Florence + The Machine Talks British Summer Time, Kendrick Lamar And Writing Her Next Album

Florence + The Machine have just been announced as headliners at British Summer Time in Hyde Park next year, following their surprise headline slot at Glastonbury 2015. We caught up with Florence Welch to discuss the gig and her other plans for 2016.

You’ve just been announced to headline BST in Hyde Park next summer – has this gig been an ambition of yours for a while?

“It’s a really amazing thing to be doing, especially in London. I’m from London, and my first gig was at a club night in Soho, performing to four people. That’s how I cut my teeth, at open mic nights, singing weird improvisational songs after Jamie T gigs… there was always something going on, so you could do a gig every night if you wanted to. London made me the artist that I am, so to be doing this gig is amazing.”

And you’ve got Kendrick Lamar supporting, too…

“I’m a huge fan of Kendrick’s and I really, really wanted him to do it because he’s such an amazing live performer. I saw him play recently, at a small show in New Orleans, and the energy he brought to the room and the crowd was incredible. I met him afterwards and I didn’t ask him then, but I was really hoping he’d say yes to being part of this show.”

Did Glastonbury teach you anything about how to succeed at these sorts of massive outdoor shows?

“Well, we didn’t have much time to worry about Glastonbury, quite luckily. We only had two weeks to really worry, as opposed to six months of getting more and more anxious, but what it taught me was that those kind of gigs are about something way bigger than you – it’s not about you, it’s about taking everyone else along on a collective experience.”

Will this be your only UK gig in 2016?

“I think it is, yeah. I know we’ve also got another American tour coming up, but this gig will be the big send-off for ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’. After that I’ve got to go and figure out what I’m going to write about on the next album…”

Didn’t you recently say that you were “too happy” to write new music?

“That’s always the writer’s problem, isn’t it? “I’m too happy!” No, I’m sure there’ll be something I can find to write about. I’m definitely in a calmer place these days, but that doesn’t affect how much I write – I’m doing it all the time, whether it’s writing down stuff that I overhear or conversations that I have, so it’s kind of a constant thing. But I think it’s good to have a little bit of time between records, because it lets you fill up your life tank with experiences.”