Flooding, a band whose music can only be described as a cathartic release, inspires listeners to go on an introspective journey into the depths of emotion. With their female-fronted slowcore melodies dotted with drawn out lyrics Flooding has become a strong force in the music scene. Prolonged soundscapes that force you to sit with your innermost thoughts. I had the pleasure of sitting down with the band recently to get a look into their artistic process, their show experiences, and their distinctive musical style. Through the conversation we explored their roots, artistic inspirations, and their latest album, “Silhouette Machine.” An interview that unravels the story behind the music and the world of the up-and-coming band Flooding. (image credit: Flooding on Spotify)
Thanks so much for meeting with me today! Is it alright if you guys introduce yourselves and what you do in the band?
Rose: My name is Rose. I play guitar and do vocals in Flooding
Cole: I’m Cole and I play bass. And Zach is not with us right now but he usually plays drums.
And where are you guys from? I know there’s some arguments about whether you’re a Lawrence band or a Kansas City band. What would you claim?
C: I don’t know. We met in Lawrence and we lived in Lawrence up until August of last year.
R: Yeah, we used to be a Lawrence band but now we’re a Kansas City band.
C: I don’t really think about it that way. It’s all the same anyways.
It’s super close, right? Lawrence is just outside Kansas City?
R: Yeah, it’s the same scene.
I was super surprised to find out that you guys were a 3 piece band. From all of your music, it’s all like “wall-of-sound.” I was even watching your live sets and it’s full of sound. Is there something specific you guys to do achieve all of that sound?
C: Yeah, we run through 3 amps even though there’s only 2 guitar players. I think that’s the only crazy thing to do to be louder I guess.
Is it an artistic choice to keep it as a 3 piece or would you consider adding a new member?
R: I just don’t write music that requires a 4th member or a 2nd guitarist. I’ve thought about maybe freeing myself up from playing guitar live and adding someone else to play guitar. But, I don’t see that happening any time soon.
Is it just you that writes the music or is it a collaborative process between all of you?
R: Recently we’ve kinda been writing together but historically for the last 2 albums, I will just come to them with finished songs and then they’ll write their parts. So it’s collaborative in that way. But I’m the main songwriter, I guess.
With the band’s creative dynamic illuminated, the conversation began to explore Flooding’s experience playing live shows, where their music is able to come to life and resonate with audiences. Although they’ve shared the stage with larger influential acts in the shoegaze scene, Flooding also has held onto their midwest roots and the beloved DIY community that is booming in Lawrence and Kansas City.
You guys have played with some amazing bands like They Are Gutting a Body of Water, Horse Jumper of Love, Wednesday and you did a kinda west coast tour with the release of your new album. What was your favorite city that you played in live?
C: We’ve been to so many new places in the last year. I try not to forget any of them but I’m bound to. I can’t remember all that stuff. I’d say the coolest spot as of recently was this place called Realms Arcade in Boise. That was a cool spot. And they were all very nice. Everyone was really cool there.
R: That was a really good show despite the fact that literally no one showed up. There was no one there.
C: Salt Lake was really cool. I really liked the Pacific Northwest.
R: I think Salt Lake City. Kilby Court was probably my favorite show in terms of the vibe. You could tell that the people there are just really into music, really into coming out and supporting bands they’ve probably never heard of. The West Coast tour we did was the best, most fun, and fulfilling tour.
I saw that you guys also played a couple shows at White Schoolhouse. Is there significance to that within the Kansas music scene?
R: Yeah. The White Schoolhouse is the iconic DIY Lawrence venue but it’s been slowing down there recently, which is super sad.
C: It seems like they’ve been doing more stuff in the past few months. Just kinda rough coming out of covid.
R: It’s picking back up for sure. We’re lucky here. People are always surprised. People don’t expect the Kansas City, Lawrence area to have such a thriving DIY scene but we have right now 3 really great DIY venues, including White Schoolhouse, between the 2 cities. And that’s where we always like to play because they treat you right there. I hate playing at bars. They’re gonna pay you 20 bucks for a show.
I also saw you guys had a 3 Way Split EP with Abandoncy and Nightosphere. They’re also from that area right?
C: Yeah, Damian literally fixed our amp from Abandoncy so they’re all really cool.
Did you guys all meet through shows? What’s the main way of meeting people in the Kansas scene?
R: I remember when we first started playing as Flooding, this was probably within the first year, this venue in Lawrence asked us to put together our own show. That was probably the first time that I’ve ever booked a show myself. I found out about Abandoncy through Cole.
C: Yeah, I found out about them through covid quarantine era. We were doing live sessions for the college radio station at Kansas University and I hit them up. I was like “Hey I love your band. I see you’re from Kansas City. Come play a set for us and we’ll film it.” That’s how I found out about them. I had seen, but never really met Morgan, their drummer. I had seen them around prior at shows. And Nightosphere–
R: I don’t know how we met.
C: We just saw them around town. They’re always around at shows.
R: I think Claire from Nightosphere came up to me at a show and introduced herself. So that’s how I met her.
You guys haven’t been a band for very long. Can you tell me the story of how you guys decided to get together? It seems like you started playing live shows pretty quickly after you started.
C: I was in a band. We had some recorded stuff. Me and Zach were in a band – sort of, kind of. We hadn’t played any shows yet. I met Rose and she wanted to start a band and I was like “Well I can play in the band and we got a drummer – which is always the hardest one to find.” And it just kinda started. She had some songs written and we just sorta practiced them a few times and then recorded the album a few months later. We started playing shows after.
R: I’m thinking about how we started the band now and our first couple practices and I was using his pedalboard because I didn’t have pedals. I didn’t know anything about gear. I honestly still don’t. But just trying to collaborate in that way when you’ve never done that before is such a learning curve. I’m just thinking about how insecure I was playing music the first times we practiced. Now it’s like everything has changed.
What’s your favorite song to play live? I feel like it’s super different recording in a space versus playing for a crowd.
C: It’s hard to pick one. I could name a few.
R: I love all of them equally, except the first album
C: I really like Transept Exit. That’s always been one of my favorites since we started playing it. This Will All Burn I like now that we play it consistently the same way. I really like the way we play it now.
R: That one I like playing live better than listening to it.
C: Those two are probably my favorites. And then obviously the new stuff we’ve been writing I really enjoy playing.
R: When you said that, I was like “That one new song.”
R: My answer is that I love all of them equally except for we don’t play the first album anymore.
C: I think that we should at least play one song off of it whenever we play.
R: I think it’s boring.
C: Some of it’s alright, but yeah it’s definitely different and doesn’t really fit the same vibe.
You think it’s boring? In what way?
C: I think some of it’s boring to play because it’s so simple.
R: I like the songs. I just don’t want to play that music live anymore because it’s not fun.
C: I still like the songs but it’s more fun to play the stuff we’ve been leading into than just playing those ones. I’m more interested in writing new stuff and playing new stuff all the time. I think it’s always fun to keep yourself occupied with new things.
I was going to ask how often you test out new songs live before you do anything with them.
C: The last show we played we played 2 new songs that we had only practiced 2 or 3 times before. They sounded alright live but they sound way better now, 2 months later.
R: I would never record a song that we haven’t been playing live for a while.
After reflecting on the evolution of their live performances and tendency to push their musical horizons forward while creating art, Flooding shared more about their recent album. Their 2023 album “Silhouette Machine” pushes creative boundaries that the band had previously conformed to by embracing the refinement of their musical journey.
I also wanted to talk about your new album Silhouette Machine that you just released in September of last year. I guess this is mostly directed to you, Rose, since you write most of the music. What’s the most meaningful song off the album where you can go “That’s it. I’ve put it all on the table. I’ll never be able to capture that feeling again?” Does that describe any of the songs from Silhouette Machine?
R: I think especially on that album. That album, what I was writing was so intense and deeply personal and it’s kinda all related in some way. I’m not really sure how. But I think the one that is really cathartic for me to perform is Transept Exit. That one, I don’t know what it is about it. It feels like I’m reliving what the lyrics are about every time we play it. But I think it’s really cool.
Is there something about this specific genre that you’ve gone into Flooding that you really enjoy? What made you go in that sort of direction with Flooding?
R: It’s really been a journey honestly. We started a band. I had been writing solo music. So our first album was definitely more in the same realm as that sort of music I was writing. But I think it was a natural progression. I don’t know what else we would have done after our first album besides make it more intense, more cathartic, and more aggressive honestly. I think I really like heavy and aggressive and angry music. I think that it’s just really cool to express yourself in that way. I admire a lot of people who write music like that and I was like “I want to do that. That looks cool.”
Who are some of your artistic inspirations that lean more in that direction?
C: Artistic expression wise, personally I really like Helvetia, the drummer from Duster’s side project. I think it’s really interesting. The amount of stuff that he releases but also feels like him. To mean it means that you can do whatever you want and as long as it makes sense to you then it’s there and valuable. My biggest inspiration nowadays.
R: I feel like a lot of music I’m inspired by I find out about while I’m writing music or after I’m writing music. I’m like “That thing I just wrote sounds similar to that. That’s pretty cool.” I’m a huge Sonic Youth fan. I just like their vibe.
C: Specifically the Kim Gordon Vibe.
R: Literally, the Thurston Moore songs suck. If Kim Gordon wasn’t in Sonic Youth, they would be nowhere.
R: I got super into Hole, and so did Cole, after writing our second album. So now when we’re writing I feel like it’s Hole adjacent music.
Delving into the core of the band’s soundscape, Rose and Cole were able to give insight to the band’s trajectory in the future. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Helvetia, Sonic Youth, and Hole, Flooding stays true to their creative expression of intensity, catharsis, and aggression even as they grow as artists. As they unfolded the inner workings of what makes up their musical sound, the conversation turned towards their upcoming live shows and future plans for the band – including a Midwest tour. We also talked about what goes into touring for a smaller band.
Are there more live shows in the works then or are you planning on taking a break for a little to write new stuff? What’s your plan if you have one?
R: I guess we were kinda taking a break these last 2 months. We’ll be doing no tours to the west coast unfortunately but we’ll be doing a Spring tour and that’s kinda a Midwest/Texas one. And then we’re doing an August tour to the east coast and Canada.
I can imagine it gets tiring. Are you guys in a van?
R: Yeah, it’s a van.
C: 2009 Honda Odyssey.
R: Since we’re a 3 piece tour and I like to do the merch because I like talking to people, we can easily fit in a minivan.
C: We usually don’t bring a drum kit. We usually just use whatever kit is provided to us that night so we can save some space and have room to bring some other stuff.
R: Honestly, I don’t really get tired on tour. I feel like we’re smart about it.
R: And also I don’t believe in sleeping on people’s floors. If I’m like “This person probably has clean floors”, then we’ll be like “Okay, we’ll stay at your house.” But most of the time, I find it way more sustainable to just get a hotel room,
C: Yeah, we’re lucky enough where we’re making enough money where it’s a viable option most nights. To just drive a few hours and cut some of the driving while we’re still amped from the show.
As the interview came to an end, it was evident that Flooding is a band ingrained with passion, creativity, and authenticity. The band’s sludgy, slowcore melodies possess the power to tug at your heart and send you into a spiral of introspection. The music they create are warm hands of a comforting embrace, there with you through the raw and emotional journey. As Flooding embarks on their upcoming tour with the success of their recent release “Silhouette Machine” to propel them forward, their unique sound leaves a lasting impression.
There were a few bonus questions that didn’t quite fit into the interview that I thought gave a good view on the band’s personality. Both Cole and Rose were filled with kindness. I think that it’s hard for the lightheartedness of voices to carry across in the text with these interviews. Being able to hear people’s whose art I respect so much tackle such deep and intimate topics in their music yet bring such a humorous energy to the conversation was a lovely experience. Thank you to Flooding for their time and willingness to interview despite being all the way across the country.
I wish Zach was here because I really wanted to ask about the “Zach Reviews” highlight on Instagram. Maybe you guys could give me some info about that. He just stands in front of restaurants and points at it to say it’s gas. How did that all start? It’s so funny.
C: I don’t even know. It was the very first time we were on the road and we just had some good food and Zach was like “Yo I gotta review this”. And the only thing he said was “It’s gas” and we were like “Well, you know, you can’t really top that. It’s either gas or it’s not.”
R: It’s like if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.
C: Yeah, we’re not going to review a place that’s NOT gas. What’s the point?
R: My favorite is the McDonalds in Amarillo.
C: We’ve been kinda slacking on the last tour with it.
The last question I have is what’s the worst haircut you’ve ever had?
C: I could tell you the worst haircut I’ve ever had. I got a job at Red Robin. It was one of my first jobs ever. I probably had hair as long as I do right now and they told me I had to cut it to work there, like short. So I pulled up to Great Clips or whatever and I told them to cut it short and it was bad. It was so bad.
R: I think mine was when I was a senior in high school, I cut my hair extremely short. Not a bob, I don’t even know what the next level above a bob is, but it was shorter than a bob. Having that haircut forced me to admit to myself that I was bisexual.