flor // co.yh north american tour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
This event is all ages
With their nuanced songwriting and inventive sensibilities, flor use their songs to explore feelings of longing and heartache, anxiety and self-doubt. On their debut album come out, you’re hiding, singer/guitarist Zach Grace, bassist Dylan Bauld, guitarist McKinley Kitts, and drummer Kyle Hill alternately magnify and brighten those feelings by dreaming up an intensely cinematic take on synth-driven alt-pop. But for all its transportive melodies and triumphant mood, come out, you’re hiding was born from a place of painful vulnerability.
“Making this album has really been about me coming out my shell and getting over whatever block I have about letting people know what’s going on in my head,” says Grace, who serves as chief lyricist for the L.A.-based, Oregon-bred band. “A lot of people probably struggle with believing in themselves that way, and the album’s a testament to overcoming that.”
Mostly recorded in Bauld’s bedroom studio, with its title nodding to Grace’s reclusive tendencies, come out, you’re hiding achieves its intimate feel thanks partly to a process that flor adopted soon after moving to L.A. “I’d started experimenting with different production styles, and I ended up coming up with these sounds that weren’t anything like what we’d done before,” recalls Bauld, flor’s main producer. “Ever since then, I’ll make a basic track and take it to Dylan, and he’ll build it from there,” adds Grace. “Starting out on my own makes writing a little easier,” he continues. “I can get it all out in a very journal-like way, and then pull back and process things a bit before putting it all out into the world.”
Not only essential in instilling come out, you’re hiding with unfettered honesty, flor’s creative approach has shaped their singular sound. Mixed by Andrew Maury (Atlas Genius, Panama Wedding), come out, you’re hiding infuses its crystalline textures with the heavy guitars and fierce drumming that flor’s long brought to their live show. “We used to hold ourselves back and try to keep it simple, but now we’re doing whatever we can to make these big moments within our songs,” says Bauld, who’s also produced records for such artists as Halsey.
With its airy beats and soaring melodies, “Guarded” starts off come out, you’re hiding by offering a confession of insecurity. “‘Guarded’ is about building up this castle around me and having it torn down, and trying to deal with losing that feeling of comfort,” says Grace. On “Where Do You Go,” shimmering guitar tones match the song’s tender romanticism. “It’s about a couple with this unspeakable joy about them,” explains Grace. “It’s asking, ‘Where do you go to find love like that?’, because it’s so undeniably special.” Also on come out, you’re hiding, flor bring their dreamy introspection to songs like “Overbehind,” whose determined self-assurance makes for a sublimely uplifting closing track.
Growing up in the tiny town of Hood River, Grace, Bauld, and Kitts first created music together as teenagers. Once they’d brought Hill into the fold and begun making their name as a captivating live act, the band pushed forward in their career by relocating to L.A. Taking on the name flor—a word that translates to flower in Portuguese—the band soon landed a deal with Fueled by Ramen, who released their debut EP Sounds in February 2016.
Despite his initial shyness about sharing his lyrics on come out, you’re hiding, Grace says he’s ultimately emboldened by flor’s lavish arrangements. “As soon as my lyrics are in the songs and they’ve got that beautiful production on them, I love that people are learning who I am and what flor is about,” he notes. “Hopefully they’re finding something in it to make them feel some kind of companionship—like we’re all going through these things together.”
You might say Handsome Ghost's spirit arose from a personal and creative deconstruction—a classic scenario of life after death with a modern spin.
Tim Noyes began writing folk songs as a fresh-faced philosophy major at a small college, five hours west of his native Boston. After graduation, he taught high school
English in New York City and played open mics in the evenings. The contrast of clubs and classrooms couldn’t last, and a publishing deal encouraged him to make the leap
to full-time musician. Eventually, Noyes grew disenchanted by the limitations of folk music. As his tastes
became more eclectic, “One month I love R&B and then it’s today’s pop or 90’s hits,”
the acoustic world seemed smaller and smaller until it held little inte
rest. With a return
to academia feeling more and more imminent, the singer and specter trekked to a snowbound Vermont studio for one last shot, this time with a different approach.
Though he’d still sketch each song with vocals and guitar, next he’d adorn them with synths, soundscapes and various sonic accoutrements, enriching the compositions and
heightening the emotion in the process.
"The electronic elements were so intriguing to me," Noyes explains. "Certain things are off limits in other genres. I love Handsome Ghost because we’ll try anything.” The
one rule he followed—a nod to his folk background—was absolutely no electric guitar. "Blood Stutter," a demo from those sessions went viral on Spotify with 7 million
plays and counting and drew acclaim from the likes of USA Today. Photo Finish
Records inked a deal with Handsome Ghost in 2014, and Noyes headed to Los Angeles to cut his debut EP,
Steps, with producer extraordinaire Matt Squire (Ariana
Grande, Youngblood Hawke). Far away from New England, Noyes grew to embrace his beginnings, and hisnaturally defenseless vocals emerged front and center. “Handsome Ghost isn’t folk music—we have big drums and production, synths etc. But I like to think that above all that stuff is the song itself, and I hope that listeners can connect with my words and melodies more than anything else.”