VIBE caught up with one of Sheffield’s loudest, and most promising bands.
Fresh from volunteering at Glastonbury, a brand new single release and with a busy summer ahead, we caught up with Jack Flynn, frontman from Sheffield band FloodHounds to discuss their heavy sound, leading a double life in reggae band Rogue Siesta and what the future holds…
First things first, how was Glastonbury?
It was incredible! It’s like being outside of normal life for a while, and being in the depths of such different strands of music is just inspirational and eye opening. I’m gutted that it’s not on next year - not sure I can handle the break! I go with a group of friends and we all work for our tickets, so I don’t get to see or do everything I want to, but it’s still a great way to be at Glastonbury.
Who was the best act you saw?
Best act for me was Royal Blood, they were outstanding. An insane set with just relentlessly huge riffs pounding into the crowd out of that massive stage! I’ve seen them before, but there’s something about watching them in that responsive Glastonbury crowd that steps up the whole experience. Closely followed by The Moonlandingz. The musicianship on Sweet Saturn was phenomenal. We saw Cabbage right after that - also excellent.
Can you tell us the story of the band?
Me and Rhys had been in a four-piece band (which started out as the Hounds) for about a year. Our other guitarist and drummer left, so we kept going with an acoustic set, which turned out to be quite a good experience.
Luckily, I met Lauren on a night out in Leeds, who just happened to be a drummer moving to Sheffield and needed a band! Once we started jamming everything fell into place. We were delighted when she decided to stay on and FloodHounds (there were a LOT of Floods that year) was reborn as a trio.
What do you think of the guitar scene in Sheffield at the moment? Some great talent out there…
Right now, it’s the best it’s been since I’ve lived here! There’s a lot of collaboration and support going on. Bands seem so much more interested in going to each other’s shows because they know the favour will be returned. Have you seen the battle for the Crookes lamp post? For some reason all the bands in Sheffield have descended on this one lamp post to cover it in band stickers. It’s a right turf war, but all in good spirits!
Let’s talk about your tunes…the video for new single Wide Awake, where did the idea come from?
Our friends tend to be more into their raves than the rock gigs, and never doing anything by halves, they’d started a weird little trend of going to festivals with these mad, home-made, glow in the dark box-heads, which looked amazing. We had about a week and a shoestring budget, so I forced all my housemates to help us construct a bunch of these crazy heads. My brother Tom, borrowed some film equipment and wrote a backstory to explain the heads!
Will Wide Awake be part of a future EP, or just a stand-alone single for now?
I think after the last recording session, both I Wanna Know and Wide Awake felt more like stand-alone singles, and we wanted to mix it up as previously we’ve only ever released EPs. I reckon we’ll do an EP next though as we have quite a few unrecorded songs that I’m dying to work on at the moment.
It might be the heaviest Floodhounds track yet, but what is it about?
I’d been listening to heavier music lately and it’s really fun to hammer out big riffs like that with the band live onstage. As for the lyrics, I guess they’re really just relating to that restless, insomniac rage that you feel when things aren’t right, somethings bothering you and you can’t sleep, so you need to hype yourself up, to go and sort it.
The sound seems very clear and direct, where did that come from?
Thanks! It’s probably comes from being a three piece. You have to be tight, and in sync, as there’s not much margin for error. It’s very pared down. That’s why I really admire bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys or Drenge.
Working with Alan Smyth (music producer, Pulp, Arctic Monkeys), how was that?
He’s great - we’ve recorded with him four times now. He seems to get what we’re about and what sort of sound we’re after and now we just roll up, hit record and play!
The Look What You’ve Started EP was released last year. Why did you decide to have a slightly longer EP than usual?
That was down to Alan really. We sent him about 10 practice room recordings of all our unrecorded songs, and he seemed to like them. He basically said: “Let’s just cram as many in as we can!”
We ended up with six favourite and quite diverse tracks like Greatest Mistakes – a real change of pace, compared to the fast and furious Soulmates to Cellmates. I felt they all fitted together somehow and wouldn’t be the same if we’d left one out.
Tramlines, how are you feeling ahead of playing that?
We literally cannot wait. We’re doing two headline Tramlines Fringe gigs, on the Friday at Record Junkee, which is being put on by Double Denim Live, and with great support bands like Late Night Legacy from Leeds- one of our favourites. Sunday night is at The Old House, we did that last year too, enjoyed it so much as a great ending to the festival. We’re heading off to Manchester for Blackthorn Festival on the Saturday too!
What do you get up to normally at Tramlines?
Depends how many gigs we’re playing. I can’t relax until after the gig. But usually, as soon as we’re not playing, it’s going out drinking and wall-to-wall bands. The highlight last year was jumping the fence at The Uni Arms to squeeze into the Deap Vally gig! They were unbelievably good!
Have you got much planned for beyond the summer? Winter tour?
Yep we’ll be gigging like mad up until Christmas. We sold out a gig at London’s Troubadour in February, which went so well they offered us a headline a month from June to September with different special guests. I’m loving it. It’s such an iconic music venue. Last time, we had The Cuckoos, all the way from Texas on their first UK tour, they were brilliant. We’ve got some good headline Sheffield gigs coming up between now and December. There’s a backlog of music to record, so we’ll hopefully release some new music in the autumn.
Catch FloodHounds at Tramlines, on Friday at Record Junkee and at The Old House on Sunday.