After nearly a year in production, Billings-based indie rock band Flowers From Her is releasing its first full-length recording, titled “Catharsis,” on Saturday.
Striving to record an album that honestly represents the band live, Flowers From Her worked with local promoter and recording artist Sean Lynch. The band will self-release “Catharsis,” an album mastered by Doug Van Sloun of Focus Mastering, who’s worked with Saddle Creek artists such as Bright Eyes and Cursive.
The album’s title was selected because of the literal meaning of “catharsis,” the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.
“It’s how we feel about playing music,” said guitarist Daniel Gillispie said in a recent interview. Drummer Shan Denning added that Flowers’ music is “an emotional release or an outpouring through art or music—a necessary thing more than a hobby” for the group.
“We tried to make the album best represent how we sound live,” said group founder and frontman Addam John Ostlund. “We didn’t want to overproduce.”
Strikingly friendly and familiar, the group’s harmonies bloom throughout “Cartharis,” entwined with Ostlund’s sincere voice and professing lyrics.
The album features a couple new tracks, though it’s majorly composed of songs Flowers From Here has been performing for the better part of last year. The length of time the group took to release the album was caused by a variety of issues, including natural, financial, and circumstantial.
“We’re happy it’s done,” Gillispie said, who during the past year branched out and began a business working as a solo practitioner lawyer. Both Ostlund and bassist Graham Wolfe, who work for the Billings-based t-shirt manufacturing company Future Shirts, are also working on career moves. Both have the opportunity to relocate to Nashville as the company expands.
“Basically we plan to support the shit out of the album and all make it down (to Nashville),” Ostlund said. Though there is no timeline for the move, Ostlund hopes to relocate this summer, and the rest of the band plans to follow.
“For me, it is something I had to think about for a long time, before I could commit,” Gillispie said. “It is a lot to leave behind a life that you built for yourself in one city and pick it up in the next.”
Just as the album slowly unfolded, Flowers From Her has taken its time evolving on the Billings scene. Ostlund began the group as a solo music project at age 14. Ten years vested, he brought together the current lineup of Denning on drums and Gillispie on guitar together three years ago, and added bassist Wolfe, bassist, in April 2010.
By the time Wolfe joined, the band was already in full swing of reinventing its sound, moving from a rollicking folk-country to more substantial indie rock.
“We wanted to jump out and do something different. I just wanted to rock again,” Ostlund said.
“I think that is how everyone felt,” Denning added. “We just picked it up a notch or two.”
“We plugged back in,” Ostlund continued.
In a constant state of invention, Ostlund and crew are already working on their next release. “I’m more excited to start the next one in a weird way than I am to release this one,” Ostlund said. He expressed excitement for “a newer version” of Flowers. “We’ve grown so much since we recorded those songs,” he said of “Catharsis.”
With lines such as “I can’t breathe with these words in my mouth,” “I’ve run out of things to believe in,” and “If life’s just a series of mistakes, how many will I make before I learn how to breathe?” Ostlund’s themes center on his questions and personal struggles with conformity. Never afraid of heart-on-sleeve songwriting, he’s has planted himself as a substantial and genuine songwriter in the Billings scene.
Yet, Ostlund says he’s ready to move on. Though he’s never been to Nashville, “it’s got to be better than here,” he said, adding the genre of music Flowers performs under isn’t very approachable to the Billings audience.
“We can’t stay here and continue to grow,” Ostlund said.
“We snatched up every bit of that demographic, and there’s not going to be room for us to expand for us here,” Denning said.
“We’re not the biggest or best band in Billings, but Nashville is somewhat of a challenge,” Gillispie added. “To have any chance of doing music for a living and sustaining, you have to challenge yourself a bit.”
With a potential new audience and a backyard that includes the Caroline coast, Atlanta, as well as New York City, Flowers is setting its sights on a bigger city and a larger demographic of people who could invest themselves in the band.
“You never know until you try it,” Denning said.
The group plans to tour in the spring and see what summer brings. “We don’t really have expectations,” Denning said. “We’ll keep playing and enjoying what we are doing, and hope that people like it.”
When asked what it feels like to watch this band evolve, Ostlund responded, “It sucks. It’s like watching this kid grow up and you have to send it to college. I hope you come back good.”
“We will beat this child mercilessly until it eats its peas,” Denning added.
“I don’t worry about the songs and the direction of the band,” Ostlund said. “I play music because I want to.”
Flowers From Her headlines a CD release show at the Railyard on Saturday, March 5, with opening acts starting at 9 p.m. Hardin solo artist Reid Perry and Billings-based rock band The Parques will provide opening support. The 21+ show costs $5 at the door and the band will be have copies of “Catharsis” available for $10.