Video Premiere: FLOC on rap music, synths and Be_Hear/Now

Video Premiere: FLOC on rap music, synths and Be_Hear/Now

Words by Benjamin Lamb

Continuing our Be_Hear/Now journey takes us to the music of Sarah Barclay, more commonly known as FLOC.

FLOC’s amazing genre-bending music has culminated from a number of different inspirations, years of being involved in the scene and her involvement in workshops and networking events across the state.

Finding a love for music back in school, Sarah started her journey into the music making world through learning an array of instruments.

But as time progressed and Sarah began started making her own pieces and producing original content, she found programming instrument sounds into a synth came much easier than lugging around instruments from show to recording studios.

“I just kept learning all these weird instruments like flute, trombone, guitar, all this random stuff. I’m always looking for a sound, weird sounds that I couldn’t create,” she says.

“Years later, I started making electronic music and I discovered that there’s this whole new world of sound with synthesisers and sampling, you can make anything that you want.

“I’m not trying to record any instruments or anything. I’m just programming at all, I love it, it’s great.”

Sarah’s music has strong electronic elements, but also has features notes from genres of soul, folk and indie, it’s clear it’s the sound of an artist with a deep music taste. Sarah notes that her biggest love is hip-hop, and rapping was her first foray into music making.

She adds that the workshop has assisted many elements of her career, but the main inspiration was found a connection through the dedication the artists had to lyrical content in their original works.

“I met this artist, who told me about Dig Deep, which is a Hip-Hop collective that happens in Melbourne, and I would travel from Ballarat to go to that,” she says.

“Everyone there was writing their own music, and that’s probably what got me into writing lyrics in a way, learning how to tell your own story, and listen to others, and use it in a rhythmic way.

Hip-hop is heavily rooted in some of the most thorough processes and production techniques, some of which are still relevant, and still apply to Sarah’s music making nowadays.

“I think the poetry element, it’s definitely still strong today,” she continues. “But I’m not really rapping as much as I did when I started out. I’m more of a vocalist, and I guess the way I sing it, sometimes it’s in between rapping and singing.”

As seems to be the case with many of Ballarat’s talented musicians, they talk highly of their town’s musical scene, and the amazing way they build musicians.

“I started off in Freeza when I was 14, and had my first gig at Karova, which was just unreal at the time,” she says.

“Going to all the underage gigs across the town, you get to meet a lot of different bands, and most people are still playing music, years later.

“Local venues have been a huge help as well, The Eastern, they let me do a residency, and after that, they’ve let me book a few shows, which has been really cool. Especially just meeting different bookers and different artists. A lot of it’s just talking to everyone” she adds.

FLOC’s Be_Hear/Now performance below features a new track, ‘Scared Me’ that you’ll be able to hear soon; “I’ll release it next year sometime.”

As has been the case with Be_Hear/Now’s videos, FLOC’s performance displays an amazing array of visual mastery, shaping the performance and drawing people in.

Although there was no direct correlation between the setting and the song, Sarah notes that the space helps the song stay raw and truly get through to those listening and watching.

“It was on a rooftop, which is just so cool, it was at a place called the MLC building. When we were on top of that building, it was great to just to look at everything around the place,” she says.

“Looking at Black Hill, and seeing where I live, and then behind me, you could see popular Ballarat buildings, it was really awesome.

“It’s just a cool place that adds to the atmosphere of the song. I feel like the song kind of suits the atmosphere. They have nothing to do with each other, but it was really cool.”

As you’ll see below, the performance is full of emotion, FLOC performing the piece alone with her guitar: “I didn’t really do a lot for the video, I just performed and kept it quite raw in a way, I’m just standing there playing guitar.”

After putting this Be_Hear/Now performance out into the world, Sarah hopes it can inspire people to start their musical careers, most notably in Ballarat;

“I hope young people see it and get interested, because even when booking shows, I struggle to find other women and gender non-conforming people that are creating electronic music,” she says.

“I’d really love to work with more people like that. Hopefully there’s more women or gender non-conforming people out there wanting to reach out and be like, Hey, how do I do that?”

Sarah notes that it’s an area that doesn’t often have a great deal of accessibility to it, and it’s an area that more light should be shed on; “I’d love to see more of it in small areas.” This is an area of importance to Sarah, some of those artists who have led the way in this space are some that Sarah looks up to in many ways, and states there is a gap for in Ballarat;

“There’s a big lack of it in Ballarat. There are artists I look at and I think it’s awesome. I think Ninajirachi is really cool, and Alice Ivy is awesome. I’d love to see more rural and regional people doing that kind of stuff.”

Follow Floc on Instagram here or head to the Be_Hear / Now website to learn more.