Dial back to the summer of 2010 having spent the afternoon hanging out with electro-be-spectacle Amanda Warner aka MNDR, we get a tweet from her inviting us to come down to Camp Basement in Old Street to watch synth-experimentalists Silk Flowers, a Brooklyn three-piece that she’d recently produced an album for. Facing each other in a semi-circle surrounded by a bank of synths, the band were undoubtedly not of this planet, but one Krautrock-based in nature, appearing wholly entranced in their own music which veered from instrumental collages to deadpan delivered pop.
Only once or twice did they break their bubble, when vocalist Aviram Cohen grabbed the microphone, moving to the front of the stage to sing, at which point things turned very unexpected, very dark, very Lynch-ian. Enjoyable, perverse, and with an element of indescribable weirdness, Silk Flowers made a distinct impression. With Ltd. Form, the recently released follow-up to their self-titled debut of 2009, the chosen form is 80’s influenced, with transitional visions of The Human League on “Small Fortune” and “Thin Air” sounding like New Order circa Low-Life.
About to head out on tour to spread Ltd. Form to the masses, we felt it was time to get inside the head of Silk Flowers and find out more. Aviram Cohen responded to the call and provides the answers.
01. Who are you?
The name of our band is Silk Flowers. We all live in New York City and have been playing in this configuration for two and a half years.
02. What do you sound like?
Ltd. Form was an attempt to write songs and instrumentals that are clear and succinct, progressing through some formal arc that conveys an idea. It’s easy to get lost in the world of genre nonspecific instrumental music, so we try to avoid meaningless and excessive moves. The production helped a lot too. Amanda Warner preserved the clarity of our sound.
03. What do friends say you sound like?
Cluster meets Jan Hammer.
04. Full-time musicians or wage slaves?
Both … I mean, there’s a lot of time to be a slave and play music. You don’t really have to choose one or the other. Slave to the rhythm? Let’s hope not.
05. Current career highlight?
Sorry for the vague answer, but I’d have to say whatever we’re doing currently. Life does not always progress in a climactic fashion, and the tides ebb and flow, but this band has stood apart from the natural cycles of the universe and always felt progressively newer and more exciting to us.
06. Favourite decade for music?
If it weren’t for the immense disapproval of the 1990s, I’d have to say then. But major label affiliation and questionable politics made half the great records of the decade indefensible. So the answer is whatever decade we’re in now, since the music is as desperate, innovative, and thrilling as then, but without all the guilt.
07. Best mood for songwriting?
Camaraderie. We practice a couple of times a week, but Sundays are usually the best because we meet up for bagels in the morning and have that quiet time to unpack the week and things we’ve been thinking about. Taking a moment to get aligned like that really gets us to a creative unity the quickest.
08. The last song you/the band wrote?
“Columns at Rest” is the most recent song. I think it’s also our most visual song, and a nice break from the dirty-ice wasteland outside here in New York.
09. Which 3 musicians would you invite round for dinner?
Are we all eating together? One at a time I’d choose Anne Briggs, Kendrick Lamar, and Chris Clark. But if it’s a party I’d go with Morrissey, Glenn Danzig and Dr. Dre and I wouldn’t blink the whole night.
[Questions 10 & 11 must’ve sucked, ‘cos they didn’t answer them…]
12. Five favourite albums?
Cluster – Zuckerzeit
Germs – (MIA)
Siouxsie and The Banshees – The Scream
Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame
The Congos – Heart of the Congos
13. Your biggest rock and roll fantasy?
To ride the roller coaster featured in “Kiss Meets The Phantom of the Park”.
14. Goals for the next 12 months?
Equal rights for the gay community.
15. First time listeners, where should they start?
Probably the newest record, Ltd. Form. I think we managed convey our ideas more clearly there.