From Hood River, Oregon, Zach Grace and flor have been marveling fans with their unique sound and passionate performances for the past few years. To date, they’ve released two albums and now they’ve released two EPs in their reimagined series. About a year ago when the band was on tour the band was in sound check when Grace started fooling around with the guitar part on “slow motion” – it was then that the concept of reimagined was born. The band would take flor songs (and a cover too) and rework them for themselves and fans, and then release them. They dropped three songs from the series in February and they just dropped two more from the set. Alternative Addiction talked with flor’s Zach Grace about the reimagined series, what would be off limits to recreate, and his one-of-a-kind vocal.
“That was the first instance of kind of recreating our own song,” said Grace about the discovery of reimagined playing the different riff for the song. “I was messing around when we were in sound check, we all heard that it was a cool start to that song. The idea for this started for us right there. When you’re in the studio creating a song, you have to really nail down an idea to run with it. In that process, all these different ideas get tossed aside. So, going back and revisiting some of those early ideas is a fun thing to do,” added Grace.
While the band was planning to rework more songs, they wanted to make sure what they were doing was worthwhile. Their audience’s reception towards the songs confirmed that. The reaction for the three songs was outstanding, so they moved forward.
“That was the intention all along,” explained Grace on their continued work of reimagined. “But We wanted to make sure it was something that people were interested in. After we put out the first one when we were out on tour before that got cancelled, after every show people would come up and ask if we were going to do more of those. We felt validated with that. It gave us the go ahead to keep trying new songs.”
Some songs take on a life of their own when bands play them live every night. Those songs change slightly from time to time. That happens with good live bands. For a band to release a reworked version of a song and do it purpose? That’s unconventional. Grace talked about the challenge of creating something different with something flor created that has existed in its own space for a substantial amount of time.
“You want to be intentional about it. You don’t want to tread too closely to the same thing, because otherwise what’s the point? It’s fun to step into water than what we wouldn’t have normally done on a typical flor album. You know what you’re getting into when you’re listening to our band, but with these reimaged tracks that goes out the window. It still has my voice, and that’s a defining factor of our band, but it sounds a little bit more like Hozier or Post Malone because we can do that with this.”
The songs that were released from reimagined in February were “warm blood”, “slow motion”, and the band’s version of Coldplay’s “Yellow” featuring Misterwives. The newly released songs are “unsaid” and “white noise.” Grace talked about the newly reworked songs that were just released.
“With ‘white noise’ we get more into the introspective nature of that song. It’s an emotional song that gets a little bit lost in the original because of the upbeat nature of it. ‘unsaid’… the idea with that one was to pretend like we were 18 years-old in a garage again discovering what it felt like to make music together. We really limited what we could use to make that song. It was mostly just one synthesizer, guitar, drums, bass; simple, nothing too flashy.”
So far, they’ve reworked and released four flor songs and a cover, but what in their catalogue of music is off-limits to rework?
“’Dancing Around’ is one that comes close that I don’t really want to mess with it,” replied Grace answering the question. “It captures this perfect energy. But I know it’s one that people are going to want to put a spin on. It’s taking a lot of time for me to think about where I’d want to go with that song because I enjoy exactly where it’s at. For me, that would be the toughest one to reimagine.”
The perfect energy is something that runs deep for the Oregon band. They’ve known each other and have been working together forever. A big part of their success so far has been their established chemistry and being able to have the perfect energy outputted across all their instruments including Grace’s distinct vocal.
“At first, it made me feel uncomfortable,” said Grace when asked about his unique singing voice. “No one else really has a voice like this. That didn’t make me feel good all the time. That made me think that I needed to change something, or maybe I wasn’t good enough… that I didn’t have what it took. As the band got more and more comfortable, we realized that it was a special thing. That wasn’t a realization that I had; it was something that Dylan (Bauld, flor bassist) always talked about. He would talk about how I had something really cool and that it was something that I needed to dive into it. That was weird for me to hear because I came from a choir background where it’s not about standing out, it’s about blending in. I had this constant conflict within myself to dive into what I had. It’s unique, it’s not the best, but it’s something special. Every time I’m reminded of that, I feel really lucky. You can’t just make something like that, you get stuck with it,” added the flor frontman while laughing.
Grace says the band has ‘space for one, maybe two more small sets of reimagined songs.’ He also noted that it’s going to be a tough decision to decide which version of certain songs get played during the band’s eventual live shows – whenever that happens again.
“Up until this process, I thought that I liked the creation of music more than I enjoyed playing show,” said the flor frontman. “I’m realizing how much I miss connecting with people and playing shows for people. It’s brutal to think about not being able to do that. I miss my band. I want to play shows with them. It sucks. I want to be with my friends playing music and playing shows.”-aa