Photos by Osman Balkan and Eran Hilleli
Flora joined us for coffee nearby rue Mouffetard, in Paris to have a chilled interview in this vibrant area. We took the opportunity to buy some cheese and wine and then sat at the table of a nice bar.
Flora is a talented composer and songwriter, who can perform real one-woman shows thanks to her ability to harmonise voice, keyboards and percussions. She’s like a blossoming Israeli flower, who has joined the electro pop wave of this generation, taking her first steps on the international stage. From Tel-Aviv to Berlin, including Paris and New York, we surprisingly found her as the opening act of Lora Gibson and Asaf Avidan.
[infobox bg=”bluelight” color=”white” opacity=”off” subtitle=”Article conducted in English by Pauline ( @PaulineTUCOULET ) & Renan ( @Villtur ) for Radiovnl.fr and translated into English by Radiovnl.fr very own Audrey”]Editor’s Note[/infobox]
Flora’s unique sound, is composed by looping vintage keyboards, live minimal beats, and the use of her own voice as an instrument, to create a tasty blend of female indie-pop. Or as someone once put it – “an electro- Joni Mitchell”.On her way, going through different cities and performing, she progressively found substance for her first album “Happy Today” (2010), which enabled her to practice the sounds of her long-awaited second album. The songs of the album were not created in the regular process of songwriting, but rather as electronic experiments at her home studio. Among others she used sounds from everyday life – like a conversation in Amharic from the Ethiopian immigrant population on Frenkel St. Tel-Aviv and the creak of a chair.
The album was produced by herself and her partner musician Kfir Sarid, and got praised in the media “Great talent… heartache and pure emotion delicately handled by the production and the impressive sound”. She played with our emotions when forcing us to wait, but she finally comforted us when her new single “Everything is here” was released in June 2013.
[title subtitle=””]The Interview[/title]
Pauline & Renan : Hey Flora, how are you doing ? How long have been in Paris ?
Flora: I’m very well thanks, I’ve just arrived earlier this morning, so I can be ready for tomorrow night’s concert (ndlr : 17.10.13)
Where are you performing ?
I’m playing at the Zénith de la Villette with Asaf Avidan. I’m one of his four musicians that have accompanied him in his world tour “Different Pulses”. I did the opening act for him in Clermont Ferrand, in London.
Have you ever been to Paris for your own show ?
Yes, I know this city quite well. The first time I went on a Parisian stage was on September 21st at La Flèche d’Or (10ème). But I also performed in few cities in France, as instance on September 25th I was at the Cooperative de Mai in Clermond-Ferrand. I keep very good memories of this experience, the vibe was amazing.
Your solo career seems to materialize, and you’ve finally taken your first steps on the international musical stage. Tell us about your path.
Since my very young age, my father has initiated me to music thanks to his classic acoustic guitar; he is a professional musician in Tel-Aviv. His passion made me able to integrate Jerusalem University, from which I’ve recently graduated.
However, it wasn’t a classic schooling. I learnt composition, improvisation and scenic performance. This course opened my mind on sounds I had never really experienced before, such as “free jazz”. I believe this course has been a great and fruitful opportunity for my musical career and me.
I think that before starting to perform solo, you were part of a music band. Why did you choose to play in solo ?
Yes that’s true. Few years ago, I created a band with some musician friends. But as there was no real opportunity to live of our music, I wanted to gather all my chances to become, when the time would had come, a professional musician and an independent artist.
I also think that playing solo is more interesting. I view it as a challenge. I wanted to be independent to choose my music, my sounds and my travels. I try to be precise in my music, so it can genuinely reflect who I am and what I feel. I really play for myself in the first place, and as you have somehow a responsibility towards other members when you play in a band, I’d rather like this responsibility to involve only myself. One also needs to know that productions are usually quite small and they prefer producing independent artists rather than a group.
Why this name “Flora” ?
My real name is Liron-Flora. But I needed a stage name that would match my music and my personality. So I chose my middle name because I love nature and I love music with an organic aspect. My compositions are always in motion, arranged and improved. They have to be “a thing” in constant evolution, as a flower that grows and blossoms.
How would you describe your music ?
That’s a difficult question. As I also compose according to my feelings, I can’t really describe my music in a precise manner. I guess I’m more electro, electro-pop oriented or perhaps more an indie-type of music. I actually feel it as something positive and melancholic in the meantime.
Where do you find your inspiration ? Who are your muses ?
As for my style, the artist Feist inspires me (laugh) but as for my music, I try to create something that would mix the sounds and vibes of Bjork, James Blake or Joni Mitchell. The music of a friend of mine, Rani Dan, has also been a great source of inspiration. I think he has an outstanding talent. However, my sensibility comes from the experience I have when I used to listen to Ella Fitzgerald.
You said your music is positive and melancholic, yet “Plastic Bag” is not like that at all. This song is rather powerful, harsh and sad, why ?
I do think that my music has something cheerful, beautiful and melancholic. It’s true that “Plastic Bag” completely departs from this idea, because it transcribes a really bad experience I had quite a while ago now. By being naïve, I ended up in danger in one of the red-light district of Tel-Aviv. I was with a friend when some misogynous men accosted me. This song reflects this exact moment, the fear and anger I felt. It’s a really bad experience that upset me a lot, and I chose this idea “I put a plastic bag on my head” to express this fear ant to protect me emotionally from this experience.
When will you reveal your second album ? What will be the theme ?
My album should be released within the next two months I guess. I still need to work though, to perfect it. There won’t be any kind of theme. I still want to reflect certain sensations and feelings. My work focuses on the emotions before I can think about the musical phrases. I want my album to symbolise my impetus for life, the fact that one can always enjoy every second of it. I would like this to be perceived, as in the notes of Chilly Gonzales that I do admire as an artist.
Will it be released on vinyl ? By the way, what do you think about this format ?
Oh, I love it! I genuinely wish my music could be listened on vinyl. It would be quite expensive though so I can’t really afford that for the moment. I really like the vinyl format; I think it gives a musical texture very different from the digital one.
Thank you so much Flora for this wonderful chat ! We wish you all the best !
Mazel Tov! (laughs)
We had the chance to spend an amazing time with Flora. One says that she can shush the whole concert hall and make a charming feeling of broken-heart float above the audience… Flora puts one’s mind in an emotional turbulence and her notes are like thoughts of humanity. In fact, she is more than an artist to listen to; she is an experience to live.
Words by Pauline, Renan and Audrey.