Music / Features
They Made Me Do It -
Talking Influences with Floodlights
Words by Conor Lochrie
Friday 23rd July, 2021
Following the release of their new 7” double single, we got in touch with happening Aus-core fanatics Floodlights to dig into the influences behind ‘The More I Am’ and ‘Overflowing Cup’.
Melbourne indie-rock quartet Foodlights’s debut album From a View was one of 2020’s best Australian records. Just under a year later, they dropped a new 7” that might be small in number but sounds large in stature. Over two songs, they explore narratives of ingrained cultural views, personal doubt, and self reflection, strikingly similar themes to their previous full-length, although it’s filtered this time through a more general rather than personal landscape.

The foursome - Louis Parsons, Ashlee Kehoe, Joe Draffen, Archie Shannon - have always possessed strong interplay and it’s evident here again. ‘The More I Am’ is stirring and resounding, bursting with seriousness and sincerity; in its delicate combination of jangle and rockier terrain, it recalls the rousing momentum of RVG. The driving and cutting guitars are anthemic towards the end, the song never relenting. Parsons’s distinctive Aussie twang has always been one of the main draws to Floodlights and it’s as powerful as ever here; he never feels the need to hide behind affectations or crude tonal ticks.

The previously released ‘Overflowing Cup’ is then decidedly slower and more introspective. A solemn and plaintive harmonica solo plays us in, signalling the atmosphere that’s to come. This is something that Floodlights have always really done well: they nail the bittersweet mentality that made The Go-Betweens so beloved, a fine balancing act that relies on empathy and acuity. “I’ll seek out those / Who validate / What I think / And what I say / I disregard / All those who challenge me / And question you,” Parsons insists drolly, reflecting on a ‘head buried in the sand’ perspective.

Near the end, the gently sloping guitar line is interrupted by the returning harmonica, but this time it’s abrasive and domineering. "As I look through my window, I can only see half of what I used to”: Floodlights see the divisiveness of the world currently and are dismayed at the futility of it all (‘Overflowing Cup’ was also accompanied by an intriguing video by Dogmilk Films, in which the band and their house are threatened to be overcome by a strange oozing green goo).

After the 7”’s release via Tiny Town Records, we caught up with the members of Floodlights and they took us through their own personal influences which brought the new record to life.

Geraldine Hickey - Things Are Going Well
Louis (vocals, guitar): The lyrical concept behind ‘The More I Am’ was actually inspired by Geraldine Hickey’s comedy performance Things Are Going Well. Geraldine explores the idea of looking at a seemingly unfortunate series of events and then picking out the positives which is something everyone can relate to. So from that, we structured the two verses of the song from a negative perspective and a positive one.

Total Control
Archie (drums): In terms of drumming, it’s clear that ‘The More I Am’ is different to previous Floodlights tracks. I took a lot of inspiration from seeing Total Control at the Melbourne Town Hall in late 2019. The drummer James just goes wild and throws everything he has at the drum kit, fitting in discrete fills and waving slightly in and out of time. It made me feel more confident to try to go a bit harder and explore new territory on the track. On the B side ‘Overflowing Cup’ I then bring it back to my comfort zone, keeping it simple and letting the other instruments do the talking. I think it’s a nice juxtaposition.

Paul Kelly and The Messengers
Ash (guitar, harmonica): The guitar in ‘Overflowing Cup’ was influenced by Paul Kelly and The Messengers, using lower notes and a simple melody. The harmonica also took some inspiration from the way it’s used in their cover of ‘Reckless’. I’ve always listened to a lot of Paul Kelly so I think the influence comes in even when I’m not thinking about it.

Working with Dogmilk Films
Joe (bass): It was great to get our friends at Dogmilk Films to make the music video for ‘Overflowing Cup’. We initially sat down with them and discussed potential concepts and what they/we had in mind, which was quite a collaborative process and interesting to be a part of. We showed them a couple of music videos that we admired from other Melbourne artists, such as Jen Cloher’s ‘Regional Echoe’, and RVG’s ‘I Used To Love You’, and gave light on certain aspects from these videos which we appreciated and thought could provide some inspiration and influence for our own, such as the mood, structure and visuals in certain scenes.
The More I Am / Overflowing Cup is out now through Tiny Town Records - head to to grab the 7" record or a limited vinyl bundle including a freshly repressed copy of From a View.