you know like it's and that's kind of what a lot   of songwriting and touring is is tricking yourself 
into the creativity is the biggest connection in   your life away from like family and home and 
then you get there and you're like oh god it's   a hotel room alone again you know so i was already 
questioning my relationship to songwriting into   performance and then wrote back in town and had to 
get out of town yeah straight ahead so the gears   really shifted then and changed and then suddenly 
you were back home do you think in retrospect   that was a blessing weirdly to suddenly sort of 
ricochet back to london i think when i released   the album it was a funny thing because i had to 
contend with the period of time that was made   and there was a kind of grief response because 
it was irreconcilably changed by the period of   time i was in the way of making one record that 
was very much based in live music and the love   of live music and then i was making a record 
in a world where there was no live music and   it it completely changed everything maybe it was 
a blessing it's hard to see it that way yeah yeah um i think we're still in that phase where it 
hasn't to really understand that what level it's   affected us the last two years i don't think 
women are going to know for a really long time   because in lots of ways it's still ongoing 
and i feel like actually what it has done   to our psyches and to ourselves and i don't 
think i'll be able to look back on this album   and fully understand it for a long time yeah 
it's a big journey for everybody wasn't it   with that in mind and you were saying 
sort of you know the love of live music   did you have any sort of moments in the unknown 
sort of days of covid where you just thought   i may never get on stage how did that make you 
feel i'm over dramatic at the best of times but   there were moments there you know it was it 
was it was as if it was also people were like   because you were asking i was asking people 
like i was asking like doctors i was like is it   because we just didn't know how long mass 
gatherings were going to be an absolute no and   in the scale of like greater good you have really 
sort of accepted accepted that but as it started   to drag on it was more of a question of like maybe 
this will never come back or if it comes back it's   gonna be back in like eight years or ten years 
like there was a kind of futurelessness to it of   something that i had devoted my entire life to my 
entire life to getting people but yeah there were   moments where i was just on the floor just being 
like the thing that i have known my whole life and   my job my job yeah could never come back i think 
my mom was like oh you could you do other things   i've got no other skills moms have always got 
something it'll be fine you'll do something else   good stuff to me it's not been like ever been 
a thing that i do it's been who i am and it's   what's given me kind of meaning in my life but 
i think that that was also really interesting   to me because it forced me to contend with that 
meaning it has given me a lot of meaning in my   life it's also caused me a lot of pain because i'm 
perennially like unsatisfied because that's the   creative nature to make something and be like i 
didn't get it perfect this time and agony and that   just what keeps you making more is because that 
sense of like it's in king it's like i said it at   the beginning of the record i was never satisfied 
it never let me go as i released the record i had   exactly the same feeling of just agony of like i 
didn't quite get it right i'll do better next time   how i know this about myself and it doesn't fix 
it and it's the grief of letting something go and   they really do rip records off you like they're 
never finished yeah um and especially with the   one in the time that it was made it was like 
contending with the period of time and the record   it was really hard to let it go um the cycle of 
it was strange though because i think for like   like about a year in when it was also like the 
variance just kept coming um it it really did   seem very bleak in terms of like music and that 
coming back and i was i don't know if i can even   live in a world without live music like it seemed 
such a and actually then because it went on for so   long yeah about two years in i was like well maybe 
we're taking a question maybe it's okay you know   it was just as i'd accepted that maybe i wouldn't 
go back to touring and maybe i would just kind of   stay at home and maybe do the family thing or 
maybe like settle things came back so it feels   like the whole record is this cycle of be careful 
what you wish for you know right yeah um so yeah i   went through a lot of it was like all the grief 
i was like denial anger and then i did come to   some kind of acceptance that maybe performance was 
gone and then they were like right it's back we're   putting the album out you're going back on tour 
oh my god we're back we're back you mentioned that   briefly but in in a few of the printed interviews 
i've read about this this album you have discussed   family life and and your relationship with being 
a songwriter and performer and that kind of push   and pull of womanhood as well have you left this 
project with any answers on that or any kind of   oh my god no no i wish that's again it's 
the self-knowledge avails us nothing i think i have kind of come to terms with 
the fact that success itself and achievement   is probably not the core of really what 
will make for a happy life i kind of know   that instinctively but you kind of have to 
learn it through and i think that is kind of   the lesson like whether that means that's like 
because i want to have a family or whatever i'm   not sure but i think what people have also 
said to me is that that won't fix it either   yeah yeah exactly it's like everything external 
that you try and like fill the void or the pain   or kind of like it won't work so i think more and 
more i can do it with like oh music will fix it   that will make everything better and then i get 
to that and i get to that place of achievement   and like oh it didn't so i think it's so easy 
to then be like what's because i don't have a   family and if i have children and i settle down 
then i will be content and happy and to be honest   from when i for people i've spoken to they're 
like no it won't like if it's if it's within   you if the rest if that kind of restlessness 
or sort of spiritual restlessness is within you   nothing that you can try and grab onto is going to 
make it better so i think that is the realization   that like whatever i choose to do like the work 
is going to be mine like internally to come to a   place of contentment yeah totally i was reading 
i was watching actually a video with van gaalis   the other day and he was saying he took music 
making very very seriously and he was always like   and there was a line that struck me but she said 
you've always just got to be ready you've got to   be so nice and ready because when it arrives 
you've got to be ready do you feel that with   your music making what that it just suddenly 
almost like channeling no it does it really   does especially with um songs like they kind of 
take you on a ride and you just have to let them   there is a sort of powerlessness to it and 
especially with songs like king that one   kind of just arrived end to end fully formed and 
especially with this record the songs really had   a lot of their own ideas of what they wanted to 
be and it i wanted to make a lot a record that   was a lot more of a smooth ride and the songs 
just refused to so a lot of the songs that i've   recorded in lockdown like my love and heaven is 
here and daffodils i tried to then re-record out   of lockdown with jack again and re-record it so 
that everything in the album had the same sonics   because at this moment you have a kind of 
like much more analog sound and then there's   the cynthia sound when you're heading into the 
lockdown and things are getting really weird   but when we tried to do that it was as if that 
moment in time and those songs have been created   at that moment they just demanded to be what 
they were and when we tried to smooth them out   and i guess that was emblematic of that period 
of being like there's no smoothing this out   like this is the wrong chaos yeah so when we tried 
to um because i'm very committed to the album   itself as a story and i was sonically being really 
worried that it would be jarring but i had to kind   of give in to the songs and they sort of refused 
to be tamed in a way i loved um some of the   i wrote down here notes it probably makes no sense 
but like industrial frills it felt like in places   i love some of the synth patterns and just some 
of the the such a nice way to put it oh good   and some of like the tracks fusing 
into each other and that whatever is   so the way that i i was trying to make 
sense of such a chaotic period of time so   and i at the end of it realized that it was a kind 
of be careful what you wish for fairy tale and so   it's almost like the story of it 
sonically is you're kind of in this analog   world and then it goes into kind of nick cavian 
hellscape that shoots you out into a nightclub   it's a good night the climax of the sort of 
movie in my head of this album is suddenly   just in this kind of ecstatic nightclub of my love 
um and then you get dropped out into restraint and   you're kind of left in the wreckage of the bomb so 
with all those transitions and interestingly like   the transitions at the start are kind of heavenly 
and like angelic voices and as you go towards the   end of the record they become like ragged 
breaths so i think you can hear the kind of   descent into this different world throughout yeah 
i totally loved it it was absolutely brilliant   it reminded me a bit of moments of i wrote my 
dissertation on dancer in the dark bjork's film   oh wow and moments of that sort of industrial 
kind of bass line sometimes just creeping in   well it needed it and you know when we tried to 
re-record it it just took it all out and it made   it a nice record and i wasn't like there was so 
much about this record that isn't about being nice   and isn't about being smooth the darkness that 
since can provide and the heaviness and that   kind of almost claustrophobia of it was really 
important i was sat yesterday with my mates   we had a glass of wine i was telling them all 
about choreomania because i was talking about it   on the radio and they were like wow that's so 
tricky what and you probably know much more about   it than i but it's it was a was it between 13th 
and 17th centuries yeah it's like the middle ages   really and i just feel like i've been speaking 
about it i feel so conscious that i'm not   historian and i get so worried that there are 
historians out there being like she's selling it   if you are a historian just like please call in 
and give it like give the real facts but basically   there was this kind of phenomenon of it was like a 
dancing plague or it could have been psychological   or it could have been like hallucinogenic grain 
so that no one really knows but there were these   outbreaks of this sort of dancing fever um called 
choreomania where people would literally just   dance themselves to death in the streets and i 
think what was interesting to me is like the idea   that it was stress was really interesting the 
idea that because you know the middle ages it   was like successive famines and plagues and wars 
and this idea that you could be so psychologically   stretched that the only thing you could do was 
just get go out onto the street and dance until   you dropped and i really felt that so deeply i 
understood it i was like that makes sense to me   to do that exactly that sort of relationship with 
movement and expressing yourself as a yeah it's   absolutely nuts when you start reading about 
it and then you sort of click to the next ice   cream like oh my god this is crazy but um it 
made me think you know sort of i i've always   been quite a reserved person i think from my 
family being quite reserved in terms of you know   sort of my mum dancing that she's going to 
watch this no offense mum but you know it's   very kind of like site step to you know and 
there's there's no freedom there in terms of   yeah create it but i i always really wished i 
had that and so when you see people have that   i think it must just be a wonderful thing did you 
you studied um technical dance not so long ago a   few years ago is that right i did i think it was 
a big part of um dancing or kind of collective   joy such a big part of my life and you 
know when i kind of stopped drinking   dancing was really like what i missed and so i 
started training in technical dance and it really   helped a lot because it's also like going on big 
benders is a way to expel energy really so you   have this huge build up of creative energy and 
racing thoughts you don't know what to do with   them so you like trigger a bender and it will 
reset everything um in a very dysfunctional way   and this just felt like a more functional way 
of expelling a lot of creative energy and so   yeah it's like eight years or something and it 
really helped me find a new way of expressing   myself and of using the body yeah so i think 
it was one of the things that i sort of missed   the most it is sort of the unself-consciousness of 
dancing as well and there's nothing i like to see   people dance brings me so much joy because it is 
a kind of it's coming together in collective joy   and freedom seeing groups of people dance yeah it 
totally is i've lost any kind of fear i had now   because i've got kids now and so i don't want them 
to have it so i just go for it now i'm probably   like the embarrassing mum did you have a moment 
when you were sat recording a video with bill   nye who's playing your anxiety thinking this is a 
busy you know i never imagined that i would be sat   here i know i was like life is amazing um i mean 
and the best thing about it was that when we were   performing together he was being my anxiety 24 
hours so he was on the phone being like well let's   like go through her childhood i think and let's 
think about something from there oh oh i was and   oh he would say to me do you want to go through 
that like thing that you said that you think might   have come off weird that person five months ago 
should we run that a couple of times i was like   yeah yeah run that run that so he was really kind 
of very committed fully to the role of my anxiety   but just so nice to spend time with and just such 
an incredibly elegant performer it was amazing to   watch him in action like what an incredible thing 
to witness yeah i loved it and with all the um the   visuals and the aesthetic of the record as well 
i noticed when you performed at the billboard   music awards you had the moon on stage as well is 
this kind of quite symbolic in terms of well the   record it was interesting because it was 
like everything in the world that sort of   everything that i'd known had gone and i was at 
home and it was sort of a futureless but the moon   it was like that was still there and the seasons 
changing was still there and so there was a sort   of consistency in a communication with nature 
became really important in terms of as bad as   things got the moon was always beautiful and 
i kind of have always had that with the sky   itself of like no matter where i was at in my 
life or as bad as things got the sky was always   beautiful to me and this sense of that there 
was something bigger than my feelings and bigger   than what i was going through and i think 
a lot of my work is trying to get outside   of myself and outside of my thoughts so looking to 
something bigger and yeah then yourself is sort of   so yeah there's a lot about the moon on this 
record because i felt like it was kind of that   sort of what i was talking about being sort of 
like losing it in my garden and just being like   crying at the moon looking oh is it the mighty 
boosh the one where the moon talks oh yeah the red shoes because which is also a sort of 
fairy tale about a woman who kind of can't stop   dancing with these cursed shoes and so it brought 
it back again to the cory mania of the record   full circle love it and find it how is it 
working with a dave bailey because i mean   they've had a phenomenal couple of years 
haven't they glass animals yeah it was   funny because he was like glass animals were 
having their kind of biggest hit and he was   stuck in his kitchen so when we met we were sort 
of that we were like only hanging out with each   other really it was like in the studio at home in 
lockdown yeah and that's kind of well that those   are that's where we made my love and all of those 
and i think at that point we both needed catharsis   so much that this sort of dance it was funny it 
was nice to take dave bailey over the dark side   because like firstly we made my love which is 
quite sort of euphoric and then i just dragged   him over to daffodils which was really dark and 
then i just everything that he would do i'd be   like scarier darker because he's naturally quite 
like buoyant and everything you know it's bright   and breezy euphoric and lovely and i was like make 
it scarier that was really fun to do to go on that   journey yeah oh brilliant and they had they were 
it wasn't the most globally streamed track i think   they had a week where they were just like kings 
but just the nicest person and really sort of   resurrected the record really it was sort of very 
lost like i couldn't get i didn't i'd started the   record with jack and i couldn't get back to him 
for a year and a half there was no travel there   was no like leaving and the record we nearly 
scrapped it because i just i don't know how to   yeah i don't know where this is going and sort of 
meeting dave really did like resurrect the project   well it sounds completely fully formed to 
a consumer to listen like me i absolutely   i was so worried that because it was such a i 
was like this is just chaos i like it it's good   it must be so nice to be back on the stage i'm 
sure that you'll just have these moments of just   soaking it all up when you're on this next run i 
think it's really going to sink in if we get to   the tour right now i think there's still been so 
many kind of stops and starts and every show feels   like it might not happen still i'm really looking 
forward to getting the tour and being able to now   people seem to really embrace this record which 
i'm so grateful for i'm looking forward to getting   to play some of the album tracks a lot and 
really create the world visually on stage um   yeah to really kind of make the horrific fairy 
tale of it all very real i feel very excited about   yeah i can't wait to see it thank you so much your 
time florence thanks a lot thank you for having me

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