If you’re a fan of music in a city like London, there’s no shortage of incredible acts that you can listen to and/or go and see. Starting in this scenario can be somewhat challenging. With the oversaturation of new bands, what should a band do in order to get noticed? This is where Flirting. comes into the picture. Ever wondered about what came out of all the musicians at QM? Well Flirting. are one fine example of what comes from the amalgamation of a wide variety of cultures and inclinations that come from London’s East End. Having released a single titled ‘Wouldn’t You’ recently to much success, along with a stringent schedule of gigging in and around London, I talked to Poppy Alice Warring (vocalist, keyboard player and former Quest Radio Station Manager) about the band, how it came about, where they are and where they are planning to go.
Hey Poppy! How are you doing?
Hey!! I’m doing pretty alright. Well actually I’m pretty knackered, it’s been a busy couple of weeks, but fun.
First of all, let’s talk about your development as a musician. Was music something that was an important part of your childhood? What drove you to sing/pick up an instrument? Do you have any early memories of your childhood where you can distinctly remember listening to something and going, “woah that’s cool, that’s what I want to get into”?
I suppose music has always kind of been important to me. My parents are both big music fans – we always had a wide variety of music being played from classics to early 2000s indie and old skool to Holst. And then in terms of music, I’ve been singing since I was about 7 and it just sort of spiraled out from there – I might have a problem where I kind of want to be able to do everything. The real turning point was really sometime around the same time I started singing. It made me listen to music and imagine myself within that. Like I said before, my family listens to a lot and there was a lot of Talking Heads and Tina Weymouth, which was probably key to that switch to wanting to play an instrument and be in a BAND. I just thought that stuff was for boys for years but she made it all okay and cool and made me want to be a part of that too.
That’s really interesting! So what instruments do you play? Does that make a difference in your approach towards songwriting?
I suppose I sing, and then I’ve been playing piano for nearly 12 years now. Then there’s keyboard, which I promise is a different instrument (those buttons make all the difference). I can vaguely play guitar and bass too and a few other things, but I’m going to sound far too pretentious. Everything asides from piano and singing though is self-taught and I’m quite self-conscious about that. As a band we tend to write very collectively, so it’s hard to say how my instruments influence that really. I let out what feels like it needs to be written if that makes sense.
Surely. It seems like a more ‘take it as it comes attitude’. Now let’s talk about how the band came about. It’s mentioned online that the band started whilst you and another member were reminiscing the legacy of David Bowie soon after his passing. Is that how the story goes? What was there already an idea to start a band brewing in your head before that or did you just decide that you wanted to form a band at that very moment?
Truthfully, Arthur and me had been talking about making music together since the previous summer, but nothing major had come from it. David Bowie’s death was really this massive catalyst; we had this sort of ‘We Have To Do SOMETHING’ moment the day after at a gig, and pulled together a gang within 3 days.
That’s pretty awesome. To actually take an idea into fruition in a matter of days. The band’s Facebook page describes the genre as ‘Post-Ironic Fuzz’. What does that term mean to you or the rest of the band? Do you think that description is a serious one or rather a satire on the concept of labeling bands into pre-defined/restricted genres?
It’s quite funny you mention that, I definitely added that as a bit of a joke after having to describe our band to a lot of people one day. It is poking fun a bit at the notion of genres – they’re useful in many ways for marketing and seeing if you might like a band – but frankly I’ve no idea where which box best suits us. And I kind of hate label boxes. Then again, we are definitely a band that makes a lot of noisy fuzz, and are post-ironic. It does stand as truthful.
Your social media presence is rather unique. Do you think that is important in terms of creating an identity/an aura especially when you’re a really new band?
Hahaha its super odd to hear someone actually mention that. We just kind of try to be ourselves, which might be a little bit atypical compared to a lot of bands. I think it is vaguely important, in the sense that these days social media is the primary way you connect with people. But it’s not for everyone, some people like a little bit more mystery I think than our band have.
The band recently released its first song ‘Wouldn’t You’, which has garnered quite a lot of attention. The song itself has a really interesting production quality and almost an improvisational vibe. Do you think that’s something that gives the song or the sound of the band an edge over other bands in the London music scene?
I’m not sure if it gives us an edge over other bands – it feels like there’s not many bands in London doing the same thing, sure, but I’m not sure what that means for us at this point. You’re right though, it does come from a bit of a jam session.
How is the live show like for you? The band has been pretty religious with playing as many shows as possible. What can a person expect at a Flirting. show?
Noise, sweets, and occasionally Andy bleeds.
The band is soon about to take a break from gigging and is entering the studio to record the first EP. Is there any information you can give us regarding that? What kind of sound/vibe can be expected from the upcoming songs?
We just have a handful of tracks we want to finish off – the problem with playing lots of shows is you don’t always get time to sit down and figure things out and finish stuff off. I suppose it’s a bit less woozy than ‘Wouldn’t You’, but if you’ve seen us live that’s to be expected. A bit of angsty post-punk.
What are your main influences when writing? Is it something that keeps changing from time-to-time or do you have a specific number of records/artists you listen to in order to create something new?
I can’t speak for the entire band, but I try my best to not think too hard when I’m actually writing about other music. It’s more about making something that expresses that experience and feeling sonically. But there’s things you do realize you’re kind of leaning on. But those definitely differ on a weekly basis.
Lastly, where did the name ‘Flirting.’ come from? And why the ‘full stop’ at the end?
Truthfully? It’s because if you put a fullstop at the end you find us rather that flirting-the-action in a search engine…
I thank Poppy for taking the time out to talk to CUB Magazine. All in all, there is a sense nowadays that the magic of making music in a room together is somewhat lost. With more and more music moving to digital platforms, it’s rare to see bands that follow the notion of creating music out of hour/two hour long jams. It will be exciting to see as to what Flirting.’s first EP would sound like. If the first single is any teaser, I’m sure that this ‘Post-Ironic’ Fuzz has something worth paying attention to.