Absolute Radio DJ Ben Jones speaks to Florence and the Machine's Florence Welch live from the Isle of Wight Festival.
Ben Jones: Right. So it’s Absolute Radio at the Isle of Wight Festival and it’s actually yesterday, I’m talking to you from the past, where I’m sitting in a camper van with Florence. Hello.
Florence Welch: “Hello.”
BJ: How are you, madam?
FW: “I’m very well, actually, yeah, I’m glad to be here.”
BJ: Isn’t it weird to be time-travelling?
FW: “Do you know what? A lot of my interviews have been time-travel themed recently, this is an interview like Florence and the Time Machine so I had to go all the way back into the past, I’m an old hand. And I’m a Doctor Who fan.”
BJ: Are you really? I could see you in Doctor Who.
FW: “I like- you know what, I was going to like make a concept album called ‘This Time Machine Sucks’, by Florence and the Machine, and the album artwork was going to be just me looking moody, standing in a cardboard box.
BJ: (Laughter) That’s been scrapped now?
FW: “Do you know what, they weren’t too keen.”
BJ: I think you should definitely go with that.
FW: “This time machine sucks! I’ve got this time machine, if you get in for five minutes, it’ll take you five minutes into the future. How about that? (Laughter)”
BJ: Now let me ask you, so you played last night, how was the gig, was it amazing?
FW: “Do you know, what was so interesting was it was like we were using the venue for a uni ball, so it’s like a festival tent and there’s like all these fairgrounds, like rides. They like set a fairground outside and I was like, when I arrived, I didn’t know, I was like, ‘this is massive, what, have we got a fairground now?’ It’s part of kind of the whole thing, no one told me. That was exciting for a moment.”
BJ: Well, you’re never going to be happy until you have a fairground.
FW: “I know, I know, and now everyone’s really worried ‘cause I was like, ‘that’s a good idea’.”
BJ: Do a Ferris wheel, Log Flumes, you get Log Flumes.
FW: “Do you know what, I don’t like Ferris Wheels. But I like a Log Flume. I go on them.”
BJ: You like going forwards but not round and round?
FW: “I don’t like the height and ricketiness of it, I never feel that safe on them.”
BJ: So when I said you played last night, I was continuing with the time-travel theme and pretending for the purposes of this interview.
FW: “Oh, I got confused.”
BJ: That we were talking about your performance.
FW: “I did play last night, anyway.”
BJ: See, I didn’t realise that. But that went good as a fairground-, (Laughter) so this performance you did at the Isle of Wight Festival last night, was there any crowd surfers?
FW: “You know what, I appreciate a bit of crowd surfing. It’s funny to be coming and playing on the main stage because two years ago I was just here to do one DJ set. But I stayed for the whole weekend. (Laughter) And I can’t remember anything about my DJ set except for I maybe crowd surfed at the end of it, which how do you do that?”
BJ: It’s a difficult thing to do a DJ set.
FW: “It’s hard. I started, my DJ set though, I remembered how it started, I don’t remember how it ended, but I started it with ‘William Tell Overture’.”
BJ: It’s a good starter, yeah.
FW: ”Bu-da-dabu-da-da ba-da-da-da-da just standing there like, yes!”
BJ: How did it end?
FW: “I think with crowd surfing, and then trying to break in to the free cider tent by climbing over the fence, or something. I was, I came back from that, yeah, I was not very well behaved two years ago, I don’t think. But this year it feels quite nice to be coming back and playing the main stage.”
BJ: But you’re not available for private functions, if people want you to DJ, you don’t do that.
FW: “I did DJ at a friend’s wedding the other…”
BJ: Well, how did that go?
FW: “Well, not bad, what I’ve heard was, I DJed a friend’s wedding, just for fun, because they’re my mates, not like paid gig or whatever, but apparently like a friend of the family was in the village and they came, someone came up to them in a supermarket and was like, ‘Oh yeah, did you go to so and so’s wedding the other day?’, and they was like ‘Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah’, and they were like, ‘Oh yeah, it was great wasn’t it, it’s a shame about the wedding DJ though, (Laughter) God, I wonder how much they paid Florence to be there’. They were like, ‘Oh, that must’ve cost them a bit’, I was like, oh dear, maybe it didn’t go down so well.”
BJ: So have you been doing so many of these now you don’t get the chance to enjoy yourself cause you’re going to get on the bus and go to the next thing? Is it a bit like that these days?
FW: “Do you know what, it’s quite, I’m just very, very grateful to be here and to be playing the main stage and not kind of running around or in a heap somewhere. (Laughter) It’s nice to come back and have a real focus, and what I’m excited about now is doing the gig.”
FW: “It’s really, I feel really happy to be here.”
BJ: So what are you going to wear?
FW: “Ooh, well, I’ve got a couple of options, mostly diaphanous floaty things.”
BJ: What’s diaphanous?
FW: “Diaphanous, it’s kind of like big, floaty, kind of sheer things. Like you imagine what kind of, Stevie Nicks, sort of Goddess vibes, diaphanous gowns, that thing.”
BJ: Right, yeah, yeah, yeah.
FW: “That sort of thing.”
BJ: And will you have any trees on stage with you, or floral displays? (Laughter) Shrubbery?
FW: “Shrubbery, yeah, Florence and the Shrubbery. Is the shrubbery on my rider? I hope so. No, I think we’ve got like a couple of fl-, we’ve got the flowers and stuff, but they’re just like pound shop flowers.”
BJ: Is that right?
FW: “They’re stuck on.”
BJ: I thought you were at the stage now where you have a team of florists working around-,
FW: “Exactly, Interflora, coming with us. No, it’s still pound shop flowers, cause that’s what I used to decorate my stage with when it was just by myself. It was like, ‘Oh, go down to the pound shop, get like a picture of the Virgin Mary and some fake flowers and put them on the stage. Nothing’s changed. (Laughter)”
BJ: And is there any danger of you making a record any time soon, or are you…?
FW: “Well, I’ve started making it already.”
BJ: ‘Cause the last time I asked you about it, it was the last thing on your mind, you didn’t want to do it. It’s going good.
FW: “You know, I’m really, I feel really excited about it I think. I think like I’m going to be playing a new song tonight, I think. I think we are.”
BJ: What’s it called?
FW: “Are we playing a new song tonight on the set list? I can’t remember.”
BJ: Are they playing the new song?
FW: “Are we playing the new song?
Band mate: “’Strangeness and Charm’, yes.”
BJ: What’s it called?
FW: “It’s called Strangeness and Charm.”
FW: “But yeah, I wrote it just before I went to Australia and uh, we’ve written, I’ve got a new song that’s on the Twilight soundtrack, as well. So we’re going to start playing that soon.”
BJ: They love you then, vampires, don’t they?
FW: “Yeah. I think it’s ‘cause I’m so pale. (Laughter)”
FW: “One of us! (Laughter) Um, but yeah, we’ve got, so we’re going to be like, we’ve been playing the new song, it seems to be going down really well. It’s quite heavy, it’s quite dance-y. A lot of screaming.”
BJ: Oh, we love ought like that, I love ought like that, me, Florence, I love ought like that.
FW: “Do you know what, I went back to the record store yesterday where I got that Lubricated Goat LP from. Little, little record store in Cardiff. And I was going to buy a present but I’d run out of money. I still owe you that record. I’m going to get it to you."
BJ: I know, I am holding it against you. Look, I’d better let you go because you probably need to go change into an elaborate diaphanous costume.
BJ: Did I say that right?
FW: “Get my shrubbery in order? Shrubbery!”
BJ: I hope it goes great tonight and we’ll see you next at Latitude I suppose.
BJ: Very Exciting.
FW: “Big time. It’s my sister’s birthday then.”
BJ: It’s your sister’s birthday?
FW: “On the day that I play, yeah.”
BJ: Great, well I look forward to a big sing-a-long then. Florence, thanks so much for talking to us again.
FW: “No problem.”
BJ: Lovely to see you.
FW: “Yeah, nice to see you too.”
Florence Welch speaking to Absolute Radio DJ Ben Jones and go to www.absoluteradio.co.uk for the latest news, videos and performances from the Isle of Wight Festival.