Declan Florez is a Perth born singer-songwriter with a silky smooth voice on the cusp of the Melbourne music scene. We sat down with him in none other than Brunswick’s Acustico cafe to talk music, his brand spanking new EP, and his early memories driving around Australia’s coast.
Q. So you’re hot off the heels of your eclectic EP Trips and Visitations, and knocking down the door all over the place. For those who haven’t heard you, what can they expect?
Declan: “Overall I’d say my vibe very chill.
“In this project I wanted to paint the whole EP as a trips and visitations; where if you took me as a whole country, every song is different like how Western Australia is very different to Adelaide; to Melbourne city, every song has its own life.
Q. There’s definitely a mix of sounds but, to my ears at least, one central theme throughout. Is that fair? And how would describe it?
Declan: “My message is how to be OK with yourself…
“When I recorded Ingenious, that was the last song that I recorded, I think it was very telling because I feel like it was only then that I’d finally gotten my sonic vibe.
“It’s coming from some place of pain. 100%. That song is about when you’re in something, and it ticks every box, but you’re like it’s not really working.
Breaking the mould
Q. What was it like growing up as a musical guy in Perth? Not quite the same as Brisbane or Sydney. Can you tell me how you got started?
“I actually hated school. I wasn’t too interested in sports and the whole surf culture that is the Perth bubble.
“My family is very musical though. Both of my siblings play, or were very into music at one point or another. But I would say my Mum like influenced me the most to have that initial interest I guess…”
At age 6, “my mum was just like it’s important for you to learn an instrument growing up. You can choose.
“I wanted to do the drums but mum was like, no, you’re not going to play the drums; we have a piano you may as well do piano”.
Lights, camera, dance
Q. That’s hilarious. I can imagine this little kid watching Madonna & Metallica tearing it up on the screen & being like, what the hell?! Is that what got your attention?
“Totally. One of my first memories was watching Ja Rule, and J-Lo dancing, and I remember thinking this is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
“I would say my home was quite conservative. Dad, but probably Mum more so… it was actually amazing they let me watch it at all.
“For some reason Mum was cool with it. The only thing Mum said was, if an artist called Marilyn Manson ever comes on you have to turn it off”, he laughs.
Even with some ‘outside’ exposure, Florez had to play catch up later on in life. And university came as a huge learning curve.
“I remember the lecturer asking ‘who’s read this play’ or ‘read this book’ and seeing everyone’s hands fly up and I was like, no, I don’t know what you’re talking about.
But as hard it was, “Uni was the days I look back on and love. Usually people say high school was the best days of their lives, but for me it was Uni.
“I met my best friend there. We loved the same things. And I felt I could be myself away from all the ‘clicks’ that tend to form at school. I could express myself with other like minded people.
Q. If you could dream big and ask for anything, what are your hopes for this EP?
“I want to make an impact with whatever I’m doing. I want it to reach a lot of people and for people to feel and connect. What I’m about as an artist is I kinda shed light on not exactly fitting in or fitting the mould of what people think you should be.
Our quick fire question round, Fast Five is also a tip of the hat to the movie of the same name which pulled out the big gun himself Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. So get your guns out, time for the short stories you won’t find anywhere else…
Q1. What’s the best bit of car gear you’ve ever owned?
Easily my Tupac cutout air-freshener
Q2. The weirdest thing I’ve ever put in my car is…
Not my car, but we did squeeze a mate into the boot on the way to an R’N’B festival called Superfest. From memory it was a Honda C-RV with sand everywhere inside and could have done with air-out.
Q3. If we hit go on your car’s playlist, what would we hear?
Probably, Kehlani and another artist called 6lack (pronounced black)
Q4. The earliest memory I have in the car is…
Dad took me to see Kelly Clarkson concert. It was her “Breakaway”album and I thought it was the best thing. We had the music playing on the way to the venue and I was singing. Dad wasn’t though.
Q5. If you had to take one mate on a road trip, who would you take & why?
I’d pick one of my best friends Mikayla. When we both lived in Sydney we would go on long road trips to places like Palm Beach and we’d just be blasting music like Kanye West, Drake, and Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’.