With their debut CD due to be released in June, Britpop, sorry, indie pop, team FLOW are starting to make waves. Steve Norman spoke to the band to get the low-down.
Some years ago three members of Flow formed an acoustic trio who went by the name of Alberquerque. Following house moves two and bit years ago a change of style ensued and the band was now complete with the addition of two new members. Flow are a five piece outfit hailing from the Thames Valley area consisting of Harvey 'Harv' Jessop (guitar), Andy 'Bono' Hodge (drums), Ness Hodge (vocals), Jez Spearman (bass) and Prod Pitchard (guitar/vocals) (allegedly the name comes from his school days when he constantly prodded 'friends' with a pencil!).
Flow are developing a healthy fan base following a number of recent festival appearances to back up regular gigs in the south east. Someone recently described their music as Brit Pop though Bono isn't sure such a pigeon hole is too accurate. "There are elements of Brit Pop in what we do but with a female lead singer and a less punk emphasis I'd say the best description of our music would be indie pop." The band list their main influences as Radiohead, The Beatles and the Cocktail Twins and have a good guitar based sound with the advantage of Ness' versatile vocals which at times remind me a tad of Deacon Blue.
Several appearances backing Eden Burning led them to release a cassette EP produced by Dave Pick (reviewed CR October '95) and in June this year they will release a CD which has yet to be named. A preview listen of the unmixed version suggests that this will be even better than the previous offering. So just where did the name Flow come from? "Just a good name with a good sound," answered Bono. "And it's about the only name no one objected to," added Harv. Fitting into an already established CCM scene can be difficult. "If we're being honest we don't see ourselves as part of the Christian music scene in the sense that some bands are," explained Harv.
"We are playing nearly all secular mainstream venues and we're not really playing church events other than some of the festivals. Our ambitions lie elsewhere really. Having said that we do play gigs with other Christian bands so we're part of it in a way." "We've done various Christian bits and bobs," added Bono. "Such as our churches youth holiday thing when we played there. But mainly we're trying to get into the pubs and club scene. Working in this area is often a lot harder than playing a Christian gig. Christians tend to be more appreciative whereas, especially in the pub situation, the people aren't just there to hear you, they may be following another band that's playing or just there for the night out."
Despite the obvious difficulties faced, the band find playing mainstream particularly rewarding and feel that they have made some great contacts through the music. "Our ambition is to land a recording deal, to play larger venues and to build up a bigger following. We particularly see ourselves playing to the un-churched audiences. Not that we preach from the stage but we hope that the songs, the way that we behave and our conversation all show us as being different. There is always time after a gig to chat with folks and have some good one-to-one."
Appearances at Jam '95 and last year's Dare festival at Lincoln have paved the way for a busier new year. More recently Flow have found themselves breaking into the London scene playing at the Garage, Highbury and the Orange. Together with this there are bookings for Jam '96, Kingston Festival, Dorset and of course your very own Cross Rhythms. What then does the future hold in store for these five talented folk from the South East? Well, one thing is for certain, they are going all out to get themselves noticed. Bono emphasised, "What everyone needs to know is that we are really good! Oh, and everyone needs to buy a copy of our new CD. I'm sure there is a space in everyone's collection under 'F and there aren't too many bands to fit that category!"
Flow produce the highly stimulating 'Fabulous Flow Information Update Type Sheet', which lists gigs, close ups on band members and other altogether useful information. This publishing masterpiece is described by the author as "lavatory literature and can be obtained from 124 Broad Hinton, Hurst Grange, Twyford, Berks RG10 0XH."
I'm sure that we are just seeing the beginning of a very promising future by five fun filled individuals named Flow.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.