There appears to be a boost in brand new original music from artists across the South West recently; with the likes of 16 year old Weymouth based Lizzie Pawsey releasing her debut EP on 15th Feb, and the debut single from Sheridan Knight on the way.
As we enter our second March without live music, there’s a brand new single from Flow State (formally known as Jemima) on the block.
“Avon Giants” immediately caught our eye with its first promotional video on social media about a month ago, which appears to be a music video, and puppet show all rolled into one - something you don’t often see, especially from independent artists. The single and video, produced at Mill Farm Studios in Bradford Abbas by engineer Tom Jobling, still carries that “old Jemima” sound - fronted by vocalist and drummer Jemma Marshall, and multi talented Jordan Digby covering the rest of the instrumentation.
We spoke to Flow State earlier this month to talk about their new single “Avon Giants”.
Frazer Mitchell; Hi Guys! Hope you’re keeping well in 2021! How have you guys been dealing without gigging over the last year or so?
Flow State; As you can imagine we’re missing gigging live so much! We rebranded at the beginning of the year so we’ve steadily been creating content to put out into the world - trying out arrangements for covers with our loop pedal set up which is always fun to do! In the first lockdown and into the summer months we were doing live stream gigs every couple of weeks which kept us ticking over but since then we’ve basically just been getting our ducks in a row - finishing off some recordings and writing some new bits. We’ve also begun to explore other sounds and collaborating with other artists - we’ve featured on a couple of liquid drum and bass tracks which were released onto Soundcloud. But by far what’s taken up the majority of our time in lockdown is attempting to master the art of marionette puppets - we completely underestimated how much of a task that one would be and we have a new found respect for anyone that has a clue how to use them.
FM; You guys were always out and about gigging before COVID-19 was a thing - Antix Music Network booked you to play various festivals including Home Farm Fest and Anonymous Festival, and you also had a term on a cruise ship - these restrictions must be torture for you!
FS; it really is! We were gearing up for our first 6 month med cruise as resident musicians with P&O in April which was something we were working towards since graduating from BIMM Bristol 8 months before. So we were completely gutted about that not going ahead due to COVID-19 and it took us some time to find our feet again with what we were doing. Whilst we’re settled in Poole now, we still have everything crossed that the ships will be back in 2021 - it’s torturous that every time we go for a walk on the beach we can see the ghost cruise ships floating around the bay, just taunting us. We loved playing home farm fest and anonymous festival - for us playing festival gigs is the BEST type of gigs so there’s a big muddy tent shaped hole without them; we love the atmosphere, the people, the outfits and we love tinnies.
FM; So in 2019, the last chance to gig, you were performing and releasing music under the name Jemima, and released a single called Ska Train, which I still love by the way! Why the change in direction; why the change in name, and what is different to Jemima?
FS; we changed it up for a couple of reasons - the first being that Jemima was the name Jemma would go by as a solo artist and as she’d already built up that following we stuck with that for a while, but as we evolved we wanted something that represented us both. We also wanted to start with a clean slate as we became actual professional working musicians. We played around with a few names and we were leaning toward things that resonated with water - living on the south coast and working on boats, so we came up with Flow State. The Flow State is the “mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity” which basically means being in the zone, which is right where we want to be. It’s also the name of the first full length album by our biggest influence Tash Sultana.
FM; So your new single “Avon Giants” was produced in Mill Farm Studios recently; what really caught my eye was the use of puppets - seeing your Instagram stories, I wasn’t sure what you were up to, but it’s now obvious the puppets play quite an important role in the music video for the single; who’s idea was it to include puppets? What’s the story behind the song?
FS; To be honest we weren’t sure what we were up to either buying an entire cast of vintage marionette puppets on Ebay for a vision that we had no idea how to bring to life. Whilst the actual premise of the story is quite sincere (with one unsuccessful giant ending up drowned in the river Severn) we wanted to tell it in a light-hearted way, almost like a children’s story book or a fairytale - so we wanted a really playful video to tell the story. The idea actually stemmed from Tom (this man has all the ideas) when he suggested using shadow puppets. We snowballed some stuff on top of this and then when we found a marionette puppet dressed in giants attire we took it and ran with the idea and had one eye everywhere we could to find a suitable puppet for the rest of the characters in the story. Once we had a puppet for each main character (the 2 giants - goram and Vincent, and princess Avona) we collected a few puppet extras to be in the video, we contacted a local Bristol artist named Hannah Bunn to ask if we could use her beautiful Bristol backdrop, we then reinforced that to a big old piece of cardboard, added some snazzy red velvet curtains and voila we had a stage for our puppet show! We then had Bradley Bowers from BCB media to come and film some shots and bring it to life. The track itself is based on the ancient Bristol folklore tale “Bristol giants” that depicts two giants - brothers Goram and Vincent who fought against each other for the heart of princess Avona. Now Avona isn’t overly fussy and says well alright then whichever of you can drain the chew valley lake gets to go out with me... whilst Vincent cracks straight on with the task in hand his brother Goram doesn’t share the same work ethic and instead decides to kick back with a cold one. The result of their efforts was a deep trench running from Bradford on Avon to the Severn, also known as the Avon Gorge which sits beneath the famous suspension bridge. Vincent won Avona’s hand in marriage and named the gorge after her whilst a distraught goram who had fallen asleep in his chair after a few too many hurled himself into the river Severn, where his head and shoulders can still be seen poking out of the estuary mud. You can hear the full story here as told by John Derrick -
FM; At this stage, it’s still too soon to tell what restrictions will be in place for live music over the next few months, but have you guys started thinking about post COVID in terms of music? Will you guys be pushing for gigs? Is there more new music on the way?
FS; we have got 2 follow up singles planned for release following Avon Giants which are recorded and ready to go thanks to the fab Tom Jobling! One of which is a re-release of “Ska Train” which we’ve recorded at mill farm studios and is a big step up from the Ska Train we recorded 2 years ago in our spare room. The second is a track about our love for pancakes which those who have ever seen us play live will recognise as we just love to pull that one out the bag at gigs. So these 3 releases all follow the same sound and then following that we’ve written some stuff that has a completely different vibe so we would love to get them recorded and released toward the second half of 2021.
FM; I assume that with the lack of gigs, you’ve had more time to discover new music, or like me, go back to music you loved several years ago (I’m reliving the Blink182 Emo stage!); have you guys found anything that you think our readers should be listening to? Any old classics you’ve dusted off?
FS; Alexa gets asked to play “Fleetwood Mac radio” whenever I (Jemma) do the washing up, which feels like about 15 times a day at the minute with the amount of hot drinks on the go. Tash Sultana, always, who has a new track out called Sweet and Dandy which we love! And most of the time we have chill out music on in the background - I’m loving this playlist I found called Lofi Fruits by Strange Fruit which is like lofi hip hop tracks which is super easy listening and perfect for just creating a nice mood throughout the house.
FM; Thank you so much for taking the time out to chat with Antix Music Network today, and I wish you the very best for your new single “Avon Giants”, and more importantly, I hope to see you at a gig very soon!
FS; Thank you for chatting to us!! We hope you love the track half as much as we do 😊💜
Flowstate’s new single “Avon Giants” available on Spotify; make sure you check out the official video below.
Frazer Mitchell - Producer, DJ, and Events Coordinator at Antix Music Network