Interview: FLØRIS – Smooth Sailing

FLØRIS is a solo artist based in Cape Town, South Africa. His musical style incorporates elements of Indie, Pop, Alternative, Disco, Funk and Blues. He creates guitar textures layered on top of ambient synth sounds, driven by a steady groove and topped off with punching vocal melodies, all blended together to create a soulful, upbeat and most importantly, groovy signature sound.

Hi Floris, how are you today?

I am doing great thank you! It’s an absolute pleasure to talk to you and to be featured on your blog.

How would you describe your sound?

It’s usually difficult for me to define my sound, I usually prefer it when someone else does it for me. I would say the golden thread through all of my songs would be to have a decent aspect of groove. I have a lot of soul, funk and blues influences in my musical background, which usually influences the core of my sound, and I enjoy mixing that up with indie, pop & disco elements to add some colour to it.

Which artists have influenced you the most?

Because I started out my musical journey with playing guitar, I’ve always been influenced greatly by iconic blues musicians such as Jimmy Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Mayer etc. I’ve always loved Arctic Monkeys too. Lately, I’ve been listening to some disco/funk artists such as Daft Punk, Franc Moody, Nile Rodgers, Parcels etc. which has inspired me to add more synth-driven sounds and modern elements to my music while still retaining a somewhat retro/vintage sound.

How did your latest single, ‘Smooth Sailing’, come about?

Smooth Sailing is a song that I wrote about a year and a half ago. While I was writing it I was thinking of a previous job I had that was so demanding that it completely consumed my whole life and changed my lifestyle against my will. I realised that that was not a way that I wanted to live and I’m fortunate to say I’m not in that situation anymore, but many people do not have the option of moving on from such an environment, and many even believe that this way of living is in fact normal. This experience taught me the importance of keeping a healthy living balance. This song was my way of expressing some of the feelings I had during that time in my life and aims to be a reminder that there’s a whole world out there to experience and not to be taken for granted.

And are you planning to make it part of a larger release, such as an EP or album?

I’ve been in and out of the studio for the first half of 2020 writing and recording music and Smooth Sailing is the first song to be released forming part of an extended single release campaign running over the second half of 2020 into 2021. All of the songs I’ve been working on are quite unique and I wanted to give each of them the best chance to be heard and therefore decided not to release them as an EP or album, but rather to release each of them individually as singles. I’m happy to say that more music is coming!

The lockdown has affected everyone’s plans, but what are you doing to stay productive and are you still able to work on new music?

It has certainly changed the way we do things and what our priorities are in a significant way whether we wanted it to or not. In a way, it’s actually given me the opportunity to focus on aspects of my music I usually would not have had the time to focus on. Being forced to hit pause on your social life and the other aspects that come with lockdown opened up a lot of time for me to be able to write music and also to focus on the administrative side of being an independent musician, an aspect just as important as the music that many people overlook or are often not aware of.

What advice would you give to other artists trying to stay productive during this crisis?

My advice would be to adapt to your environment and use this time wisely. Focus on writing music and developing a strategy that you can kick off when musicians can go back to performing live again. All of these things need to happen somewhere in your career, and instead of taking time off from performing later when live shows are part of our lives again, rather get as much of it out of the way now so that you can go back with a blast when life goes back to normal(ish).

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