Florence Welch sits on the pool table in New York’s Gramercy Hotel. This is the same place where Russell Hammond dumps Peggy Lane in Almost Famous, and the boozy decadence still remains—though now, iPhones replace cigarettes in most people’s hands. Alexa Chung lounges on one velvet couch, Daisy Lowe is perched on another. And the 28-year-old Virgo is about to debut Florence and the Machine‘s entire new album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful to a small crush of label executives, music editors, and fellow rockers.
Before hitting “play,” Welch spoke to the crowd about the new record, and what it took to make it. Though cell phones were banned from the room, we took copious notes:
The Perils of “Me Time”
“This album was written over a period of time I had to myself. I was trying to come to terms with living outside of a tour bus, which is a place where your own chaos is catered to. After I was back home and living in my own environment again, and really by myself for the fist time, I realized, ‘You have to take care of yourself’ and that was something new. And very, very scary.”
The Album That Almost Wasn’t
I got tricked into making this record, really. I felt out at sea, lots of highs and lows were happening in my life, and I felt that all kinds of things were going wrong. All this stuff made me feel helpless and really sad. And when I told that to Markus [Dravs, her producer], he said, “Great, let’s shut you in the studio so you can let it all out.” And I said, “ok” and suddenly we were making an album… Every day, I took a 15-minute bike ride to the studio, and it was such a quiet way of working, I almost didn’t realize we were doing it.
How Big, How Blue, How…Huh?
The title comes from how exciting and boundless and magical things feel when they’re going right. When I was touring, I fell in love with every city I performed in. And even through the bad and the good, I come back to the feeling I had at the start of all this—life is boundless, with some messy stuff that throws you. But when you see a big blue sky, you can see that there’s always hope for more.