Interview: Floral Image on Mental Health, Jeremy Corbyn and their new single ‘Why I Leave’

Norwich-based psych rock quintet Floral Image release the video for their new single ‘Why I Leave’ on Friday 13th November. John Clay caught up with them to talk about mental health, politics and the relationship between different forms of creative media.

Hello guys, thank you for giving Joyzine a chance to look into your world. Your debut video is on the horizon. How important is the medium of film for the communication of your song?

Julien (Drums): I think there are two aspects in the desire to create a video. The first is a creative one. I think our music is very “cinematic” and calls for images.  It’s an incredible medium to affirm our artistic vision but also to extend the universe we create with sounds. For example, I discovered new layers in ‘Why I leave’ when I watched the editing of the clip for the first time.

The second aspect is very pragmatic: we need a video to promote our music, that’s how the industry works. But for me, it’s a very positive aspect.

Mitch (Bass): There’s nothing like an audio-visual injection to get the arteries pumping again. Adding that extra media component extends the song for our audience. That’s why the kids kicked a rocket off with MTV, man. Floral Image is a full, multi-sensory experience.

Jack (keys, vocals): Multi-sensory experience… like Norwich market on a Saturday afternoon. The music video really brought the song to life for us, both musically and lyrically. It was like hearing the song for the first time again…a story being retold.

What previous work drew you towards your current visual creative team?

Fergus (vocals/guitar): Well if truth be told we are just lucky enough to have very generous and creative friends to add their own input to our visual aesthetic. Alberto Allica (the director), has done an amazing job with our video and our bass player/designer-in-chief Mitch has produced our merch and logo. Their friendship and aligning taste is the only previous work we need refer to upon our decision to hire them… as well as the hideously cheap labour.

Jack (Keys, Vocals): Cheap labour yes, but on the right side of human rights (I hope). Alberto does have some other work which you should check out though… he’s a Francis Ford Coppola in the making. This was also his first ever music video so we were both going into the making of the video with fresh eyes which was exciting.

Mitch (Bass): I like to think he and Carmen (our Director of Photography) brought with them a Spaniard’s touch. I’m not sure what it exactly is yet, but it feels good and Spaniards are important. I’d trust Alberto and Carmen with my life, forever.

The song is concerned with an aspect of mental illness. And so, given the lush colour palette and warm dreamy tones, was there any concern that the video might contribute to the beautification of social issues like mental illness?

Julien (Drums): I believe that beautification is not necessarily a problem in art. The aim is to make the wheels of the imagination turn to engage people. Again, I think that the lyrics are not explicit and that the clip does not give all the keys. It’s subject to interpretation. If I had to make a (humble) parallel, I would say that we’re trying to get closer to David Lynch’s imagery than to the Dardenne brothers.

Jack (vocals, keys): I personally think it’s important to be able to communicate your feelings in whatever way you feel like, that’s the beauty of art and the human condition. The song is about mental health which is something we all have to keep in check. Our way of communicating that emotion in the case of ‘Why I Leave’ is the juxtaposition of upbeat music with self-reflective lyrics. It’s also important to highlight that even though someone might be struggling with problems of mental health they can also be bright and dreamy at times – it’s an ongoing and ever changing thing.

Fergus (vocals/guitar): Well, the colour palette becomes colourful in the video only when we are taken to the dreamscape that represents childlike innocence. I think the hopefulness of youth requires the colour, we all had big bright dreams back then did we not?

Salient points and worthy of further examination in discourse to come. Adjacent question, bearing in mind how closely you follow politics, do you have any comments regarding Corbyn’s suspension from the Labour Party?

Fergus (Guitar/Vocals): Well it’s an incredibly sad state of affairs when the former leader of the political party who has the best hopes of opposing the current government has been suspended on grounds as serious as anti-semitism. The sooner the scope of political conversation in this country becomes a places devoid of triggering religious and national discrimination the better.

Jack (Keys, Vocals): Antisemitism or any form of racism/discrimination should not be accepted. If the ECHR report has deemed Labour to be responsible for harassment and discrimination then it should be investigated further and action should be taken.

… And how do we think his fight against the decision will affect the narrative thus far?

Julien (Drums): This will make the wheels of the media circus turn. And sell papers?

Mitch (Bass): Too right. And at the expense of the Jewish community countrywide. The media frenzy is really trivialising the issue at hand- but if a narrative sells, they’ll exploit it I guess.

Fergus (vocals/guitar): Sadly the narrative of the mud-slinging will be directed in whichever way media outlets will it to go. Sadly in the age of information and opinion overload it’s even harder to pick out the concrete truth amongst the vested interests at play. What a comforting position it must be for members of the current government with on-record questionable morals considering their party has invented, cemented and bankrolled the majority of the media landscape

And let’s not forget the news today in regards to the announcement of legal action against Johnson for his alleged failure to protect our electorate from Russian interference. Will you guys be surprised if such news is more than likely ‘buried’?

Julien Beghain (Drums): Not at all. I would have been very surprised otherwise.

Jack (keys, vocals): I think we have come to expect it now from the majority of news outlets. Let’s face it, Johnson wouldn’t be where he is without the ongoing bum smooching.

Fergus (Vocals/Guitar): Whilst we’re on the topic of state interference beyond its lines of jurisdiction. I’d deem it far more suitable for him to receive legal action for allowing his cabinet to sell weapons of war to states who intend to drop them on civilians.

Mitch (Bass): That, and all of the other recorded accounts of his personal criminality. Published Islamophobia, racism, lying for political gain, looking/sounding like that and still being somehow regarded as legitimate by anyone. I could go on.

We could go on, but hey, I do believe it is time to respect column space and alert people to the release date of your single and where they can buy it.

Jack (keys, vocals): The ‘Why I Leave’ music video will be viewable across earth and the universe from 13th November 2020, with the single itself released on streaming platforms and beyond come 20th November 2020. Also check out our website for exclusive cyber content – floralimageband.com

Mitch (bass): Can’t wait for y’all to get it down ye. It’s a smasher!

Julien (Drums): Stream it on Tidal though: we’ll earn more money for our Ferrari than we would with Spotify (or buy it at Bandcamp, even better). Thanks

Mitch (bass): *Ferrari’s. I’m not sharing.

Thanks for your insights and well timed joviality guys.

Jack (keys, vocals): Thanks John! Looking forward to chatting again soon.

Julien (Drums): Thanks John!

Interview by John Clay
instagram.com/floralimageband

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