Back Issue__ Florence and The Machine
You've said you have a weakness for the vulnerability of the father figure. Are you close with your father?
Yeah. My dad really supported me in the early stages of my career and he really helped when I was first signing my deal and it was all really scary. He helped me out when we were first touring--he drove me around in his camper van when we didn’t have any money. In some ways he’s kind of childlike still, and quite a dreamer. He’s still kind of dreaming about what to do in his life. But he’s just wonderful. We're really close and I’m close to my mother too but in a different way I think. My mothers far more practical.
Are you closer with one than the other?
No, I’m close with both just in different ways. My mother is practical and my father is fun, he’s kind of free spirited and my mother is still fun but she much more down to earth. My mom is a realist and my father is a dreamer. I don’t know where that puts me, dreaming in reality I suppose.
Growing up you went to private school. Did you have to wear a uniform?
Uh huh, not when you got to the sixth form, which is the last two years of school. I had to wear a very fancy uniform at primary school and then my second school, a lot of grey.
Did you find it really constricting?
Well, we found ways of adapting our uniforms. I got in a lot of trouble from my stepfather for using his duct tape, to tape up my school skirt. So the inside of my skirt was done up with electrical tape. Very short. I always find in daily life, it’s like, don’t you kind of make your own uniforms in a sense. It’s really weird. You find yourself sort of conforming to your own uniforms sometimes. It’s almost like a safety net. I always find myself wearing the same thing over and over again as if it’s a uniform. But on stage is where the uniforms don’t exist.
Do you choose the stuff you wear on stage?
Yeah. I work with a stylist now that the stages have gotten so much bigger. She kind of puts me in touch with young designers and I’ve collaborated with some really exciting young designers like Hannah Marshall, who is a young British designer and Qasimi. It’s really exciting making like, theatrical stage pieces.
It’s always great to work with fresh new talent and people that have new ideas.
Yeah, I think it’s nice cause its my fist album and it’s nice to work with young artists that can interpret it in a fresh young way. And it’s nice with young artists, it’s easier to collaborate or they’re more likely to collaborate with me and that’s exciting.
When you were a teen, your mom married the next-door neighbor and there were six teenagers living in the house. When and how did that change?
I hated it. We didn’t really fit. But we’d all known each other since we’d been really little and we’d been friends but then when we sort of became siblings, it was very difficult. Everyone sort of thought their family’s way of doing things was better and each family felt like their traditions of family were being stomped on by the other. We became sort of household enemies. But over time and growing up, we get along really well. It’s kind of a triumph of my mothers that we’re all still alive and that we get along.
And are you still close?
Yeah, I mean people have moved out and stuff but I’m still really close with my little sister, my stepbrother and my stepsister and it's really nice.
It’s always good to have family around as you get older.
I really enjoy that we have a big family and at Christmas there are six of us and we irritate the piss out of each other and it’s funny. I mean eventually it sort of back fired on my parents because we ended up getting along so well that we became not us versus each other but us versus them. It became a sort of gang mentality.