click here for more


Interviewed by
Louisa Kasza
Wednesday 20th March, 2013 9:32AM

Wellington-based musician and vocal experimenter Flo Wilson, AKA Foxtrot, has been making waves with her hypnotic and intimate live sets all over the country and is just polishing off a new EP.  Fresh back from a short trip to Australia, we managed to catch Flo between shows and she told us all about being Foxtrot - from supporting Baths at Whammy Bar to collaborating with the New Zealand School of Dance...

How did you recent trip your to Australia go?

So much fun! - I played a few shows in Melbourne and Sydney. In Melbourne I played at a Sandwich Club in a friend's yard as well as this place called the Gaso which had this amazing tall roof bit and balcony and Bad Blocks had bought along their smoke machine. Needless to say, things got pretty ~atmospheric~. After Melbourne I headed to Sydney to play a few shows - a particularly memorable set being Black Vanilla's re: Marcus Whale's voguing. I also ate myself silly with laksa. No koalas were hugged in the duration of this trip though so I'll have to go back and live that dream.

How did you first get into making music? 

Aw, I dunno I guess music's been around me since I was a kid so it was never something I had to really get into as Mum always had instruments lying around the house. Then I got to high school and I picked up drumming and singing after a brief foray with the clarinet and here we are!

Is there a story behind the name?

Sort of! Basically I'm a big animal fan, and also wish I could be a backup dancer in a Missy Elliot video (I need to work on my moves though) and somehow the two (foxes and dancing) came together. But I guess it's not a name that's particularly evocative of the music huh! Haha.

For people who haven't heard you, how would you describe your sound?

Experimental cathedral pop…?

How do Foxtrot and your study at the New Zealand School of Music relate and/or feed into each other?

The classes taken and people I've met have definitely played a huge part in musically shaping what it is that I do, but to be honest Foxtrot started out as a form of catharsis from my assignments. It was a pretty full on year when I started out, but I feel like the project has been changing for me personally a lot - and the cool thing is that my lecturers have always been really supportive of the project too. I'm nearing the end of my undergrad. I'm joining the dots and figuring out how Foxtrot has been (intuitively) relating to my core interests in academia.

And if you had to name a few main influences, who would they be?

Well, Medulla has a lot to answer for as well as singing with choirs for years - but I started singing because of bands like Portishead and Massive Attack. Right now I've found artists like HTRK, Holly Herndon, Tanya Tagaq, Ben Frost and Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto to be huge inspirations. I try to keep my ears open where possible.

You've been playing a lot of live shows recently. Was there a particular show or venue that really stood out for you? 

Supporting Baths at Whammy Bar was like playing in my dreams! Couldn't believe it, I was so nervous when I met him, figured I'd fangirl out too much or something... I bought some chocolate with pop rocks in it along as an icebreaker and the whole night ruled. Dan Deacon last Summer and Chronophonium this year have been highlights too. Chrono was my second time playing outdoors and the wind kept doing that thing that propeller fans do for Beyonce when she plays. Pity I was wearing my hair up!

You also recorded a live EP. Is live performance important in your work, and in what ways?

Yeah definitely, it's super important. I think the first shows I ever did were about engaging with the audience on a fairly personal level - looking them in the eye while I played, etc. One of my big interests with live performance is how a group of people can become empathetically engaged and whether a condition is communicated or not.

I hope that people can feel/gain something positive from the performance. I mean,  if they don't that's okay too, 'cause it means I can try something different next time. I also really like meeting people and having shared musical experiences with a group - pretty idealistic when it all boils down really! Also there's a lot of excitement for me with live performance, it's pretty addictive.

Are you involved in any other projects at the moment?

There are two main projects kicking off this year at least, one with Jack Hooker from The Shocking and Stunning and the other is a collaboration with the New Zealand School of Dance for their choreographic season in April. The performance at Enjoy Gallery will be a response work to Rose James' sound installation.

Wellington is producing some great music, who are some of your favourite acts there at the moment?

Yikes, that's really tough 'cause once I start rattling off names I'm bound to forget someone I love! But I'm actually really interested in hearing more from up and coming artists Skymning and Athuzelea Brown - ones to watch I reckon. Orchestra of Spheres are probably still one of my favorite acts though.

What have you got coming up in terms of live shows?

Everything's cooling down now after a pretty hectic Summer, so I'm about to don my big socks for the winter buuuut I'm playing Lines of Flight Festival this weekend in Dunedin so that's gonna be heaps fun. I've never been to Dunedin before so hopefully I see all of the sights (which to my knowledge is a mixture of penguins, albatrosses and seals - someone please show me, I have a very limited knowledge of what to do!). I'm currently collaborating with the New Zealand School of Dance for their Choreographic season so keep your eyes peeled for that too!

And future plans more generally...

I'm really aiming for this to be a productive year for Foxtrot, aside from releasing new material - I'm hoping to be able to do a bunch of performances in unconventional spaces. The project's always been about experimenting to some extent so with that in mind I'll be trying to hone my programming skills and developing more material with a wider instrumental/found sound base, other than just using my voice.


If in Dunedin this weekend you can catch Foxtrot on Saturday night at Chicks Hotel.


Content copyright 2018 | some rights reserved | report any web problems to here