When: 7.30pm on Friday 6 March 2015
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE
We’re excited to be working with Fortuna Pop!’s Flowers for the first time!
London trio Flowers released their debut album Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do in September 2014 via Fortuna POP! (UK/EU) and Kanine Records (USA). Produced by Bernard Butler, the album captures the intensity of being young in fourteen deceptively simple pop songs that take their power from their brevity, elevated by Rachel Kenedy’s extraordinary voice.
Flowers are Sam Ayres (guitar/synths), Rachel Kenedy (vocals/bass/synths) and Jordan Hockley (drums), brought together by Sam’s advert for a singer to make music like ‘Madonna through a broken tape machine’. The three of them immediately moved in together and spent the following weeks writing pop songs, practicing daily in their living room and recording through the night, barely sleeping with the excitement of it all and amassing a huge collection of over a hundred songs in demo form.
When they posted the results of their feverish recording online, word quickly spread and within weeks they were touring Europe with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, despite never having played live before. More shows followed, including a support for Young Marble Giants in London at the behest of another fan who had discovered them via the internet, Young Marble Giants guitarist and songwriter Stuart Moxham. Appropriate first supports, as Flowers’ live performances draw a line between the joyous fuzzpop of The Pains and the minimalist brilliance of Young Marble Giants. The reception at the shows was nothing less than rapturous, with audiences blown away by their intensity and compelled by their sparse beauty: Jordan a physical yet inventive presence behind the drum kit, Sam a constant blur of kinetic energy on guitar and Rachel utterly still. The shows would often end with the stark and mesmeric Stuck, with Rachel alone, accompanying herself a one-string bass guitar, soul laid bare.
It was clear that Flowers needed a producer to help them capture the emotion and simplicity of their live show and that search led them to the door of Bernard Butler, whose track record and love of the Cocteau Twins marked him out to be the perfect choice. That and his love of the Gibson ES-355 guitar that Sam also plays. And so it was that Flowers’ very first foray into a proper recording studio was at Butler’s 355 Studio – a daunting prospect for a young band, softened by Butler’s sensitive production and access to his collection of beautiful analogue synths and Vox organ. Band and producer worked in harmony to produce a set of songs much cleaner and clearer sounding than anything they had recorded before, dispensing with the ‘wall of sound’ that characterised their home recordings and providing the clarity to allow the songs to breathe.
‘A little Jesus And Mary Chain, a lot of Black Tambourine, and one hell of a voice’ – DoNYC
Support comes from Gulf. The Liverpool-based group were named by the Guardian as one of the best new bands on 2014, explaining ‘we’ve heard six tracks and at least five of them are winners’. The NME, meanwhile, said that ‘Gulf continue their ascent into the pysch stratosphere’.