Flossing, the New York project of Heather Elle, has produced her second EP World of Mirth which is set for release on 26 August via Brace Yourself Records. Taking the opportunity to find out more, we began by discussing her creative output.
Welcome Heather! And congratulations on your second EP World of Mirth. You have been incredibly productive creatively since the release of your debut EP Queen of the Mall in September 2021, collaborating on a Ministry cover with blues punk icon Shilpa Ray; remixing tracks for Brighton’s feminist electro-punks CLT DRP; producing the revolutionary feminist podcast ‘Private Life’ alongside Bodega’s drummer, Tai Lee as well as producing your second EP.
Thanks so much. Yeah, I don’t know how I’ve managed all this, honestly. I believe in myself and this project more than I ever have before, I guess. Sometimes I surprise myself. I just lean into the chaos. In New York City it’s pretty normal to have at least three jobs and two bands, but in the pandemic era it’s been particularly visceral. And it’s been so much more joyous and healthy to collaborate more with women and the LGBTQ+ community, so I’m okay feeling tired all the time.
Having previously been in the bands Bodega and The Wants before leaving during the pandemic, can you expand on how it felt to create and release your debut EP Queen of the Mall as Flossing?
F*cking powerful. The pandemic lockdown gifted me the ability to experiment and find my voice again. I’ve been collaborating on songs since about 2009 but the debut EP was the first time I felt like I had final say in absolutely everything from start to finish. Everyone needs a project like that, especially marginalized people. It’s given me so much confidence and happiness.
How did the remix for CLT DRP come about?
Annie, the singer, made a Tik Tok of herself in the shower listening to the song with the caption “this song reminding me I’m Queer AF” which obviously caught my attention. It was the first time I’d seen my music on that platform, and then I heard CLT DRP’s music and loved what they were tapping into, so I asked if I could remix a track. It was my first remix so it’s very special to me.
Do you enjoy working on a number of different creative projects, and collaborating with others? Are you able to comfortably switch to one to another as and when required?
I grew up on improvisational comedy which taught me the “yes and” mentality. Once again, I always lean into the chaos — into opportunities — which is a very New Yorker mentality as well. We’re not afraid to push ourselves to our limits and get involved in projects that seem impossible or are just for the passion of it. There are so many interesting things always brewing in New York City, so much so that it’s hard to say no. I’m trying to prioritize a bit more and will soon need some downtime to write LP1 with Jamie, hopefully outside of the city.
You are honest and open in your own music, and in March released the single ‘Men on the Menu‘ and also came out as Queer. Do you find creativity a cathartic process? Has expressing yourself creatively, especially within your own space as Flossing, helped you discover more about yourself and perhaps helped you to be more comfortable in your own skin?
100%. Every artist is projecting. I’m the child of a social psychologist and occupational therapist so I’ve always been intrigued by the thoughts and behaviour of others, and of course my own. The world’s collective psyche is always in flux and it’s fascinating to figure out how I fit into it. Flossing is the first project where I’ve finally felt comfortable being both personal and political in the lyrics; and the revolutionary feminist group I’ve been a part of for almost a year with Tai from Bodega has definitely helped me realize the social constructs that have held me back from full self-realization. Fully embracing my gender and sexuality has only been an invigorating addition to my artistic process, and I’m excited to push myself even further.
What were the differences between creating the second EP World of Mirth, compared to the first EP?
I had been sitting on the first EP’s songs for 1-6 years while on tour in two bands; whereas I wrote all of World of Mirth in 2021, the second COVID pandemic year, where lockdown wasn’t as strict and nightlife was back in full force. I saw an insane amount of live performances that inspired me to get my own live show together; artists like Boy Harsher, Lydia Lunch, Hiro Kone, Front 242, Christeene, TR/ST, A Place To Bury Strangers. I was soaking it all up like a sponge. This time around I also co-wrote and co-produced with Elijah Sokolow to help me make the production more cohesive and higher quality. We had to rush to get the EP finished in a handful of months with a Halloween deadline because of the vinyl backup. It’s almost a year later that I’m writing this and my vinyl still hasn’t been pressed! Hey major labels and artists — why don’t you use your money for good and invest in some new vinyl pressing plants?!
Thrilled to learn that you have been working on the live sound in preparation for gigs, alongwith drummer James Maclay. Have you done any shows yet? And are their plans to come to the UK?
We just played our first two shows in one week which was super surreal and wonderful, and I’m so grateful our first show was on a Queer bill at The Sultan Room. We opened for Thus Love and Bat House and the feeling of love and community was nothing like I’d ever felt before. In the past, in more hetero guitar scenes, I’d feel more anxious about what maniacs and misogynists I’d run into, but there was none of that there. And I won’t shut up about escaping America and playing The UK and EU — it’s all I want to do! We’re hoping for a solid support slot this fall that can help us pay for the trip; otherwise we’re just being patient for spring. In the meantime, we’re just making the rounds in New York to become an incredibly well-oiled machine. The best compliment we got after our first show was that we sounded “tour tight“, so let’s f*ckin’ go, baby!
World of Mirth is set for release via Brace Yourself Records on 26 August.
For more information on Flossing, please check out their bandcamp.