A five-piece group of friends out of Long Beach, Nothing But Flowers has been bringing funky, synth pop sounds to local spots since last year, and is playing a Star Wars-themed funk party in downtown Long Beach on Thursday. They want you to come and dance.
Originally a three-piece made up of Heather Sommerhauser on vocals and keys, Brian Newhard on drums, and Roland Cruces on bass, Nothing But Flowers headed to the studio in June 2016 to record their first EP It was there they brought in Freddie Dilsdale on guitar and Michael Malinowski on drums (with Newhard now on percussion).
Like any good down-to-earth So-Cal band, the group practices in a garage. As they run through songs for Thursday’s set, Malinowski closes the garage door shut (so polite to the neighbors) and Cruces flips on the string-lights for maximum funky effect. They situate and start to play, and right off the bat – their ’80s pop influence is sonically present.
Sommerhauser’s vocal depth and melodic variety pair well with the band’s overall tight driving groove and percussive fills. It wasn’t surprising to hear the group’s influences included Tears for Fears and Prince, along with Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Hiatus Kaiyote.
Last month the group released the No Hard Feelings EP with a group of songs that has grown even since then.
“The process of recording to getting the actual CD together, with artwork and concept and everything took a lot longer than we thought,” said Dilsdale. “But it was cool because we’ve been getting to grow a lot as a band and personally – and we’ve been able to get these songs way, way tighter.”
When they play, there’s a sense that these guys really like each other. But the group assured me that they have had their fair share of family feuds. Guitarist Dilsdale says that the confrontational situations bring dirt to the surface – and in the end, filtering out their conflict makes the band dynamic healthier.
“We fight, but we love each other,” said Cruces. “And we love playing together as a band.”
“It’s about the creative space. You have to keep it real when you’re in a creative space,” Sommerhauser added. “If you’re not able to feel free there then you’re not going to be able to come up with cool ideas and to work together with others.”
The band’s eclectic mix of pop and funk draw a variety of fans to their original and cover sets in the Long Beach area.
“We have that ’70s/’80s R&B/Soul thing going. And older people are like, ‘Man, they remind me of this or that.’ said Sommerhauser. “But then I think even people our age want to hear some of the older stuff too.”
“We had one guy come up to us and say, ‘You guys make me wanna have sex!” said Dilsdale.
“Yeah, like ‘You guys are just sexy,’ which hearing that is a good thing. People like that,” said Sommerhauser.
“Our friends in other bands have been so supportive and have come out,” said Newhard. “It’s such a supportive scene of artists who like seeing their friends play.”
As they continue to develop their current repertoire, Nothing But Flowers wants to push themselves toward new goals as a group including recording another album and possibly touring later this year. The group has gigs lined up in the Long Beach area and if they could say anything to Weekly readers, their request is simple:
“Check us out and dance more at shows.”
If you’re interested in using a live show to do that, Nothing But Flowers will be performing this Thursday, May 4th at At the Top on Pine Ave. in Long Beach. The event, called May The Funk Be With You, is hosted by Orange County Music League and will also feature performances by Zach Alwin + Dunk Funk, Cameo Adele, Paisley Shades, and Derek Day. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.