If you've ever had a panic attack on amphetamines then Chain of Flowers will make loads of sense to you, because that's pretty much the overriding sensation they give off only not horrible. Threading together the starry-eyed goth pop of The Cure, the crushing existentialism of The Birthday Party, and more riffs than The Stone Roses' cutting room floor, Chain of Flowers hold you up high just to punch you in the stomach.
We're premiering "Death's Got A Hold On Me" below - another sensory gang bang from their self-titled debut out next month via ALTER. Recorded at Monnow Valley Studios and mixed by Ben Greenberg of The Men, Chain of Flowers has been a hot minute in the making and sees the six-piece expand beyond their geographical influences. Back in March we premiered the album's opening track "Nail Me To Your Cross" and described the band as Wales' best kept secret - but not for much longer. We had a chat with frontman Josh Smith about making the album and also death.
Noisey: Hi Josh. This record has been a hot minute in the making. Could you tell us a bit about making it and how it eventually came out?
Josh: It has been. We recorded at Monnow Valley across four days and nights. We do work quite efficiently but we had a lot that we wanted to record and experiment with but a limited amount of time to do it in. It was never uncomfortable though, we learnt/tracked/drank a lot and took from it what we set out to do plus more. It was an experience and I’m glad we did it that way.
How did Ben Greenberg get involved?
After somebody took our recordings hostage, we were (eventually) free to send the record to Ben Greenberg over in New York in order to mix and master. We exchanged mixes and notes via email for around 6 or so months, maybe longer. It may not have been the simplest way to go about it but it was most definitely worth it. Ben’s a genius and he knew what we were trying to achieve.
Then it came to actually getting it released…
People kept telling us to send it around, but I’ve never thought there to be much grace in knocking doors and blowing smoke to any and every person that you don’t really care about in the hope they’ll want to run with what you’ve been sweating over for so long. It just didn’t feel right. So we sat there for a while and admittedly, did not a lot for some months, to the point that a few of us doubted that this would be released, but then Luke / ALTER approached us. Luke had heard the record via Ben, as he was releasing the Uniform LP over here. ALTER is a great label and Luke is passionate about what he releases and who he works with. For us, there was a real affinity from the get go.
How much of an influence is South Wales on your music?
We come from between Merthyr, Newport and Ebbw Vale, now collectively based in Cardiff – so it’s all very much encapsulated within. That said, I am happy that we made the record in South Wales, it was right to do so.
Describe Chain of Flowers for those who haven't heard you before.
Blown out melody for the disaffected.
What's "Death's Got A Hold on Me" about?
Death, its certainty and for better or worse, being very conscious of it
What do you think happens after you die? Is there
something or do we all become one with the worms?
I think I’d be happy with those worms. Living infinitely in any form doesn’t sound very appealing to me at this point in time.
Who in the band do you think will die first?
Quite possibly Ross, but I can safely say that we are 100 times more likely to die when we are in each other’s company. We bring out the worst in each other.
Anything you'd like to add?
Our LP is released October 16. Love and thanks x
Chain of Flowers is available to pre-order now.
Catch them on the following dates:
September 26 - The Shaklewell Arms, London, w/ Destruction Unit
October 17 - Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff (album release show)
October 26 -The Shacklewell Arms, London w/ Uniform