After an exhilarating set at Benumu’s Spotlight – Ones to watch in 2019, FloodHounds let us pick their musical wonder brains during an interview. The band from Sheffield just saw off a wildly successful 2018, with sell out headlines in both London and Sheffield. They supported the likes of The Blinders, Calva Louise, False Heads and Demob Happy and also took things overseas with their first international gig in Paris. Contrary to the booming sound they make, this band is deceptively small, consisting of Jack Flynn (vocals and guitar), Lauren Greaves (drummer) and Joel Hughes (bass guitar). FloodHounds mix elements of indie, garage-rock, blues and grunge into their tracks resulting in that classic rumbling growl complemented with pleasing vibrancy and brightness. Their acute craftsmanship and precision as a band is evident in every song while the energy they bring to the stage is delightfully carefree and spontaneous.
So first of all, you guys are from Sheffield – how was your drive down?
(Jack) No problems on a Sunday! (Lauren) That’s the advantage of a Sunday gig… easy driving!
How do you feel playing after the drive?
(Jack) Oh, it’s just what you do.You get used to it. Especially if you live in the North, you find yourself driving down a lot. (Lauren) Also, by the time you play it’s already been three hours – (Jack) Three beers down…
When you get upstage what’s on your mind?
(Lauren) Don’t-fuck-it-up -laughs- (Jack) Yeah, it’s usually sound worries, you’re like ‘Well I could hear everything at the soundcheck I hope I can still hear it’. And then you start and sometimes you can’t and you go ‘Well, I guess this is what’s happening!’
When something is going wrong, do you feel like everyone knows, or are you aware that we normally have absolutely no clue?!
(Jack) I think we used to think that, but we do so many gigs where things go wrong that you just kind of get on with it. We break strings, microphones fall apart and all kinds of stuff happens (Lauren) As soon as something goes wrong you get that feeling where your stomach just drops out and you’re thinking ‘Oh my god everyone knows’ but actually probably no one knows.
On that note, every time we’ve seen you you seem so comfortable on stage. Like today it really seemed like you enjoyed it. Does it take time to really start enjoying it?
(Jack) I think when you start you’re just trying to play the songs you played in practise but the more you do it you’re like now we know how to play it, we can actually start to look away from our guitars and go ‘Oh my god there’s people, shit!’ and then you start looking at them and it just gets easier and easier. It’s only in the last six months where we’ve been able to sort of (Lauren) – relax a bit more.
We noticed you had some friends down there; are they from Sheffield too?
(Jack) No actually, because I grew up in South-West London in Kingston, so luckily thank god I know a few people down here. It must be hard if you’re a band that’s born and bred in Newcastle, who the fuck are you gonna bring to a London gig? How do you start?! So we’re very lucky privileged in that way.
So what is the music scene like in Sheffield?
(Jack) It’s really good. (Lauren) Lots of cool venues to play, lots of small venues (Jack) About as big as this room – we’re in the Camden Assembly Green Room! – (Lauren) There’s lots of good opportunities for small bands just starting out to pack a venue out… probably because the venue could only fit about fifty people in it (Jack) – laughs – Yeah you can get a sold out gig with not many people!
This is more directed at you, Lauren, but just today I was reading a blog entitled ‘Where are all the female drummers?’ –
(Jack) – points at Laura – Right here!
What made you want to start playing the drums?
I wanted to start playing the drums because…I just thought it was really fucking cool! And also, I liked being able to just sit at the back and crack on with it Especially because I started when I was about thirteen and I was even more awkward than I am now, so the idea of just being behind the drum kit and just bash away seemed incredible to me. I always get asked whether there were any female drummers who inspired me –
Damn, my next question’s gone…
And, to be honest, the drummers that inspired me to play were Dave Grohl, Travis Barker, Chad Smith, and it never even occurred to me that none of them were girls. It did not even cross my mind. Didn’t seem to matter. (Jack) Drums are drums! (Lauren) I’ve since discovered a lot of amazing female drummers, but when you first start out you only really know the big ones, the mainstream ones and they’re all blokes, but I don’t think I actually even noticed to be honest. (Jack) Now you’ve got Goat Girl, PINS – (Lauren) Yeah, loads coming through.
Now, (I do not share the same opinion at all!) but you jokingly described your lyrics as ‘shit’ on stage tonight – who is responsible for the ‘shit’ lyrics?!
(Jack) That would be me, yes… Oh god, did I really say that? (Lauren) You did -laughs- I honestly don’t remember saying that. What was I talking about?
You were just saying the lyrics were easy to remember, so we had no excuse not to sing along!
(Jack) Oh god yes. Well, in a moment of desperation you say all kinds of things… Often I get quoted stuff I said and I don’t even remember.
Well, when you’re talking to the audience are you worrying about what you’re saying or is it just something that happens naturally?
(Jack) It’s not my natural setting. My proper role in the music should be off to the side doing guitar solos. But, you know, we started the band, couldn’t find a singer and eventually you just can’t wait any longer. I had to just do it myself. I mean it seemed to work out, no one boycotted the gigs and we haven’t had any bad reviews so we’ll just keep going
At the end of the gig, Simon was wondering how a three-man band make such a massive sound! But what are the perks of being a smaller group?
(Jack) We all fit in one car! (Lauren) With all the kit!
That does sound handy… When you were growing up, who inspired you to play an instrument and create music?
(Jack) we’re actually all pretty different. For me it’s like blues and Hendrix, White Stripes, a lot of brit pop and American blues. (Lauren) I’ve been through just about every stage ever. When you first go through that phase where you stop listening to just what’s on the radio and go your own way with it, like ‘Right I’m going completely my own way with this, I’m going to listen to Slipknot!’. Then I chilled out a bit and got really into pop punk, really into Green Day and all that and then I went backwards into AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. (Jack) I’m sure we met at a drum n bass night (Lauren) Yeah, so there’s been all sorts. (Jack) Then Joel was into filthy scuzz punk – you know, the most skinhead, tattoo nasty noise. He’d always be like ‘This is an amazing band’ and we’d just be like ‘Joel, it’s just noise!’. But hopefully that gives us a nice mix.
It definitely does. And finally, what is coming up for you guys in 2019?
(Jack) We’ve got three new tunes coming out. The first will be out in February – ‘Stepping Stone’ – and then the next two are coming out as part an an EP. I think we’re aiming at April for that one. Lots of new music and we plan to gig real hard. Then as soon as the new music’s out we’ll be straight back in the studio, working on more new music and we’ll just be repeating the cycle. (Lauren) It’s weird because we’ve started writing but we’ve not even released the last batch and we’re already desperate to get into the studio and record some more!