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October 2021
Feature

Chain Of Flowers: "The fucking sky’s the limit"

Cardiff sextet Chain of Flowers are playing by their own rules.
Published: 4:57 pm, November 04, 2015
Chain Of Flowers: "The fucking sky’s the limit"
“When a lot of bands start up, they don’t aim that highly with the songs they’re writing. We thought fuck it. People can laugh because we’ve gone so whole hog, but it sounds good. We’ve done what we want to do with it,” reasons vocalist Joshua Smith. “Don’t restrict yourselves, the fucking sky’s the limit.”

Chain Of Flowers’ debut album was finally released in October but things weren’t always so assured for the Welsh six-piece. “Some of us didn’t think it was going to come out at all,” admits bassist Dan Anderson. “We’ve been sat on it for over a year, everything was going on for so long,” adds Josh. “It would have been easy for us to lose faith in it and let it go that way but we persisted.  We didn’t know how we were going to get it out but we stuck at it and we’re fucking glad we did.”

It’s an album borne out of struggle and that fight can be felt in every tensed movement. The eight tracks were recorded in just four days at Wales’ Monnow Valley Studios before being send back and forth across the Atlantic over a six-month mixing process with Ben Greenberg, “he completely understood what we were trying to do, honed it and helped make this record exactly what it is.” From the opening whir of ‘Nails’ through the gleeful fuzz of ‘Glimmers Of Joy’ until the epic wash of ‘Drained’, it’s an album that appears fully formed and reflects a collective confidence.

“The way we wrote it wasn’t the most methodical. We were very much just in the room, everyone turned up as loud as they can go, thrashing it out over each another. A lot of things can get lost in those situations and you don’t always get the best out of them. Between doing it like that and then playing it live over and over, we ironed out everything we needed to. I don’t know if it’s the same approach we’d take to writing another record, there’s been a few lessons learnt but I’m glad that’s the way we went about writing this record. It seemed to work out,” grins Josh from the basement of The Shacklewell Arms. The band have driven the 150 miles plus to play a show with Destruction Unit before putting in the same journey home ahead of work tomorrow. “I’m not looking forward to the drive later but that’s the price we pay for doing what we do.”



Playing in various bands throughout South Wales before coming together on an understanding, Chain Of Flowers, “were all on the same wavelength and wanted to create the same sort of sound.” Pulling away from whatever scene was around them, they did things their own way. “Our sound to a degree does encompass growing up in Cardiff. It’s fucking grey, it rains, it’s cold and it’s fucking boring. You make your own out of it. There was no supporting cast of people saying they loved it. We were completely on our own and we took ourselves off from anything else that was happening in Cardiff because it wasn’t really us.”

That determination is why the band has only released a handful of songs before diving into a full length. “We just wanted to make music we’d actually listen to. That’s why we never really considered the standard way of doing things. People were saying we needed to put a single out. No, we fucking don’t. Who are you to tell us what our own band should be?”

That’s not to say Chain Of Flowers didn’t explore. “There was a lot of different sounds we were playing around with. If we had come to release some of the stuff we had been working on, it would have been confusing. It was all very different. The songs on the album are different to each other but they make sense together.”

“There’s a few different elements to it. The record takes you up and down and lyrically, there are some themes that run throughout. What anybody listening can hear and take away from it, whether it was intended to be there or not, is completely valid. The more people can take from it and make their own interpretations of, the better. I just hope at the right time and the right place, that record makes sense to someone.”

Across its eight tracks ‘Chain Of Flowers’ crafts huge walls of noise and throws shadows accordingly. “A lot of its very introspective stuff from myself on relationships and past experiences of my life over the past few years of my life as we were writing the record. Things pulling together, things falling apart and trying to enjoy yourself in the interim, as and when you can.”

“I’d like it if people took it as a record and take us for what it is. We didn’t have any major influences. At no point did we say ‘Let’s do a song like this band’ or ‘Let’s do anything like anyone else’. Because we’ve played for so long this is what we do. I want people to see that this isn’t a rehash. There’s a lot of rehash out there. It took a lot to make this.

“I don’t think we would have stuck to it as long as we did if we didn’t love the songs as much as we do. I think that’s what kept us going through the long period of recording. If we didn’t love the album as much as we did, we wouldn’t have pushed so hard to get it out.” But push they did. With an album out and a small team of trusted individuals let into their world, Chain Of Flowers now feels like a legitimate band. There are scraps of ideas forming for album two, American shows penciled in and a drive to continue. But right now, “There’s a little bit of pride and it feels nice.”

Taken from the November issue of Upset, out now. Chain of Flowers’ self-titled album is out now.
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