Five lives that collided to make a stamp of their own. Floodlights’ dynamic live performance is raw and intimate, intertwined with powerful outbursts and marching rhythms. Evocative lyricism lies at the heart of their songwriting and is enhanced by their unique sound. They explore themes of personal turbulence, national identity and the Australian landscape as a form of escapism. Floodlights write honestly and poetically in the hope that it resonates with others. Gaining global attention with their first two releases Backyard and From a View, the band is now touring their new album Painting of my Time extensively across Australia, USA and UK/Europe. Painting of my Time showcases Floodlights distinctive style and compelling evolution as a band. Hi Fi Way spoke to Ashlee Kehoe about this incredible album.
2023 has been an incredible year for Floodlights and it must be great to have your debut album out which is still resonating with fans?
It’s been really good. So nice to have it out there now. We recorded the album like a year before and it had been a bit of a wait, getting it out. So it’s been so good having it all out there and being out on tour.
How was the process of creating these songs and did you know you had something special as they started to take shape?
It was a bit of a process writing it and this time we wanted to try and write like an actual album. Our first album was sort of more of a collection of songs that we wrote that we put together. Whereas this time we were like, let’s try and write an album worth of songs. As they came together, I feel like we were all pretty excited, especially because they were so fun to play live as well. We also wanted to have that as a thought in our mind when writing like, are these going to be enjoyable to play live? I feel like we felt that with these songs. Once we got to the end result and had the ten, everyone was really happy and excited.
Was the second album blues really a thing then or is it more about finding who you are as a band now?
I think that we enjoyed that part of it. We really wanted to sort of push ourselves with this next album. We didn’t want to do a repeat of the first and we wanted to progress the sound and the ideas of what we were writing about. I think we also had just a lot more time on our hands because it was lockdown. So, we were able to hone in on the songs more, spend a lot more time on them. I think everyone’s playing had naturally progressed as well just because we’d been playing so much that it felt like we were progressing sonically. I think it also was a really good outlet during the lockdowns to spend a lot of time on these songs and the ideas of what the lyrics were about. I feel that was a really good thing for me to put my attention to during that time. It was hard at times, but it was enjoyable to create.
Are there a lot of learnings you would take in to making the next album?
We’ve already started writing the next album and I think the main thing we are taking from it is that idea of progressing and continuing to develop. Trying not to repeat the same album, but what can we do and how can we like challenge the way we write and try and create something that we wouldn’t have in the last album, which I think actually happens anyway because your influences change and you get excited by different things at different times. I think with the next album that’s already begun happening and we’ve also got another band member now as well who like adds a lot to it all. We’ve got Sarah who plays trumpet and piano, so that has really helped in the songwriting already and changing it because we’ve got all these new elements to it.
Was there much debate about the songs and various ideas?
I think it was pretty much everyone on the same page. Luckily, we all work on the songs really collaboratively and I feel like we often have quite similar taste in what we think will work especially in terms of choosing songs for the album. I feel like we were very much on the same page about which ones we thought worked the best. There wasn’t really much confrontation or an issue of someone thinking something should happen and it didn’t. I feel like it was quite obvious to us that those ten songs were the ones that worked together and in writing them because we did it in a collaborative way. Everyone felt quite happy with how the songs came out.
Did you write just enough for the album, or did you have a few left over?
We had a few songs left over that we recorded. We wanted to record some extra tracks just to listen back and see what worked together. It was quite obvious to us which ones didn’t fit the album once we’d recorded it. We wrote two songs while we were recording which we recorded at a separate time after that went on the album as well. So, there were some late editions too.
Do the leftovers find their way on to something else down the track?
Oh, who knows! Never say never! I don’t know. They might, we’ve got a few leftover songs in the archives now, so maybe one day we’ll put them out.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Floodlights on the Harvest Stage at Harvest Rock on Sunday 29 October, tickets HERE…