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The Passion Machine
At the end of a victory lap of just about every major music industry awards show going, Hot Press manages to buttonhole the Oxegen-bound Florence Welch backstage at the Meteors. Tired but jubilant, the Amazonian belle of the ball spills the beans on collaborations with Dizzee Rascal and David Byrne, her adoration of Courtney Love and My Bloody Valentine, and reveals that all she ever wanted was to appear in an Andrew Lloyd-Webber production.
Stuart Clark, 24 Mar 2010
“What was also surreal was running into Mel B the other day. I went up to her and said, ‘Hi, I used to design outfits for you when I was 10.’ I think she thought I was a bit mad!”
While polar opposites musically, Florence has one thing in common with her fellow Brits show-stealer Lady Gaga, which is that they’re both brilliant pop stars.
“What a lovely compliment!” Ms. Welsh beams. “I adore Lady Gaga as a performer – she really captures the energy and joy of music, and being unbridled and unrestrained with your emotions and performance. There’s something fantastical her, which is quite rare these days. I also like the fact that she has that Warhol-y thing going on, and has been plotting her rise to superstardom since she was 18 and playing in dodgy New York nightclubs. She’s very careerist, but that’s okay.”
Courtney Love aside, who were the people growing up that Florence looked at and thought, “I want to be like them when I grow up!”
“My idols? Shirley Manson was my heroine for a while, but when Tragic Kingdom came out I switched my allegiance to Gwen Stefani. I know, fickle! I also love Grace Slick, Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks… oh my God, I’d probably pass out if I met Stevie! I danced on stage at the Secret Garden festival with Grace Jones who’s another amazing woman. People say that there aren’t enough female role models in music, but I had plenty as a teenager.”
While non-stop touring means that there’s unlikely to be a new Florence record until the latter half of 2011, fans desperate for new material will be able to hear her next month contributing to David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s Imelda Marcos concept album – yes, you read that right! – Here Lies Love.
“It’s like a sort of indie/big beat Evita!” she chuckles. “My involvement is through David who I met when he did that playing the building thing in the London Roundhouse – he attached devices to the pillars and pipes, which triggered noises that were then fed into a keyboard and manipulated. I don’t really understand the technology, but it sounded great! He’d asked me to sing on the album before, but that’s when I said, ‘Yes’, and spent a day in the studio with him.”