Have you ever experienced feeling the biggest fan of someone or something? Or to make ourselves clearer have you ever really interacted with a band that you love the most and you watched most of their shows when they toured to your place? Well in this month’s A Convo with You, we will take you to a place on where we can say that you are not alone in being a fan. But in this case, they are not just regular fans of Eena’s favourite band, because now they are also the friends of the band, Florence + the Machine.
Seat back, relax, relate, and feel this great ride and witness the success of one of the biggest fan clubs nowadays, the Florence and the Machine Fan Club.
Conversations of Us: It is never really hard to love Florence + the Machine, but how did it all start and what is about the band that truly captured you all to support them all the way?
Antony of the FATM Fan Club: Hello! Our fan club started when our founder, Antony (me), heard “Dog Days Are Over” for the first time back in 2008 (8 years ago now! Time’s gone by so fast…). I set up a Myspace page, back when that site was popular, and then in 2009, after the success of “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” here in the United Kingdom, we migrated to Facebook, and then to Twitter, and then to every other social platform under the sun!
I guess the initial inspiration was Florence + the Machine’s otherworldly vocals, lyrics and melodies. It was unlike anything we’d ever heard before, and back then Florence was still relatively overlooked. There were some other fan groups kicking about, but they were all missing that certain connection that we wanted to start. Florence’s songs inspire something completely different to other artists of the moment: they make you think; they require an imagination to paint a picture in the listener’s mind. That analytical and spiritual dimension to her music sets it apart from anything else, and that’s why we thought it deserved even more recognition.
CoU: Have you all met the band already? If so, describe to us that wonderful experience of yours.
Antony: We’ve been lucky enough to meet the band, yes. Our first face-to-face meeting was in 2014, so it was years until we actually managed to get into a room with Florence and some of the other band members. It was completely magical; strangely, after all the devotion we put into the fan club for her, we were relatively calm! She was so lovely and warm; people always say never to meet your idols, but Florence is an exception. It was a whirlwind and I can barely remember anything, but I have actually written the full account of it in our magazine (that we’re currently on a break from publishing) if anyone is interested to read it. https://www.joomag.com/magazine/theflow-summer-2014/0310693001409350841
Aside from face-to-face meetings, we have kept in contact with Florence and the band online too: we’ve conducted interviews with Florence and Tom the harpist, and are actually in the process of putting a book together for Florence’s 30th birthday which we will hand-deliver! One thing I’ll say to other fan club managers reading this: connecting with the band takes a lot of hard work and patience; it certainly didn’t happen overnight. The band and their management need to completely trust you, and trust takes time! We’re all extremely grateful to have at least gained a small amount of that.
CoU: Knowing that all of you are from different countries with different lives apart, how do you manage to work for the fan club? Also, did all of you meet already?
Antony: Most of the front-line communications and updating is done by me in London, but other admins who help out include Glen (Preston, UK), Celeste (Los Angeles, USA), and Hannah (San Diego, USA). As you can see, we’re based over wide geographical areas, which does make coordinating things difficult, especially with the time-zones, but social media is a life-saver and we all easily keep in touch thanks to that. Similarly, being based in London and the USA, we have eyes in the places that Florence visits most often, which means we have provided first-hand accounts and news because of our prime locations. Most recently, I was able to attend the exclusive Facebook Q&A Florence did with director Vincent Haycock about Florence’s “The Odyssey” (a short film about her life during her hiatus in 2013/14, which you may watch here: https://vimeo.com/ 164437997). There were only around 4 fans there that day, and I felt incredible lucky to be able to go to it and post updates to the fan club from the front-row
Left: Glen; Right: Antony
I’ve met one of the admins in person, and keep in very close contact with the other two – we’re all really close friends more than anything, and I guess that’s the beauty of things. Florence has brought us together and I’m very thankful for that!
CoU: What’s your biggest goal or desire for the fan club?
Antony: It’s a fairly ambiguous goal, but it’s to keep the fans as closely connected to the band as possible. It’s extremely difficult to do when the band effectively live in their tour bus for most of their musical career, and therefore are in a sort of bubble, visiting city after city. Fans crave recognition from the band, and it’s so frustrating to not be able to give them that all the time. A lot of it comes down to liaising with the band’s management, but they are very busy and it makes organising events quite difficult
The ultimate tangible goal is to get some sort of official “seal of approval.” At the moment, we are the largest fan club providing updates about the Florence + the Machine, and although we are pretty much regarded as official, there are some perks that would come with validation (such as reliable interaction with the band members, easier organisation of competitions and giveaways etc.) that we currently don’t enjoy. That said, we have grown immensely since our conception, and I take none of that for granted.
CoU:We believe that all of you have seen Florence + the Machine perform live already, can you tell us your most memorable experience that struck you while watching them live?
Antony: It’s really hard to pinpoint one things. I think the most memorable thing is her voice. Often, hearing it through computer speakers really doesn’t do it justice. When you’re there on the front row, with Florence standing 5 meters away from you, it just sounds angelic. That’s exactly why I urge everyone, whether they like Florence or not, to at least see the band live once. I know many people that have been “converted” after doing just that!
One of our admins, Glen, was also used as the “What Kind of Man, Man” (Florence runs into the crowd during that song, and selects a man to sing in their face). That was definitely a memorable experience for him.
CoU: Describe your love for the band with a title of a Florence and the Machine song.
Antony: All this and heaven too.
It’s everything in the world, plus more! If you listen to the lyrics of that song, it’s about Florence not being able to put her love into words, and that’s exactly what it feels like with Florence + the Machine!
CoU: Give us a song that truly is special to the fan club.
Antony:That’s a tough one… Probably “Dog Days Are Over” because that’s what inspired us to set up the fan club. However, “Spectrum” is also a special one because the release of that single was when Florence messaged us for the first time, and that was the platform that allowed us to communicate with the band and their team.
CoU: Give us a facial expression of Florence that describes you while watching the band live.
Antony: Anything in awe! Particularly this:
CoU: What does Florence and the Machine mean to your life and your friendship?
Antony: On a personal level, it’s helped us all through a lot of tough times, and that’s thanks to the deepness of the lyrics and the way the songs talk to us on so many different levels.
On a more professional level, keeping up with all of the news related to the band is very time consuming, and basically takes up most of our free time! In that respect, our lives would be totally different if we weren’t running the fan club. It’s also taught us so much about online communication, design, patience, organisation… much more than what you’d expect by just looking at the surface.
Friendship-wise, we’ve all made so many close friends through Florence + the Machine. I don’t think the band actually realizes how important that aspect has been to so many fans across the world. Without them, I wouldn’t have met my soul-mate who lives in Poland, and I’ve read countless stories from people who say they were alone until they discovered other fans on the other side of the globe. It’s a beautiful thing.
CoU: Tell us a quote or lines of a song that you live by and that inspires all of you to achieve your goals for yourself and for the whole fan club.
The Florence Welch book for her 30th birthday
Antony: Another tough question… for us all personally, it changes over time. Our lives are in such a transition at the moment, and every Florence + the Machine song speaks differently in all these different situations.
For the fan club, running it is quite difficult a lot of the time, and motivation levels can run quite low to keep it going. Sometimes I’ve just wanted to give up on it when it seems like it’s going nowhere. In those cases, a lyric from “Heartlines” stand out:
“Just keep following the heartlines on your hand. Keep it up, I know you can; just keep following the heartlines on your hand”.
Personally, although not a song, at the start of the music video for “Delilah”, there’s a speech that’s read to Florence saying “love yourself, forgive yourself. You cannot love and forgive others, if you do not first love and forgive yourself”. It’s a beautiful line and on a personal level, it rings true in so many aspects of all of our lives.
This feature is also a prelude for this month’s blog entries! It will be Conversations of Us’ music month and we will be featuring our very first music festival together, Rock Werchter 2016. *One more thing, all photos were from the Florence and the Machine Fan Club and some were from the internet.
Are you a fan of Florence + the Machine and want to meet people from around the world who share the same feelings as you? Connect with them here: