Timing is everything. Sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time.
Sheffield rockers FloodHounds can attest to that. A chance meeting at a party set plans in motion to put FloodHounds on the path they are on today.
Band members Jack Flynn, on guitar and vocals; Rhys Owen, on bass and vocals; and Lauren Greaves on drums have recently released their new EP, “Look What You’ve Started,” filled with 6 high quality bluesy hard-rocking tunes.
“A&E” has a great rollicking sound with fast, trippy drum work and a jumpy tempo.
“Soulmates to Cellmates” is bright and bouncy and just good old fun.
“End of the Road” has kind of a western, syncopated sound and heavy bass.
After a busy festival-filled summer, they are also one of the featured bands playing on Oct. 22 at the Oxjam Leeds Takeover Festival (http://oxjamleeds.co.uk/).
I had a great chat the other day with Jack as he spent an afternoon wandering around Sheffield looking in vintage shops.
Here is our conversation:
Tell me about the FloodHounds … When did the band start?
Well, I’ve known Rhys for ages. Me and Rhys were in a band before, and then two of the other guys left to go traveling, and we were frantically cobbling together acoustic sets to fulfill our remaining booked gigs, and then by sheer coincidence Lauren moved into a house with some good friends of mine, and we were on a night out and people were asking me about the band, I said “not good, we haven’t got a drummer” and someone goes “Liz plays drums!” and a light bulb went off and since then it’s been brilliant. Everyone clicked pretty quick.
How long ago was that?
This was about November 2014. We practiced and went straight into a studio to record our second EP, and we did a couple rough and ready gigs, but our first proper gig as a three-piece was February-ish 2015 I think.
Wow … Straight to the studio … Was everyone comfortable?
I know, haha! It was a bit of a gamble, but all the songs were all 100 percent written and me and Rhys know them backwards and Lauren is an amazing drummer so it wasn’t too hard. Actually yeah, I think we originally just had Lauren in to record with us, but then it extended to a couple of gigs and turns out she’s never left.
She’s a very good drummer from what I hear — you are lucky to have her. I see there is a new drum stick sponsorship too!
Yeah that’s awesome, they just came out of nowhere and handed her a big bag of free sticks, which is so helpful, cause little things like sticks add up and get expensive over time. It’s so expensive these days, running a band without help from like a label or anything like that.
If you aren’t in a band you don’t think about all those things, like sticks and strings … How is the music scene there? I hear a lot of quality bands coming from Sheffield lately …
Yeah, it’s really good. There’s not a shortage of places to play. If you want a gig, you can get one! And practice rooms are all really cheap and there’s loads which is really helpful. That’s probably why there is so many bands. I don’t know how we would’ve got started if we didn’t have cheap rooms to play in. You can only do so much in a bedroom.
They’re all in old steelworks buildings too which is cool.
Sounds like there is great opportunity for growth there. Did you get to play many summer festivals? Tramlines was pretty big …
We managed a few, we were all over the place. Rhys was in Vietnam and Lauren was in India for summer so we couldn’t get as many we’d have liked, but we did do a few! Tramlines was sooooo good! The city just goes crazy. Every single bar/venue is full to the brim, so the gigs are just awesome. Last year we did the Leadmill with Fat White Family which was definitely a band highlight.
Did you play Tramlines?
Yep, we’ve done it every year in one band or another for the last three to four years.
That’s great. I may add that to my wish list of festivals to attend in the future. Is this your first Oxjam festival coming up?
You definitely should!
We did one in Sheffield last year, but the Leeds one looks even bigger! And we’re doing Derby the night before Leeds which should be good. Can’t wait!
Back-to-back shows … You should well be warmed up and ready then …
Haha, I hope so!
When did you start playing? What made you want to be a musician?
I first started guitar at about age 11 or 12. Got really into Jimi Hendrix and The White Stripes and just set about learning every great guitar lick there ever was! Pretty much once I started playing I was thinking, “Well … now I want a band!” And then I was in bands ever since about 14. Mostly terrible, but it meant I could learn how to make it work and get all the bad songs out of my system early.
That’s the benefit of starting young! You’ve got some fantastic tracks here, really! Bluesy, funky, rocky … what all influences do you have?
Well, for me it’s all classic stuff like The Beatles/Rolling Stones and other bluesy punk stuff like White Stripes. Rhys is a proper British Indie kid with Libertines, The Smiths, Oasis, Blur and Arctic Monkeys and Lauren has a crazy mix of everything from heavy bluesy rock to reggae and drum and bass and all sorts of crazy rhythmic DJ music that I know nothing about.
All of those shine through in your music … Is songwriting a group effort then?
I think it will be eventually, but at the moment I’ve got so many already written in the bank it’s really easy to just knock a new one out every other practice. So I bring in the chords/riffs and lyrics and a basic structure and then as a band we will fine tune which bit could go where or change a rhythm or a style of a section and then we have a song. It’s pretty quick most of the time.
Fair enough … How many tunes are banked up then?
We’ve finished as a band about 25 including the 12 we’ve recorded, and then I have another 10 to 15 that I’ve done on my own that the band can flesh out soon, and then about 20 more that are half-finished that hopefully I can get something out of eventually.
Wow, that could keep you in business for a good while! What’s your set going to be like for Oxjam Leeds?
Probably about two-thirds stuff people have heard and the rest new songs!
Sounds great! I am looking forward to seeing you play! So what goals do you have — short-term and/or long-term?
Well, we’re releasing the next set of songs as singles with a small label sort of thing, instead of doing an EP by ourselves, so we’re hoping they’ll get a bit more attention and maybe get us onto the next level. But basically short-term, we just want to play as many gigs as possible and have as many people up for coming and enjoying it as possible.
Long-term just depends on how well the short-term goes, haha. It would be amazing to quit the day job and do this full-time and get to play gigs in other countries and travel!
Everything after that is just a massive bonus.
You can find FloodHounds on Twitter at @FloodHounds, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FloodHounds/?fref=ts, on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/floodhounds, on the web at http://www.floodhounds.com/ and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/FloodHounds.