Ce clip n'est pas resté bien longtemps à la télé. En effet, il y avait une hésitation quant au choix du prochain single, Hurricane Drunk, ou la réédition de Dog Days Are Over. Ce fut Dog Days Are Over qui l'emporta. En Mars 2010.
Disclaimer: toujours pas propriétaire des droits. Universal Island 2010, Tous droits réservés
Pourcetterééddition, leréalisateur àencoreplusforcésurladope que le précédent,jecrois!Blanc departout, femmesbleues sortiestoutdroit de lascienceFiction des année 60, Kimono,choeurde Gospel Black, Explosion...delaFolie. Sortie en Mars2010 au détriment de HurricaneDrunk.
Disclaimer: Je ne possède aucun droit que ce soit sur la vidéo ou la chanson. Tous Droits réservés: Universal Island.
Singer of 'Lungs' climbs lighting rigs on stage, wails like a banshee and has a story of insomnia and macabre imaginings Sylvia Patterson
Florence Mary Leontine Welch is padding softly around a London exhibition called Exquisite Bodies. A ghoulish affair, it's a panoply of grotesque Victorian anatomical artefacts. Dissected female models, horns growing from hands, syphilitic heads in jars. “Victorian dead stuff, wow-ee,” marvels Florence in her exquisite English timbre, her copper-red mane plunging over her china-blue floral frock.
Welch, 23, better known as Florence and the Machine, is the most peculiar and most highly acclaimed female singer of the moment: poetic, literate, hurricane-voiced, prone to climbing up lighting rigs on stage because “flight is what I aspire to!” In the year that Lady Gaga became the world's biggest new pop star by pretending to be bonkers, Florence Welch actually is — a bamboozling concoction of cake-berserk seven-year-old child, mystical soothsayer and will-o'-the-wisp for whom life is “a constant acid trip”. She can erupt in theatrical reverie — “love is a yearning for the divine, a mania, a sickness” — then literally jump for joy: “I can get excited by a peanut!” Endearing, exhausting, heroically free from self-consciousness: no wonder the public is transfixed, its senses long dulled by immaculate studio sheen and lairy perv-pop “moves”.
We're ready for some spontaneous bedlam, for a twirling, head-shaking limb-quaking human prism who might explode on stage. Fans deem Florence's most ethereal songs “beautiful”, a word too-long missing from the contemporary pop lexicon. The crackling applause of 2009 is almost certainly just the beginning; with Europe already spellbound, she tours America next month, Rolling Stone having already likened her atmospheric thrills to “being chased through a moonless night by a sexy moor witch”.
In a year in which several idiosyncratic female solo artists have vied for pop's wonky-shaped new crown — La Roux, Little Boots, Bat for Lashes, VV Brown — Florence has won the Critics Choice award at the Brits, been nominated for the Mercury prize and earned a thunderous reception at Glastonbury (considerably less shambolic than her previous appearances: in 2007 she stayed awake “for two days and had to be revived, crying and shaking at 11am”, while 2008 saw her wear a Victorian clown suit for 48 hours — “Were drugs involved? I couldn't possibly comment!”).
By late July her debut album, Lungs, was at No 2 behind the suddenly deceased Michael Jackson, selling over 200,000 copies. No instant success (she's been on the periphery, as Florence Robot Is a Machine, with a stand-up drum and a guitarist, since 2006), this year she's been unavoidable. In January, The Culture Show's Lauren Laverne called her “the girl we'll all want to be in 2009, eccentric, glamorous and lyrical”, while Radio 1's Jo Whiley deems her “stunning”.
An art-school dropout blighted by lifelong insomnia, as a child she believed in werewolves and vampires and drew crosses on her bed to protect herself, while developing a fascination with Mary Shelley, murderers and “the beautiful but sinister”. She has always been drawn to the macabre. But at the sight of a scowling cyclops head she shrieks and scampers for the door.
“I can't handle it! I feel like a layer of skin has come off and I'm too raw to the world today.”
She seems oddly detached, edging towards the gallery bookshop. “I need to buy a notebook,” she whispers. “I'm having an out-of-body experience.” She is “discombobulated” from a late-night party and “a fight with my boyfriend”. Her boyfriend, Stuart, a skateboarder and literary editor, has asked her not to talk about him, “so
I won't, but it would be good to get last night on paper because then I'd feel more attached to my brain. I don't know what was the dream and what was the truth. Shit! But I'll have to go to a cashpoint...” I offer to buy Florence a notebook. “Really? Are you sure? Thank you so much!” she says and flings herself around my shoulders.
She buys some postcards, declaring a first-world-war ink sketch by Louis Raemaekers of a skeleton strangling a nurse, “incredible... terrifying!” She explains her fascination with the body's interior. “It's because I don't understand it... it's so much part of my life, being a body.” Then, to the shopkeeper's amusement, she begins flailing her limbs. “I grew my own body!”
Florence is as alarmingly surreal as, say, Kylie is alarmingly demure. Her album is a drum-driven, primal serenade to love, death and the twisted foibles of human nature — eyes gouged out, beds on fire, animals as human metaphor. She's a profoundly eccentric middle-class English girl. A singer from childhood, beginning with family funerals, she's a sonic Angela Carter, consumed by magic realism, the latest in a line of great English pop eccentrics: Kate Bush, Siouxsie Sioux, PJ Harvey, Alison Goldfrapp. Her videos are often set in woodlands, featuring clowns, coffins, barefoot prancing in billowing gowns; this month's Drumming Song features Florence sashaying through a church in a good-v-evil epic. “I was taught an actual dance routine,” she trills, “dressed as a Viking bat-woman.”
Paul Epworth, one of the producers of Lungs (whose previous clients include Florence's old school friend Jack Peñate), describes her as “away with the fairies... but very connected to her heart”. He worked with Florence in the dark, a colossal full moon projected on the studio wall providing workable moonlight. One session resulted in Florence's favourite song, Cosmic Love (created with her keyboard player, Isabella Summers, “in about half an hour”, as Florence notes, “with the worst hangover ever”). It's a song about how being in love means “you give yourself up to the dark, to being blind”.
A harp, drums and piano spectacular, “it's a beautiful piece of music anyway, but that vocal performance was otherworldly”, shivers Paul. “She reduced me and the other staff to tears. Her voice is almost like a field holler, and combined with the tenderness of the lyrics, it's lethal.”
Florence, genetically speaking, is Art. Her mother, Evelyn Welch, is an American professor of art history (as was her maternal grandmother) specialising in the Italian Renaissance. She would take Florence to Florence on educational pilgrimages, was a Studio 54 club regular acquainted with Andy Warhol (who was “in love” with her brother) and talks, insists Florence, like Loyd Grossman. Florence has watched her mother “lecture for an hour on one pair of scented Renaissance gloves. She's proper”. Her father, Nick Welch, is English, a music obsessive who works in advertising, is prone to the word “cripes”, calls Florence “the Daffy Diva”, and reportedly coined the Aero catchphrase “Have you felt the bubbles melt?” for Saatchi & Saatchi.
When Florence was a schoolgirl (at Alleyn's, a private school in Dulwich), the Welches attended a party in a working hospital with a Beatles lyrics theme. Florence dressed as Eleanor Rigby, carrying a crumpled photo of her face “in a jar”, while Dad opted for Hello Goodbye, wearing a backwards suit and a mask on the back of his head. “And my little brother came as Back in the USSR,” she chirps. “He was only 11 but he was so drunk my dad had to take him home.”
Her paternal grandfather, meanwhile, Colin Welch, was a legendary Fleet Street satirist and deputy editor of the Telegraph. “He was as brilliant in his own way,” concluded one obituary writer in 1997, “as the late Peter Cook.” Little wonder Florence is possessed by words, jokes and historically gothic imagery, her childhood spent in imaginative fancies pretending to be “a witch, or a fairy warrior, living in trees for weeks”.
After her parents divorced, her mum married the next-door neighbour, the two families merging to include six teenagers. “It was like the Brady Bunch,” she says. “For a long time
we really hated each other.” Bewildered, the 13-year-old Florence found solace in the caterwauling of Hole, Nirvana, Green Day, Kate Bush, Annie Lennox, the Velvet Underground and the unfeasible piping of Celine Dion. By 16, she could be found at gigs “in crypts”, crowd-surfing, straddling people's shoulders, “or doing handstands up against the wall”. She discovered ecstasy (today she swears drugs aren't good for her psychedelic mind: “I try and stay away from them!”) and found in the student bands emerging from nearby Camberwell College of Arts, “a parallel reality” she loved. “I thought 'This is it!'”
At school, she had been told off for impromptu singing. She is sure she has OCD and ADD, and was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysmetria, the inability to judge distance. Has she ever been on medication? “Nooo!” she squeals. “I don't ever think I'm not sane! And I wouldn't ever not want to be excited. If my thoughts were less prone to tangents, maybe I wouldn't write songs. Or sing.”
In her permanent state of yodelling distraction she left school, nonetheless, with “a whole load of GCSEs, straight As, I think” and three A-levels, As for art and English and B for history. At 18 she was a Camberwell art student herself (a 6ft-wide flower installation read You Are a Twat, “directed at myself”) and fronted two adolescent bands, the Toxic Cockroaches and Ashok. The latter was offered a contract by a manager, which she signed. Miserable and “in the wrong band”, she had her dad speak to a music lawyer, who said the contract would be nullified if Florence merely resigned, which she duly did.
“I just didn't have a nice time,” she frowns. “I didn't play an instrument, so I always thought I had to be a singer in a band... Then I found the drums.” In 2006 she became Florence Robot Is a Machine, played tiny London venues, where a reputation grew for unbridled performance idiocy, often involving stage-diving: “a leap of faith! I'm ruled by my emotions”. After 18 months at art college she dropped out to focus on music, creating her own greatest opportunity by following the London indie figurehead Mairead Nash (friend of Pete Doherty, Courtney Love and Donatella Versace) into the loo at a party in December 2006, drunk, hustling for gigs. “She was wearing a sexy boy's black suit,” marvels Mairead, “and then she started singing, really loudly. I'd never heard anyone sing like that. In six years of putting on clubs.”
Within weeks Mairead was her manager; within months Florence was signed to the independent label Moshi Moshi Records, and by November 2008 she was signed to Island Records. Today, she's been “gigging for years”, often in wilfully ludicrous outfits made of “old curtains”, or a Captain America costume, or gold-sequinned hot pants beneath a turquoise minidress “held together with a magnet”. Music, she yelps, arms outstretched, “should feel like a cataclysmic starburst”.
James Allan, the singer-songwriter with Glasvegas (fellow Mercury prize nominees), met Florence when the two bands appeared on the spring 2009 NME tour. “I thought she was the best female singer I'd ever heard,” he says.
“I told Florence that and she just looked all coy and laughed. If you do get a force of nature in music, if 'the real thing' does exist, then she is it. Electric. She's sprinkled with magic dust.
“We do mention the Milky Way,” smiles James. “She's got a mad wee brain. Maybe the nutters are winning. Aye! 'Cos we don't need awards, or Aldous Huxley. We just need passion.”
Lowlands Festival, Holland, August 23, 2009. “The world,” exclaims Florence, “is soooo beautiful! Look, there's two dragonflies having sex!” Florence is back to “normal”, her infinite alabaster limbs poking out from a cream-and-gold Zandra Rhodes vintage camisole-and-knickers all-in-one. “A nightie,” she notes, from beneath large John Lennon sunglasses. With hair under sunlight the colour of lava, she's the comedy Janis Joplin.
We're sitting at wooden garden furniture on decking outside her white marquee dressing room, by a glacial, green, reed-festooned lake. Drinking 6pm vodkas, it's the sort of life-affirming rural scene that bends Florence's brain towards death, her most constant lyrical theme.
“Death is timeless,” she avers, gothily. “Death. Life. Love. Faith. Everything else is transient. But thinking about death makes you closer to life. It's life I'm attracted to, the soul of things. I went to see a Beckett monologue last week.” She intones, faux-gravely: “'Rain... black mud... bubbling... black umbrellas... the hole, who is in there? A loved one.'” (As her dad might say, cripes!)
Her lifelong fascination with terror and doom was intensified by the death of all her grandparents within a few years, a litany of almost satire-level calamity. At 10 she saw her granddad Colin dying close up, although she wasn't close to him. “He didn't like kids. My main memory is of him making stewed plums. Then lying in a coma, this fragile person, paper-thin skin, like a sort of moth. Very beautiful. I remember my dad kissing him on the forehead. A strange role reversal, such a vulnerable moment. Anything bad happening to old men, I can't handle it. I have a thing about the vulnerability of the father figure, it makes me so upset.”
Her maternal grandmother was a manic- depressive who committed suicide when Florence was 14. “It was really sad. She was a brilliant woman. But I didn't really know her as a grandmother — when she came to stay she was very much on medication. But my mother dealt with it amazingly. She's so capable.”
Florence was far closer to her paternal grandmother, who was Scottish (at her funeral she sang Over the Sea to Skye), someone who was “always in the village play and good at doing voices, and I was good at voices... Then, she had a stroke”. She sips her vodka. “And my godfather, he died... That was really sad.”
Florence is psychologically prone to “falling into severe holes”, crying on the floor. Her brain is “a home for anxiety and fear. I hate the idea of hurting someone, of letting people down, or myself down. When I'm tired I feel like the most rubbish person ever”. She claims to have several “internal critics, in a constant dialogue, but I'm not schizophrenic or anything!” She sometimes feels she was “born out of time”. She is “terrified of technology. I can't work computers. I've got a Walkman — I love tapes”.
She finds British politics “meaningless — and Barack Obama is just so exciting”, an unapologetic idealist. “You want to have something to believe in. And be unbridled by cynicism. My generation are really hard on each other. A real sense of tearing each other apart, especially in those [gossip] magazines and TV and reality shows. Just out to vilify people. That frightens me. There needs to be acceptance of each other. People are scared, searching for purpose, taking their fears out on each other.”
On stage, she's told me, Florence feels “unhindered, the most free... from myself”. Perhaps she is a classic hippie. “I am not a hippie!” she roars. “I'm just an emotional creature. But I am interested in being free. And how you get there. I want to make people feel something good. It's essential. You should lift people.”
And now the Viking bat-woman is about to make Holland levitate. During Dog Days Are Over she invites the crowd to howl like wolves and leap into the air, which they do, spectacularly. By the end of Cosmic Love, a girl at the front is in tears.
In the dressing room afterwards Florence is ecstatic, crumpling all-comers in a bear hug, her performance given 9 out of 10 on the festival website, “the highest of the whole festival!”
She's behaving exactly as befits someone days away from turning 23 in the 21st century: speed-drinking vodka, cackling, teetering in a flimsy minidress on a pair of backless Topshop platforms with gold-studded cubed heels.
Then she clatters off to watch the next act, Peaches, and possibly do some handstands up against a wall, unaware that one of her own seductively exposed heels has been injured, glistening gruesomely with freshly-drawn blood. Oblivious, she wobbles away, back into her beloved darkness.
By Nick Welch Last updated at 9:16 PM on 25th July 2009
Florence Welch, whose debut album has reached No 2 in the charts
Most parents will be familiar with the experience of being ignored by their teenage offspring. Tormented by my daughter's incessant loud singing around the house, I've lost count of the number of times I pleaded: 'For God's sake, Florence, please put a sock in it.'
Of course, she didn't take a blind bit of notice. Just as well, really. My daughter is Florence Welch, of Florence And The Machine.
She is 22, lauded as the next big thing and her debut album Lungs has been sitting at No2 in the charts, behind the late Michael Jackson.
She has won the Critics' Choice Award at the Brits and was this week nominated for a Mercury Music Prize. She's even been on Radio 4's Woman's Hour, for goodness sake, not to mention Jonathan Woss.
This has all happened in the space of a couple of years, and it takes some getting used to. Florence was born into an Anglo-American middle-class family. Her mother, Evelyn, is an American art historian and I worked in advertising. We lived in South London, we took holidays in Cornwall. There was music in the house and there were books. There were performers and musicians on both sides of the family. I took Florence and her younger sister Grace to violin lessons (ouch) but it wasn't their passion.
Because of her mother's work, Florence did have an early exposure to Renaissance painting, which may have had an influence on the somewhat visceral world view expressed in her lyrics. As a child, she was particularly fascinated by Mantegna's Circumcision Of Christ, and by various paintings of the martyrdom of St Agatha, who had her breasts cut off.
Florence, always a difficult sleeper, was often as an infant encouraged to nod off by being wheeled around the sitting room in a pushchair to the accompaniment of loud music.
Her earliest subliminal influences include The Smiths (whom she found highly soporific) and Syd Barrett (less so). We also tried works by The Soft Machine, REM, The Go-Gos.
One evening a few years ago when I was passing Florence's bedroom I heard her shouting out: 'That's amazing, I'm having a bloody epiphany.'
I poked my head around the door and saw her sitting on the bed with a huge pair of headphones on. She had, it appeared, just listened for the first time to Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit.
People have asked whether there was a moment when I realised that Florence had a gift. There was. It happened during a performance of Bugsy Malone at her school, Alleyn's, in Dulwich. Florence was ten or 11 and she was playing the lead female part of Blousey Brown.
At school productions, parents are usually interested only in the efforts of their own offspring, but when Florence sang, the whole audience was suddenly fully engaged. I remember thinking: 'Cripes, she's got a voice - this is serious.'
It wasn't just her perfect pitch - she had the essence of phrasing and timing which makes a good singer great.
On the basis of her phenomenal performance she was co-opted to sing a rather obscure and difficult Gilbert And Sullivan song at my father's memorial service at St Bride's in Fleet Street in 1997.
My father, Colin, was a journalist and satirist who had been deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph and a parliamentary sketchwriter for the Daily Mail, so the great and good of Fleet Street were there. Florence sang brilliantly in front of scores of weeping crumblies. Florence Welch as a baby with father Nick Welch
Father's pride: Nick with Florence in 1988
After this she became something of a fixture at funerals. When I recently gave her a hard time about the dark quality of her lyrics - the first song she wrote was called My Boy Builds Coffins - she said: 'You made me sing at funerals. What do you expect?'
Florence spent her later teenage years in a mysterious group called the Toxic Cockroaches. Her mother and I, by now divorced, probably did not pay enough attention.
Having won a place at Camberwell School Of Art, she sang with a band called Ashok.
On one occasion she called me from Greenwich, angling for a lift home. Her band, she said, weren't there but there were some others around who she might play with. I turned up and watched her sing two songs, which were phenomenal.
No, she said afterwards, she hadn't rehearsed. No, she had had no idea what she was going to sing when she got on stage. This stunned me then and still stuns me now.
Florence and her bandmates were 'spotted' by an old-school music manager and there was talk of a contract. 'Don't sign anything until we've had a chance to have a look at it,' we implored. 'Yeah, yeah,' said Florence - and went ahead and signed it.
That's where it all could have gone off the rails. She was 19 and miserable, in the wrong band, life signed away, career over before it had begun. Despite my misgivings, I became a bit of a rock dad, and phoned a friend who was a music lawyer.
It turned out the contract was only binding on Florence as part of the band, so all she had to do was resign. After that we paid a bit more attention.
Florence engaged her present manager, Mairead Nash, one half of the achingly fashionable Queens Of Noize club night promoters, by trapping her in a club washroom and singing an Etta James song at full volume. Their partnership has worked pretty well so far.
Once established in her own right, and aided and abetted by Mairead and the 'thunderous' Machine, Florence's progress has been swift and spectacular.
Last year I was the one driving Florence and a two-man Machine around Europe in her stepmum's camper van, following in the wake of the MGMT (another popular band) tour bus - all for the princely sum of ¤75 a gig. This year it is a professional driver, Florence, a five-piece Machine and a road crew in their own tour bus. Florence And The Machine at the Lovebox Weekender
Heady days: Florence And The Machine perform at the Lovebox Weekender in London this month
I still go to some gigs, but my small part in this drama is, to a great extent, over. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and my early days as de facto tour manager are a great source of envy to my fifty-something chums who would give their eye teeth for the chance to go 'on the road' with a band, man.
There are, of course, alarming aspects to the whole thing. I have witnessed Florence clambering up the gantry at Glastonbury in 6in heels and I have seen her being passed around the audience at a gig with Pete Doherty.
Indeed, I shared a light ale or two with the rock and roll Rimbaud and found him to be quite charming, if a trifle vague. I must admit, though, a report that he had proposed to Florence earlier in the evening did cause a momentary attack of the vapours.
It is all exciting. But a word of warning to any potential pop stars and their parents: it is also expensive. Florence has received reasonable advances, but had to use them to pay for a lot of the band's running costs.
Florence will, we hope, make some money, but only if she sells a lot of CDs and gets film tie-ins - and after she has repaid her advances.
I may have to wait for quite a while for that bungalow in Weybridge that all rock stars seem to buy for their parents.
The fact that Florence has become public property can invade one's life and conversation. We do have evenings within her extended family where all mention of the 'daffy diva', as I call her sometimes, is forbidden.
Her sister Grace is at Sussex University, and so is able to get away from the all-embracing tsunami that Florence's life has become.
Florence's 15-year-old brother, JJ, thinks it's all pretty cool, and finds the connection with a pop star a good way to develop conversations with girls.
I do occasionally feel a twinge of unease about this whole extraordinary thing, and I remember the first time I felt it. It was more than a year ago and Florence was playing a gig in an inexplicably fashionable joint in Hoxton, Hackney.
Practically every A&R man in London was there. As I watched Florence putting her heart and soul into the performance, I glanced round at the audience.
There were the fans, wild-eyed and transported by the experience. And there were the A&R men, with quiet, thoughtful faces. They weren't here to enjoy themselves, they were taking care of business, and the business was my daughter. That's just the way it is - no worse than any other business, but it was a sobering thought.
It was also at this gig that one of the A&R men who knew that I was Florence's father turned to me with a quizzical expression as she launched into another of her perverse, Gothic tales of death, dismemberment, and bloody revenge. 'I know what you're thinking,' I shouted, 'but I can assure you she had a perfectly normal upbringing.'