We first met the singer-songwriter Nick Flora last September with his cover of the Faces’ “Ooh La La” and his own song “Edward Appleby.” We were and remain impressed by his carefully crafted — and catchy — tunes. He has a new album Great Escape, now available on Amazon.com and iTunes. We caught up with Nick to ask some questions about his new album. You can follow him on MySpace.
Q. We first encountered you a few months ago. You are officially a friend of the site. How does that feel?
A. It feels great. I’ve actually been a frequent visitor to RA.com for awhile now, so it feels like home.
Q. One of the songs on your new album Great Escape (now available on Amazon and iTunes) is called “Summersong.” It is not a cover of the Chad and Jeremy song from the Rushmore soundtrack, but is there an intentional allusion there?
A. No, not intentional but possibly subconscious. It was originally called “Untitled Summer Song” while I searched for a title, but I made the mistake of calling it that onstage a few times while performing it and people started asking for it by that name. So I just shortened it to “Summersong”. That Chad & Jeremy song is great though. One of my favorites from the Rushmore OST.
Q. Several of your song titles are inspired by the films of Wes Anderson. “I’ll Take Punctuality” and “Edward Appleby” for instance. How is your work informed or inspired by Wes’ oeuvre?
A. One of the things that inspires me as a songwriter/artist are great stories or sentiments that come from an honest and sentimental place. More often than not I’ve sat down with my guitar after watching “Rushmore” or “Royal Tenenbaums” over again and been captured by the subtleties of these characters and the quirky and the honest portrayal of their lives. That’s exactly how I want to write songs; with honest, sentimental wit.
Q. Some of your music reminds me of Noah and the While, a band similarly inspired by Wes. What do you think of them? Who are your musical inspirations?
A. Over the past year, I keep being told that I remind people of Noah and the Whale. So I got their record “Peaceful, The World…” and it blew me away. I don’t think it’s left my listening rotation since.
My immediate influences include Ben Folds, David Bazan, Jon Foreman, Aaron Robinson, Randy Newman, and Mr. Mark Mothersbaugh. I’ve been watching “Big Love” recently and his score underneath is so brilliant. Like him and Jon Brion (another musical hero of mine), I hope to score films someday. It sounds fun.
Q. What inspired the album cover? I really like it.
A. It was kind of an accident really. I had the “little kid superhero” idea for a promo poster and another idea for the cover but as soon as we shot the “superhero” pics, I knew that was it. More of less, the idea behind the cover stems from the human knee-jerk response to escape from true realities into whatever brings us comfort. Personally, I’m a nostalgic so if I’m not careful I’ll find myself longing for and romanticizing the past so often that I miss things that are happening right now. I’m much like the Tenenbaums in that way. So on the album cover, I’m literally being captured by childhood, and that was an image that fit the concept of the record so well.
Q. Who are these Film at Eleven kids? And, why have you decided to go with your own name on this album?
A. Ah, yes. “Film at Eleven” is my band. They aren’t the little kids on the cover, although it’d be awesome if they were. (Those are my nephews, by the way.) I decided it was time for a change, and since my music has shifted slowly over the years to a more mature sound, I decided to own up, take my own advice and “call it what it is”. It’s kind of always been “Nick Flora” but since this new record has a lot more instrumentation than previous recordings, I thought adding the “Film at Eleven” would help it feel more like a full band effort instead of a singer/songwriter’s record.
Q. Sic transit gloria.
A. Is that latin?