Florence Welch has admitted the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic made her contemplate shelving Florence and the Machine’s latest album.
The ‘Dog Days Are Over’ hitmaker has admitted the global health crisis made it challenging to finish ‘Dance Fever’, specifically the travel restrictions between the US and UK, and it wasn’t until she and producer Jack Antonoff penned the tracks ‘King’ and then ‘Choreomania’ that Florence knew they had something too special to give up on.
Speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, she said: “There were so many moments where I had nearly gave up on this record. There were so many moments where I nearly went, ‘It just feels like the way that the world is, this is just too hard to finish.’
“I started with Jack [Antonoff], and we were meant to make the whole record in Electric Lady in New York in … March 2020. I went to New York. I had my suitcases packed for a month, we were going to make the whole… we had a bunch of amazing songs done. The first song we wrote together was ‘King’ and … so Jack had wanted to work together for a while, and we met and we got on really well. I found him really great to talk to. I never start working with anyone at this stage in my career, unless we get in the studio and do something, and that really tells you whether something’s going to work. You’re never like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this,’ until you’ve had a play date, and on this play date we wrote ‘King’ and then ‘Choreomania’. I’d had ‘Choreomania’ and it was in a very demo-like state, and what Jack did to it, he took it so far. I was like, ‘This guy’s really good. He’s really, really good.’
The strength of those two songs was like, ‘Okay, there’s really something here,’ and then we agreed to start the record together. We got to New York, in that one week we wrote ‘Free’ and we wrote ‘Back In Town’.”
The 35-year-old singer also admitted she went through a grieving process when live music was cancelled at the height of the pandemic, and didn’t know whether she’d return to the stage.
She said: “I felt like this cathedral of touch that I had built had just flattened overnight. And the grief and the loss of… It’s also, it was like, ‘It’s my job.’ And I just didn’t know if it would come back and I don’t know how to do anything else. I don’t know how to do anything else? Because, there were so many false starts as well of like, ‘We can go to finish the record, or we can’t, there’s another variant. We’re going to get to New York to do it. Oh, we can’t. Everyone in England has COVID, you can’t leave. America doesn’t want you.’
“And so, there were so many false starts of whether this record would even finish.
“And you would see a tour go up, you would see it get cancelled.”
The ‘You’ve Got The Love’ singer had gotten so used to life off the road and felt “abandoned” when the one place she goes to for a “relief from self” wasn’t there anymore, and she started to doubt whether she wanted to tour again.
Florence added: “And so, it was almost like, after two years of desperately wondering, I almost settled in.
“I was like, ‘You know what? Maybe, this isn’t…’ It’s like, ‘I will never, I could never live without this thing.’ And I still feel that a world without live music, I was really questioning whether I even wanted to be in that world. That’s how I’ve seen miracles take place, is on stage.
“It’s how I’ve seen people transcend their physical bodies and bring heaven into the room.
“For me, music and gigs, they are my kind of spiritual practice, and making music. And I always felt like I was in communication with something outside of myself that would provide me this moment of relief from self. And that is a kind of transcendence, I think. And so when all gigs and live and… these places that had been my church… I felt abandoned, I think. I felt abandoned.”