By: Anna Glinski// Photography by: Anna Glinski & Sarah Waxberg//
Soundigest got to sit down and talk with the guys in Flor this past weekend at The Meadows. The Fueled by Ramen alt synth-pop band recently put out their debut album come out. you’re hiding. earlier this year, which features jams like “heart” and “hold on”. They have played major festivals including Lollapalooza, The Meadows, and Made in America, have joined Paramore on a few tour dates, and will also be touring with Australian alt-rock band Atlas Genius soon. We have had these Oregon-originated guys under our radar for a while now, so it was very exciting to get them to talk about their music and influences.
Flor is Zach Grace, McKinley Kitts, Dylan Williams and Kyle Hill.
Tell us what Flor is all about.
Zach: That’s a heavy question, but I’ll do my best to explain how I feel about it. The main and important thing about Flor is making as authentic and inspiring music as we can. It’s about not really following the trends, not really going with what’s in, but going with what is really true to us and what we think our universal truths in the world are. That helps create our sound, it helps us decide what instruments we will be using, what kind of style we are going to be making our music in. But ultimately, it’s about connecting with people, connecting with thoughts and ideas that really resonate throughout society and all cultures. It’s giving people a safe place to connect, engage, and be a part of the human experience. It’s also about playing really good music with my friends.
From my understanding, “flor” means flower. How did you come up with that band name?
McKinley: It’s a combination of things. We started off with really heavy floral branding on social media. We’ve broken away from that recently. When we were thinking about band names, our bass player and producer, Dylan, came up with a logo that spelled out “flor.” We thought, “Oh! That’s really cool!” It had the vibe of what we wanted overall, so we went with it.
You recently put out your debut album come out. you’re hiding. Can you talk about the kind of inspiration that went behind writing and recording it?
Zach: Sonically, musically, I get inspired by anything that’s happening in the world in a certain time. When I first started the cycle, I was pretty heavily influenced by hip hop. As I put it into more of a band perspective, Tegan and Sara were the biggest influence musically. That helped solidify what I wanted to be creating, and the other guys were stoked about it. As far as the album as an idea and cohesive unit, it’s really about struggling with insecurities and understanding yourself. It’s about trusting yourself and understanding that what you have to give the world is important and deserves time of day.
McKinley: Zach’s a pretty reclusive person, he does all of his song writing in his bedroom. The record was produced at Dylan’s house. It was all done in a pretty closed in world that we live in with Zach. So the album’s called come out. you’re hiding. I think it was like, okay, we are on a major label, putting out a record that’s the most personal and intimate parts of Zach.
Did that feel uncomfortable in any way? To put yourself out there?
Zach: It was therapeutic. It was what needed to happen. Everything was coming together and it was the right point in time for me to lay it all out.
The album’s great! I first listened to it per recommendation of my friend. It’s really well produced.
McKinley: Good job, Dylan! And I think the world validated Zach’s world. The public in general responded really well to the record. It’s a validating thing that this private thing we’ve been working on for years has been loved by our fans and people that hear it. It’s very rewarding.
You’re touring with Atlas Genius soon. You’ve played major festivals like this one. You’ve toured with Paramore. Are there any artists you’re dying to go on tour with in the future?
McKinley: There’s a lot. The Killers is one that in general the whole band would love to do. Glass Animals would be a great tour for us to be on. Grouplove would be #1 for all of us. We were supposed to do a tour with them, but unfortunately the singer had throat problems, so they had to cancel the tour. But, hopefully we can do that in the future because their last record, Big Mess, was one of my favorite records of all time and the band’s as well.
Zach: There’s a ton of artists. Phoenix. I would love to go back on tour with Lostboycrow. I’d love to go on tour with Coin. But really we’re down to tour with anyone that’s cool.
Dylan: you guys nailed it for me.
McKinley: We’re not really scared of blending genres a little either. We’ll step out of the indie rock bands too.
You have over 850,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. Your #1 geographical region in Manhattan, so you’re in the right spot. Brooklyn is actually #4. New York clearly loves you guys!
The band jokes, “It’s all one guy!”
How do you feel like the streaming industry has helped you?
Dylan: I feel like it’s the best way to help get the word out for our band because of playlisting. I think the most important thing for us is to get on great playlists, and if we get one song on New Music Friday, we see so much growth. We’ll just skyrocket and the song will have a million plays in a couple weeks.
McKinley: We’re lucky to have the support of Spotify. If our sound is current, we get on pretty good playlists, and we’ve been fortunate enough to be in that circle. And honestly, we came up in the world where we didn’t really have any other options. We released our first song on Spotify, so we don’t have that mentality like, “10 years ago we were selling more records. Gosh darn kids and their streaming!” Our peers are the ones that made these companies and started streaming. We don’t know anything different.
Zach: And we appreciate it.
What is the best concert you have ever attended?
Zach: I vividly remember the Grouplove set at Lollapalooza. They were on Lake Shore, and it was maybe the best I’ve ever felt. The feeling was unreal. They were unreal. The crowd was singing along to every song. It was so fun to be a part of that.
McKinley: Musically, they’re a label mate of ours, but Young the Giant. I’ve been to a lot of shows, and all I do is play music, but I have never seen a more impressive display of musicianship and performance than Young the Giant. Every single member of the band is the best at their instrument. It’s inspiring and impressive.
Dylan: back in 2012 I saw Jimmy Eat World at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland. They have been the most influential band for me since the beginning. I sang every freakin’ word. I was obsessed.
Kyle: I would have to agree with Zach with seeing Grouplove at Lollapalooza. That was a very special experience. Also at Lolla, we got to see Justice, which was pretty mind blowing with the lights, production, and massive sounds he has. And then also, we got to play a couple shows with Bleachers, and they put on INSANE shows. Blew my mind. I think I can speak on behalf of everyone else, we were really impressed by Bleachers. The way Jack Antonoff can control a room and own a crowd is so inspiring.
McKinley: He’s got Springsteen vibes!
Listen to come out. you’re hiding. Here:
Check out Flor on tour with Atlas Genius coming to a city near YOU!