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On our radar: Florence Black

Florence Black
(Image credit: Florence Black)

Florence Black started the old way; three childhood friends in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales forming a band because they loved playing music together. As a result their debut album Weight Of The World has been honed for years, and it shows.

"For me experience is the biggest factor in developing the sound of the band, guitarist/vocalist Tristan Thomas tells us. "So over the last eight years of playing gigs and watching the bands we love, I feel it’s taken this long to find the sound we wanted. Working with Romesh [Dodangoda, producer] really brought out the sound and energy that we wanted to get across in this record."

We’re definitely old souls

The result is a sound that could cross the generations and a young band who work quickly when they're inspired. "We’re definitely old souls – we feel like we may have been born in the wrong era," laughs Tristan. "But yes with this record we didn’t need much time to record it as we’ve been working on it for so long we knew exactly what we were looking for entering the studio. It only took us 10 days because we were so ready for it."

That cross-generational theme goes further; Tristan used to play in a band with Ray Phillips, the original drummer with Welsh heroes and fellow power trio Budgie – a key influence on Dave Mustaine and Metallica. Florence Black even covered Budgie's signature song Breadfan, just like Hetfield & Co. 

"I am a massive fan of Budgie," says Tristan. "And that three-piece set-up always appealed to me. They were so loud and powerful and that really connected with me. Ray taught me a lot as I was growing up, so I thank him for taking me under his wing and showing me the ropes."

How would you describe your sound to a new listener?

"I’d say it’s hard melodic rock music. But I think a lot of our songs sound different. Some heavier than others. Some really light but they've still got the Florence Black twist to them.  I try not to write the same sort of song twice."

Which of your songs best represents you and why?

"I think the latest single Sun & Moon as it’s got a bit of everything in it. The light, the shade and the melody. I do love songs without melody too, but the biggest thing to touch my soul when I’m listening to a song is the melody, the tune. If you start whistling it, you're onto something."

Florence Black

Florence Black (from left): Jordan Evans (bass), Tristan Thomas  and Perry Davies (drums) (Image credit: Florence Black)

Is there a particular album that had a big impact on you growing up?

"I would have to say Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. I can listen to that album all day without skipping a track, and Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar work and vocals are inspirational."

If you could steal the production off one album or track, which would you take and why?

"Hail To The King by Avenged Sevenfold springs to mind when it comes to production. The sound of that track is just perfect to me."

What has inspired the creative process for Weight Of The World?

"Whiskey."

What is your favourite musical experience/memory with the band so far?

"It has to be when we did shows with Stone Sour in France and Switzerland. Meeting Corey Taylor and his family and having food with them. That was unreal, I still can’t believe it happened as we are all massive Slipknot fans."

It’s important to always have an acoustic guitar around if I’m feeling creative

Do you have any go-to gear for songwriting and demoing ideas?

"I just have a simple set up in my studio. I normally pick up any acoustic guitar and start improvising. When I play something that really tickles my fancy I’d start working around that then. Take it to the computer and start demoing and building the song from there. It’s important to always have an acoustic guitar around if I’m feeling creative."

What instrument or piece of gear would you like to get next and why?

"I’m always on the lookout for old Japanese or Korean guitars. I’m addicted to them. There’s just something about them that I love. They are built so well and each one has a story to tell."

Where would you like to take your sound next?

"Wherever it takes us. We’re not going to force anything, we’re just going to let the music take over us and go from there. I’m extremely excited to record the second album already!"

Weight Of The World is out now. For more info visit florenceblack.uk

Rob Laing

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before that I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar.