Floor Talk Their Return to the Fray with 'Oblation'
Published Apr 21, 2014Sometimes all it takes is, well, the release of an extensive, career-spanning box set to reignite a band. Miami emo-doomsters Floor — featuring Torche's Steve Brooks on guitar/vocals, guitarist Anthony Vialon and drummer Henry Wilson — are readying the release of Oblation, their first full-length since 2002's self-titled opus. But it was the band's 2010 box set release that got the wheels in motion for a reformation, Vialon tells Exclaim!
"A few years ago Andy Low from Robotic Empire put out a box set of ours, and we were supposed to do a few shows to coincide with the release, but what happened was that the shows were huge," says Vialon. "We were playing in front of audiences that were a lot bigger than when we used to play and so many more people had heard of us because of the success of Torche, and the internet. With all of these people coming out we decided to do some more shows.
"After a couple more tours and the crowds still being bigger, it just got to a point where we couldn't keep going out and touring on the strength of one record, because it was really the self-titled record that people were singing all of the words to; we couldn't keep going out and doing the same set. We just couldn't. Henry was really vocal about saying if we were going to keep playing live, we really needed to do a new record and we couldn't keep playing these same songs. And Steve and I agreed."
Enter Oblation, a 14-song opus due April 29 on Season of Mist. The album picks up right where 2002's self-titled album left off, with the same equipment setup and weirdo string tunings the band became known for. And, yes, that includes the legendary "bomb string."
"It's the same tunings that we used on the self-titled record," confirms Vialon. "There's the bomb string, the one E string that's not really tuned, it just kind of hangs there. And then there are two more E strings, which are both tuned to a low A, and then the high strings, which we really don't use that often, but they're E, B, E. It's really just the three E strings though, one bomb and two A's.
"Live, it's always been two guitars. We've tried using a bass player, but it just doesn't work. When we play live we find that it's not really necessary and it gives us a unique sound. But in the studio Henry plays drums and bass. So it's the same setup as the self-titled record."
A few of the songs on the new album were started before the band broke up in 2003. One track, "Homegoings and Transitions," is a departure for the band, featuring softer female vocals and an atmospheric guitar line, but Vialon says the tune still fits into the Floor model.
"On 'Homegoings,' the opening riff with the guitar effect, that was something Steve was working on back then, but the rest of the song is new," he says. "When we were working on the vocals for it, we were really stuck. We went to Henry's girlfriend, Melissa Friedman, because she's been in bands and she's a real singer, so we asked her for some help coming up with something, and she did. She came to me about the lyrics and asked about the vibe of the song, and they were perfect. So she sings with Steve on the song. It's a different song for us, but we look at it as still being part of our sound. We can kind of do whatever we want and it will still sound like and be us."
Recording with the same person as they did for their self-titled album was key, according to Vialon. The band again tapped Mark Nikolich in Tampa, then they sent the recordings to be mixed by Kurt Ballou (GodCity Studios) and mastered by Alan Douches (Baroness, Black Tusk).
"Mark is the reason why the self-titled record sounded so great, so that's why we went with him again," says Vialon. "So yeah, we're real happy with it. We were really happy with the self-titled record, it was what we wanted to sound like, and Mark was really able to help us get there. So when we did the new record, we wanted to go with Mark again."
Vialon originally left the band right before they broke up in 2003 and says it's a great feeling to be making new music with Floor again. Despite it being over a decade since they dissolved, he feels the band has picked right back up where they left off.
"Where we're at now is where we should have been 12 years ago," he says. "This opportunity to get out there and continue on from that self-titled record, I'm very, very happy about it, and just so stoked that more people know who we are and have a great time at the shows. The affect that we've had on people since getting back together, it's all been so very positive. When we get together and play, it's magical for us. There's a bond and vibe there that's very sincere and positive, so I'm real excited. We all are."
Read our full interview with Vialon here.