Flowers of Hell + SquareWaves
Flowers of Hell
“So beautiful and great. Amazing.” Lou Reed
Based in Toronto and London – and perhaps one of Canada’s best kept musical secrets – the Flowers Of Hell are a trans-Atlantic indie orchestral group who’ve established themselves as an ‘artist’s artist’, with praise having come from members of The Velvet Underground (Lou Reed), My Bloody Valentine (Kevin Sheilds), Spiritualized, Spacemen 3, and The Patti Smith Group, amongst others – including fans on NASA’s mission control team who’ve synched the Flower’s spaciest music with shuttle footage.
Their founder and leader Greg Jarvis has a rare neurological condition called synesthesia (a fusing of senses) which in his case causes him to see all sounds as abstract shapes surrounding him. In writing and arranging songs for the Flowers Of Hell, Jarvis uses his synesthesia to create moving sonic paintings.
The group are currently wrapping up an experimental symphony that’s been six years in the making. The project nearly came to an early end after Jarvis was held by a rebel army who’d mistaken him for a spy while he was holidaying in Papua New Guinea. Knowing the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) soldiers’ history of kidnapping and killing foreigners, and fearful for his life, Jarvis gained his freedom by playing a ukulele to convince them that he truly was a musician.
Returning to Toronto, Jarvis’s resolve to complete his symphony was strengthened by the feeling that he owed his life to music. Getting through the trials and tribulations of producing & mixing a work with 179 layers of audio required a vast amount of willpower and brain power. And at one of the lowest points in it all, Jarvis was bolstered by his musical hero Lou Reed kicking off a radio show with three Flowers Of Hell recordings in a row, showering praise on the group in-between, declaring their work to be amazing, beautiful, and great.
“When you invest your life in making records that sell very few copies, you start to feel you’re crazy and egotistical to think what you do is any good – but when someone like Lou Reed says it is, you know you’re not nuts, just obscure,” says Jarvis. “It was in the final year of his life that he discovered us – that was actually his final radio broadcast – and when he died it was a real blow. But his praise will encourage us on for a good while.”
The group began as a London based studio project in 2002 and expanded into a live act in 2005. With Jarvis’s 2007 re-location to his native Toronto, the group became trans-continental with Jarvis recruiting additional Canadian musicians into the line up. The Flowers Of Hell’s ‘Symphony No. 1’ is their fifth studio album and is expected to be released in late 2015/early 2016 . It will be preceded by an EP featuring the symphony’s central theme, ‘Aria 51’.
With support from SquareWaves.
There are no advance tickets for this event. £7 OTD / £5 members. Doors open at 8.00pm.