Interview with Floods

Words and Cover Photo by Emily May

New to the electronic/indie-pop music scene is Louisville, Kentucky based band FLOODS is taking the industry by storm. Formerly known as Mirror Eyes, the band has a new name, new sound and are ready for their new. Comprised of Emily PratherSam Stamper and Jake Snyder, the trio is quickly gaining fans with their fun and infectious sound.  With musical influences ranging from 80’s electronic music to contemporary electronic bands such as CHVRCHES, Purity Ring, the band is poised to keep growing their fan base and gain popularity.  Having just released their debut album BADTIMES on February 23rd via InVogue Records, the band is ready to keep their momentum going. Our staffer, Emily May, was able to meet up with the band recently at a coffee shop in Louisville to discuss their transition to FLOODS, their love for the Louisville music scene, the inspiration behind their music videos and the recording of their debut album.  You can check out the band’s video below for “Feel So High” below and can stay up-to-date with the band on Facebook right here.

Emily May: Sam and Emily- you were both in Mirror Eyes before the band changed it’s name to Floods.  How did you two meet or did you know each other before the band formed?

Emily Prather: Yeah…

Sam: I think it was 2010-2011…we were in a band with Jake called My Fake Hero.  We were really good (laughs)!

EP: Yeah, we just kind-of grew up playing music together in our teen years.

S: They’re (Emily and Jake) cousins and I just joined their band.

EM: What prompted you to change the band name from Mirror Eyes to Floods, as well as the sound of the band?

EP: I think we really just wanted something new.  For the most part, anytime we would really sit down to write music, it would be what this album is.

S: It would be more of an electronic sound.

EP: Yeah, so this was like our secret little side project that we would always get together and write for.  And with Sam, it’s really easy to put his kind of guitar over electronic stuff, so we said “why don’t we just do that?  Why don’t we just start fresh”?

S: We’ve played a lot of music with distortion on guitars and drums…been in punk bands and metal bands for so long that it was time for a change.

EP: Yeah, we just want to dance and have fun!

S: I’ve been pushing for it for, like, four years (laughs)!

EM: You all were previously based in Nashville.  What led you to relocate to Louisville?

S: We were in Nashville, basically, because Jess was based in Nashville.

EP: Yeah, we’re actually from the Louisville area.

S: In Mirror Eyes we actually had two people in New Jersey that moved here (Louisville), and then we were here and Jess was in Nashville.

EP: It was easier to say we were from Nashville because more people were like “oh, Nashville!” (laughs).

EM: So you all grew up in Louisville?

EP: Yeah, Jake and I are from Indiana but it’s like 10 minutes from Louisville…close enough (laughs).

S: I’m from Frankfort, which is about an hour away.

EP: It’s really nice having us all so close together right now.

EM: What do love about Louisville and the music scene here?

S: It’s SO different!

EP: It is!

EM: How does the scene in Louisville compare to Nashville?

Jake: It’s more diverse.

S: Louisville, in general, is super diverse all over.  You have NuLu, you have The Highlands, you have different kinds of people everywhere.  You have bands like Artifex Pereo, XXI and Knocked Loose, who is getting really huge right now!  And then you have bands like The Pass, who are really good!  Every venue kind-of has it’s own scene too. I really like the Louisville music scene a lot.

EP: I feel like there’s a lot of younger people, as well, in the music scene here. It’s not just a lot of older bands who have been doing it forever, you know?

S: It’s just cool, because we’ve been in the scene so long that we get to see everybody who started out in one band who is in a different band now that’s doing really well.  And some of the people in those bands are people we played with in bands five years ago.

EP: Like, we used to play with Knocked Loose!  And now they’re headlining everything!

S: It’s just cool to have been in it and around it for so long and watching everybody kind-of…

J: Just watching them grow up.

EM: I have noticed that, too, though, that every venue kind-of has it’s own scene!

S: Yeah.  Like, if you want a certain type of show you go to a certain venue.  You go to shows at Spinelli’s if you want to throw down and you go to Zbar if you kind-of just want to chill out.  But yeah, I like Louisville a lot.

EM: What led to your former singer, Jess Coppens, to depart from the band?

EP: I think we just had different ideas for the direction of the band, honestly.  And I think we…you know how sometimes people just mesh well together and their work flow is in synch?  I think we realized that we all worked differently.

J: I think everybody is happier now.

EP: It just seemed like the best thing to do.

EM: Did you all grow up in pretty musical and creative households?

EP: Yeah, I did.

S: My house was sports (laughs)!  I mean, my dad was a DJ forever ago and my uncle always played music, but my house was mostly a sports house.

EP: I am on both sides.  My grandma and grandpa were in a band together.  My grandma bought me my first drum kit.  On my dad’s side, they’re all musical too.  I learned how to play guitar from my aunt.  I definitely grew up with that influence in the house.

J: I think my dad used to play the piano when I was really little and then he stopped.  I’ve just always loved music.

EM: So, as kids, you always wanted to be in a band and play music when you got older?

The band- Oh Yeah!

EP: Life goal (laughs)!

EM: [Emily], You played the drums previously in Mirror Eyes and briefly in Floods before Jess left.  What has it been like for you to transition from drummer to singer? You’re definitely more “out there” as the singer!

EP: Yeah, like WAY out there (laughs)!

EM: Do you get stage fright?

EP: No, well…they had never heard me sing, I guessbefore we started recording.  So that was kind-of scary!

S: It was weird (laughs)!  We didn’t have a singer and our manager was going to set up some auditions but Emily was like “I’ll sing”!  She sent over some demos and we were like “ok, we’ll roll with it and see what happens” (laughs)!

EP: But yeah-I like it!  It’s fun!  It’s cool because it’s the first time I’ve ever felt, like, challenged with music, if that makes sense. I’ve always played drums, I’ve always done that, and every show’s kind-of been the same for me.  But now…this is out of my comfort zone and I get so excited about it.

EM: Who were your musical influences growing up?

J: Kid Rock (laughs)!

EP: No, not Kid Rock (laughs)!

J: When I was really little I liked Van Halen.

S: Oh man, that’s mine all the way!

EP: He would play the Van Halen solo every time we hung out (laughs)!

EM: Which era?  Sammy Hagar or David Lee Roth?

J: David Lee Roth!

S: Sammy Hagar does Tequila though (laughs)!

J: That’s true.

EP: Growing up, though…I’m trying to think…

EM: Is there anyone you heard that made you think “I wanna do that when I grow up”?

EP: In high school, I listened more to, like, Paramore and Metric.  But then, over the next few years, I started listening to Purity Ring and really cool electronic artists and instrumentals.

S: I feel like every day a new band is popping up that we end up really liking!

EM: Do you have any current influences or favorite bands that you are listening to?

EP: Purity Ring!

S: Mine is Cherry Pools!  Man, they’re so good!  They’ve only got two songs out right now.  They’re like an American version of The 1975.  They have a sax solo-they’re so good!

EP: Also, The Midnight!

S: The Midnight are SO good!  Anything with a saxaphone solo is really good!

EP: Have you heard of them?

EM: I haven’t, but I’ll check them out!

S: Vampires…that’s the song.  You won’t be able to turn it off!

EM: What is your songwriting process?  Do you all write the songs together?

J: It’s all just bits and pieces, really.  We’ll all just have parts of a song that we just throw back and forth.

EP: I feel like it all comes together more in the studio.  When we first start…we have like a little studio space set up in his apartment…we just chill out there and write a bunch until something sounds good.  Then Sam will usually track his stuff over it and that’s about it! 

EM: What’s the inspiration behind your lyrics?  Do you draw on personal experiences or things that are happening in the world?

EP: I would say personal experiences.  With this album a lot of the songs were just kind-of about…not to sound moody, but just about being lost, I guess.  It’s about the way that we are all this young age and just wanting to go out and have fun with our friends and just trying to figure things out.

J: Just kind-of about where we are in life right now.

EM: How did you come to sign with In Vogue Records?

S: It was really weird…really quick and really weird (laughs).  It was in August of 2016.  I was sitting at Hooters (laughs)…

EP: Oh god!  I haven’t heard this story (laughs)

S: Our manager at the time sent a text and said he was about to have a phone call with InVogue Records.  I’m just sitting there and ten minutes later he texts asking if we’d like to be on InVogue Records (laughs).  We were like “Sure”!  So, like, a week and a half later that happened!  Nick’s (Nick Moore, founder of the label) been cool though!

EP: Yeah, I guess he’d been watching us for a while.  We noticed he had been following us on Instagram!

S: We had the Mirror Eyes deal but went back and re-did an album as Floods, and we kind-of had to pitch it over to him again.

EP: So we kind-of had to re-sign, I guess.

S: I mean, it was different but Emily just sent it over to him and he agreed to put it out!

J: Yeah, they’ve been super supportive.  They’ve been awesome!

EM: Your debut album just released on February 23rd.  How has the response been so far?  Any favorite songs on the album?

EP: The response has been really good!  We’re really happy with the response!

S: You get a few You Tube trolls, but… (laughs)

EP: A lot of the reviews have been great!  I’ve noticed, too, that we’ve started gaining more fans that we probably wouldn’t have had without this kind of music.  It’s cool to see new fans come in and be like “oh, I like this, this and this band…and you guys”.  We’re like “oh, you like CHVRCHES AND us?”.  To be in that company is flattering!

S: It’s different.  It’s just a change of pace.

EM: Have a lot of the fans you had in Mirror Eyes been supportive of the transition?

S: It’s been a mixed bag.

EP: I think so!  There are definitely those fans who were more of a fan of the heavier stuff, but…

EM: Sometimes fans aren’t happy when a band changes their sound.

EP: Yeah, I mean some people have been like “we like the old sound”, but we’re a new band with a new sound!

EM: Sometimes a band’s musical tastes just change and they want to try something different!

S: I think that’s a big reason why we ended up going with a different name for the band.  We were really thankful to have all of our fans coming out to our shows, but we definitely wanted this album to have an identity of it’s own.  We weren’t really trying to compare it to the previous sound.

EP: We just have such a different sound now.  It would have been weird!

S: I’m the only person doing the same thing in this band.  I mean, there’s only two of us now (Emily and I) that were in that band.  We get compared a lot to them but we’re really not even trying to compete with them, so we changed the name and the style and we’re just having fun with it!

EM: What was the process like in making the album?  Did it come together pretty quickly?

S: It came together really quickly!

EP: Yeah!  We had a bunch of demos that we used to write.  We had years worth of electronic demos, actually!

S: We were literally sitting in the studio and and Emily said “oh, I have this demo from 3 years ago” and played it.

EP: It was the song Badtimes!  It was the last song we recorded!

J: I think we had one more day left in the studio.

S: Nobody had even heard it and she was like “I think I’ve got this” (laughs)

J: It’s one of my favorite songs.

EP: Yeah, I love that song!

EM: Where did you record the album?

EP: Threshold studios in Indianapolis with Brian Thorburn.  He’s awesome!  I love him.  He’s amazing!  He can take an idea that you have and flip it over and make it a thousand times better.

J: And it’s still the same song.

S: He can change everything about it but when you listen to it it still has the same feel.

EP: I know in the song Chasing Lines, in the chorus, there’s this weird synth part.  When he was doing it, we were all like “I don’t know”, but we worked on it and now it’s our favorite part of the song!  It’s just nice to have someone that puts ideas into your head.

J: But doesn’t tinker too much with the original song.

EM: Did you know about Threshold Studios before recording?

S: We met a guy when we did warped Tour in 2015 (as Mirror Eyes).  He’s the manager of the studio and told us we should go and record at the studio and we were like “sure, whatever” (laughs).  We had only ever recorded at a studio in New York or New Jersey, like, one time.  So we were like “alright, so you want to record?  That’s great”!  It’s ended up being a really good fit.

EM: You put out music videos for “Heavy Hearts” and “Feel So High”, both of which were directed by John Fleischmann.  How did you meet and start working with him?

EP: He’s actually in a band called Convictions who are also signed to InVogue Records.

S: Nick asked us if we had anyone in mind for a music video and we said no.

EP: And we had a time limit so we had to get these out.

S: Nick offered to hook us up with John from Convictions to shoot a couple of videos over 3-4 days.

EP: Yeah, it was basically just us hanging out with him and filming.  It was a lot of fun!

EM: How did you come up with the ideas for the videos?  Did you collaborate with the director or were they just spur of the moment ideas?

EP: For “Feel So High”, I know we wanted something that had a lot of light traces and things like that.  We kind-of wanted something that just makes you feel trippy…makes you feel so high (laughs).  We wanted lots of visuals and things like that.  Plus, it was the first time we had ever released a video so we wanted people to see us, so there wasn’t really a story.  It was kind-of just us jamming.  With Heavy Hearts, the song is just kind-of about reckless behavior…just about growing up and being like “whatever” and “I’m invincible”.  When you’re feeling down, or whatever, you hang out with friends.  So we just hung out and filmed ourselves.

J: I feel like the next video is going to be more story-driven.

EM: Do you enjoy making videos?

The band- OH YEAH!

EP: What we want to try to do, even if it’s on our own, is to make sure we’re releasing content-even if it’s just a stripped down video.

EM: Do you know what your next video will be or have any ideas in mind?

J: Yeah, we have a few ideas but we just want to rush things.

EP: I think we’ll just try and get feedback on what people like and then go off of that.

EM: Do you think you will use the same director?

EP: Maybe…I don’t know!

EM: Do you have any interest in directing yourself?

EP:  Yeah-I want to so bad actually!  I would love that!  I think that would be cool!  We’ll give you credit for the idea (laughs).

EM: I know you did Warped Tour before, with Mirror Eyes.  Are there any festivals that you that you would really love to play as Floods?

EP: Yeah, so many festivals!

S: I’d love to Bunbury in Cincinnati.  I think that would be cool.

J: Bonnaroo.  I’m dying to do Bonnaroo!

EP: That’s Jake’s favorite.  He goes every year (laughs).

S: Firefly would be cool!

EP: I wanna do a cool overseas festival and just be so out of our element!

S: I just want to do something completely different.  We’ve done the warped tour thing, and it was a lot of fun, but a change of pace, a change of crowd and a change of scenery would be nice.

EP: That’s the cool thing about our music now.  We can fit into those kind-of crossover festivals.

EM: Is there anyone you are dying to tour with or collaborate with?

S: Yes!  Post Malone!

J: I think it would be cool to tour with someone who’s not really like us but still fits with our sound.

S: I think it would be cool to tour with some hip hop artists, too.

EP: Yeah, man…there’s just so many!  Twenty just went through my head right now (laughs)!  That would be cool though, to find somebody similar and build a tour around it.  There are definitely other electronic artists we’d love to tour with.  I’d love to tour with Tycho or CHVRCHES…bands like that!

EM: Do you think you will do song collaborations with anyone?

EP: Oh yeah…for sure.  I know we’ve talked about maybe doing remixes of certain songs and having different bands or producers come in to work on them.  That would be fun!

EM: Are there any Louisville bands that you’d like to work with?

S: There’s so many great bands.  A local band that I would actually love to work with that would fit with us would be The Pass.

EP: I would love someone local that’s either a rapper or someone really hardcore to just distort and scream on a track but make it sound like Crystal Castles!

EM: What’s next for Floods?

S: We have a tour in April or May or June?

EP: We have three that we are kind-of talking about.  One is definitely happening that’s kind-of in the Midwest.  We’re still getting all of the details so I don’t really have any news or anything.  So touring a bunch, probably, and releasing bunch of little videos.  We even talked about, since we like to program, just doing short interludes of music just to be giving people stuff.

J: Maybe doing some covers.

EM: Who would you like to cover?

S: I wanna cover Wham (laughs)!

EP: We’d love to do some 80’s remakes, like some really cool 80’s remakes!  Also, some trap and hip hop songs, but make them ours and chill them out!

EM: Do you think you’d ever do an album of covers?

EP: Yeah, actually!  That would be sick!

EM: Thanks so much for talking with me!

The band- Thank you!

Check out the video for “Feel So High” below:

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