Flora Cash is a Swedish/American couple who formed a collaboration on Soundcloud. Shpresa Lleshaj and Cole Randall’s shared passion for music fosters their creativity, inspiring them to musically explore the complexity of relationships in their album. We discuss how they met, an incredible Movistar campaign that has spread like wildfire and the power of music videos.
Kyle Warner: A Swede and an American coming together to make some of the most powerful, enchanting music I’ve heard. How’d you two meet?
Flora Cash: Thanks so much. We were both posting music on Soundcloud – Shpresa found my work, loved it and started commenting. Once I saw her positive feedback, I checked out what she was working on and loved that as well. After that, we talked about collaborating on music via the Internet. This started a conversation between us that eventually lead to video chats and ultimately meeting in person. We haven’t been apart since then.
KW: Your song ‘You’re Somebody Else’ gives me goosebumps every time I hear it, what’s the story behind the creation of that track?
Flora Cash: That’s great to hear! We wrote that while I was going through a particularly difficult time. For me, it’s actually a song about not recognizing who I was becoming at that time. The song has kind of taken on a life of its own with fans though – and I think a lot of people see it as a commentary on how people that we love can (and often do) change and how difficult it can be for us to deal with that. That’s an equally valid interpretation which I’m sure informed our writing in some way (even if subconsciously.)
KW: Your Movistar Mexico video was incredibly powerful and carried a strong message. Was that partnership something that came out of the blue or do you actively seek out opportunities to be a part of PSA’s like that?
Flora Cash: Yes, it has been amazing to be a part of this. In truth, it both came out of the blue and is the kind of thing we actively seek out. This project, in particular, was originally supposed to be a partnership with Save The Children Mexico (eventually Movistar took over the project as their reach and access to useful resources was greater) and it was something that everyone involved initially did pro bono – out of recognition of the importance of the message. It seems to have reached far more eyes and ears than originally expected and we can safely assume that this has raised awareness in such a way as to have hopefully helped to prevent something terrible somewhere.
KW: Have you seen a big uptick in your Latino fan base after that campaign?
Flora Cash: “Big” is an understatement! The influx of South and Central American fans/listeners since the ‘Love Story’ campaign launched has been, for us, astronomical. We really appreciate these new fans and they’ve been very active and enthusiastic of their support not just for ‘You’re Somebody Else’ but the entire Flora Cash catalog.
KW: From watching some of your music videos, notably ‘Roses On Your Dress’, it’s clear cinematography is something you two feel strongly about. Could you talk a little bit about how you produce your videos and where you get the storylines from?
Flora Cash: We think a visual element to music is really important and powerful. We love making high quality, visually and emotionally striking pieces to accompany the music; it’s a priority for us. In terms of stories, we work closely with the director and others to develop a concept that meaningfully expresses some aspect of the song that isn’t necessarily obvious when listening just to the audio. We like elements of mystery, ambiguity, and symbolism.
KW: It’s insane to me how much a great video can benefit a song and I think it’s a bit underrated. I think the ‘music video’ has almost become a lost art, do you two write songs with a potential music video in mind?
Flora Cash: It’s really crazy how much a video can do for a track! (Although the flip side is also true in that a terrible video can make a good track less appealing.) It’s true though that music videos have lost some of their importance recently. We think that trend will reverse though and of course, there are and will always be exceptions to these trends. We generally don’t write songs with potential videos in mind, but it does happen. Usually, though, we like to be as surprised by the visual interpretation of our songs as anyone else so it’s better to just try and write the best piece of music we can and let the video be its own unique augmentation to the piece later.
KW: You released ‘Nothing Lasts Forever (And It’s Fine)’ earlier this summer to rave reviews, what was the process like creating that album?
Flora Cash: It was long, frustrating, fulfilling, exciting, depressing and beautiful. Lots of delusions of grandeur combined with crippling self-doubt. Lots of cynicism combined with a genuinely innocent idealism. Making “an album” is a wonderful/terrible thing to be able to share with someone you love.
KW: You two are flying high right now, what’s up next for Flora Cash?
Flora Cash: We’re working on a new album already, hopefully, to be released in the early autumn of 2018 and we’re planning the next string of live shows (spring/summer 2018.) Basically, we’re just gonna keep chasing the version of ourselves we really want to be.