Photo Credit: Travie Shoots
Ever growing and dare I say flourishing the band flor have been creating beautiful music since 2014. From Hood River Valley, Oregon to Los Angelos, California the band signed to Fueled by Ramen in 2015 and put out their debut album album come out. you’re hiding. Blending indie rock with pop rock influences the first album came together as bassist Dylan Bauld and vocalist Zach Grace mixed and collaborated all from a computer. For their sophomore album taking lots of things had learned from their years together as a band came ley lines the bands sophomore album that released on September 6th. ley lines Is a sharper more collaborative effort that has it’s roots in the performance for flor.
“The whole idea of the album was to take the energy that we have live and make that fit with the album,” Grace tells me on a phone call. The whole band, consisting of Zach Grace (lead vocalist, Raytheon guitar), McKinnley Kitts (lead guitar), Dylan Bauld (bass guitar, production), and Kyle Hill (drummer) is on the call in a hotel room after the first few days of their headlining tour being which started in Phoenix, Arizona.
With ley lines nothing and no one is disposable. Every member has a standout moment on the album making an exciting experience. Williams chimes in with talking about the process of writing the bands debut album, “When Zach and I made the first album on the computer we didn’t really think about the live elements. This time around we made sure that we every single section had something for audience to grasp. It made the record a lot more fun for us.”
“It’s clear that these songs are made to be played in front of an audience,” exclaims Kitts.
After getting to see the performance the next night in Houston, Texas (a sold out show they’ll be talking more about in the future article) I think mission was accomplished. Writing music for visuals isn’t uncommon in spaces like composing or musical theater, but for a band the idea seems a little unorthodox, but beneficial and very respectful of each members importance. “It’s all the years we’ve had playing together and understanding each other,” Grace explained when asked how the process of the writing music with live performance at the forefront. “Understanding our place in the songs. Understanding what looks best, even knowing what parts might be too hard to play live.”
“The more fun the crowd is having the more fun we’re having. It’s definitely worth it to include the audience in the record making process,” says Hill.
Building off Hill’s comment Kitt explains the desire to include fans in the music making process and show elements, “With this tour we try to build those moments where we interact with the crowd more. We’ve blasted through our sets in the past. We didn’t have a lot of fan interaction so we went into this tour with the intention of that.”
The current OnesToWatch tour that flor is headlining is supported by joan and lostcrowdboy. With a few sold out and close to sold out shows I asked the band a big question on being consider a raising stars. Somewhat humbly the band was a little to shy to answer at first, but then Grace spoke up. “Obviously it’s great,” he says “What it mostly means is that people see potential.”
“It’s cool, it’s a cool that people pay attention to that, but in reality we’re kind of creating a place for ourselves and our fans and that’s all we can really ask for,” explains Bauld. “If something comes along with that it’s cool, but we’re still just going to be making art for the arts sake.” The band expressed that they understand that popularity is a slow burn, but that it’s not important to them as long as they’re creating music for themselves and their fans. It’s a great philosophy.
The art that flor is a making reaches is one that is clean and soft. It’s art that is easy to connect with on many layers. It’s a delicate balance between mainstream indie music (an oxymoron, but a real thing) and pop rock from Warped tours of yesteryears. I ask the band about their softer aesthetic. “It’s based on a lot of what we listen to. We’re a little all over the place. I like the intentions behind the indie band. I like how they bash things out and that’s where I find myself finding inspiration for my lyrics,” says Grace. “Musically though we’re probably the most polished indie band out there.”
“It’s nice to hear where people say the music takes them,” says Bauld after I ask how they feel about their music inspiring their fans to either create or find serenity within their day-to-day. “The intention of the music meets you where ever you at. If you’re walking into the woods or just like listening quietly in your bedroom something thematically is allowing the listener to channel what it means to them.”
Bauld continues with “Our music isn’t intrusive, which is nice to hear, but if you want to you can dive into the album. It has a lot of depth.”
“Exactly,” says Kitts “If you listen to the songs there’s so many ways you can go with it, but you can also just have it on.” The free interruption of the ley lines and all of flors music is pleasant and encourages the community that the band is growing and inspiring.
I asked about the band with only a few months left of a year and this brand new album to promote of they had anything planned after this tour. “We have a couple plans. I don’t want to give too much away, but it does involve making music,” says Grace. “At start of the year we want to make sure back on the road again.”
With the goal of trying to reach as many places as possible Bauld hinted “We want to make sure the world hears ley lines the way it was intended to be heard.” Which is on stage with the crowd full of fellow fans singing your heart out.