Interview: Flows & His Bitter Truth bring the Power


Hailing from Glasgow and formed in 2018, Flows have had releases on the likes of Glasgow Underground, Superfett and Lyceum Social Club among others. They’re back with Power, a euphoric piano house gospel anthem in collaboration with Edinburghʼs own His Bitter Truth.

His Bitter Truth is as an artist, session vocalist and writer who has worked with a huge range of artists including Sandy Rivera, Todd Terry, Louie Vega, MNEK, Low Steppa, Annie Mac, Simma Black, Motive Records, Kylie, Beverley Knight, House Gospel Choir and even The Muppets. With radio support from the likes of Sam Divine, MistaJam and Charlie Sloth, His Bitter Truth is a multifaceted artist to watch.

We caught up with all three of the gang for a chat about the new record.

Thanks for talking to us. Has it been a positive 2023 for you so far?

HBT: It’s been challenging, I’m not going to lie! But creating Power with these guys has been an epic moment for me and brought me a lot of joy. So I’m hugely excited to finally have it released into the World. I hope everyone loves it as much as I do!

Dave: Yeah it’s been a funny old year but having the pleasure of working with His Bitter Truth has definitely been a highlight for us! What a talent!

What’s your earliest memory involving music?

HBT: dancing to Italian folk music with my mum as a kid! And then Diana Ross in a red sequin dress singing Chain Reaction on the music video on MTV. Quite the jump, I know!

Dave: I was so lucky growing up that my parents were super into music so whether it was in the house or on car journeys there would always be music to soundtrack a moment in time. I have such a broad music taste now but my first cassette I bought was when I was 6 and it was Spice by the Spice Girls from Woolworths (that’s me really showing my age now!). I always remember as a child seeing the Prodigy ‘Firestarter’ music video and was just in awe and blown away by the visual as well as the music.

Who were your biggest musical inspirations growing up?

Blair: I grew up on rock music, big emo kid. Then I started to hear Daft Punk and techno through the wall from my brother’s room. Then came “Part of the Weekend Never Dies” the Soulwax documentary which changed my life to be totally honest. Skip over to LCD Soundsystem and I was hooked. Sound design became a fascination and when Dave and I started making music out of college I knew that was going to be something I’d do for the rest of my life.

HBT: I think what influenced my vocal and writing the most was Motown. Hearing Aretha, and Stevie and Donny Hathaway too, so soulful, really shaped me as an artist and a writer. And no matter what genre of music I end up doing, I think you can always hear a wee bit of that in it.

Dave: I used to always used to listen to rock music when I was at School (artists like Oasis, The Libertines and Queens of the Stone Age). It wasn’t really until I started College and met Blair when he introduced me to Soulwax and I also loved Enter Shikari’s debut album ‘Take to the Skies’ at the time which crossed genres between rock and trance/electronic music. I remember also going to Rockness Festival (sadly no longer running!) and hearing lots of amazing up and coming electronic artists at the time. I recall one year in particular, I stayed in the same tent all day (which was unlike me) as they had Late of Pier, Does it Offend You Yeah?, Boys Noize and Annie Mac on the line up which was an incredible experience.

When did you know you wanted to make music? And what were your first steps in trying to make it happen?

Blair: Guess I jumped the gun with the last question! Dave and I met in college, we’d played in bands in the past separately but when we had to make electronic music as part of the college course, Dave took it and ran with it, he would send me tracks for my thoughts and I made suggestions, till it became, “can I help with it?” Then working together started and here we are!

HBT: Well, I was painfully shy as a kid, so I didn’t get the confidence to even sing in front of anyone that wasn’t my mum or dad til I was about 21! Then a job a singing waiter in a sushi bar soon gave me the confidence to really pursue it. But I knew singing itself was something that really resonated with me from early teens. I was lucky enough to work with bands and musicians straight away from deciding to actually pursue music and never looked back. I’ll never forget that first gig at The Bongo Club in Edinburgh…it was almost an outer body experience…I started singing and it was like time stopped. I looked out into the crowd and I knew it from that very moment – this was for me.

Dave: I was always in an indie rock band at School and then I started writing my own songs which I later performed in several small venues around the West of Scotland around 2008/09. It wasn’t really something that crossed my mind to dip my toes into electronic production but when Blair and I were at College where the spark was lit and I started making tracks on Reason and the rest is history really.

How do you think the mix of melodies and rhythms in Power will bring people together and create a joyful atmosphere on dancefloors?

HBT: I think this track it’s just undeniable! The music Blair and Dave created is so uplifting! I remember hearing the demo for the first time in my car, and my jaw dropped. I knew I had to write to it, and I knew it had to be powerful. When I write I often try and visualize a track live, and writing Power, I just kept seeing Glasto in my head…1000s of people with their arms in the air, chanting along with the lyrics. I really hope the message of the song resonates with people. I know the music is going to make them want to dance.

What messages about self-confidence and empowerment are you trying to convey through the lyrics of Power?

HBT: I was going through a hard time myself, and without realising, my songs end up being therapy for me. The word Power jumped out at me almost immediately when I heard the track the boys sent across. And this image of reaching for the power came into my head, but I loved the idea of saying that yes, we’re all in this together, it’s OK to ask for help, but know that you have the power inside of you and it’s been there all along…kind of like the ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz…she had the power to go home all along! Hahah. Click your heels and daaaance baby!

The presence of vocals used to be a vital element in house music, playing a crucial role in shaping the track’s narrative and helping to establish a deeper connection between the artist and the audience. Do think this is still the case?

Blair: I know I do, the first thing most people listen to is the vocal then the track under it. The tracks that stand the test of time and become classics are those that really make that connection with people to feel it all. I think His Bitter Truth has really tapped into a feeling we all get of needing to work through hard times and pull yourself up.

HBT: I guess different strokes for different folks, but I always need a good vocal to hook me into a track. With Power, the guys created an epic track. I wanted to elevate what they’d already created and give it some depth with the message.

Were there any specific bits of hard or software that contributed to the sound of this one?

Blair: The Korg M1 soft synth (emulation of the 1980s synth) plays a huge part in providing the piano sound. We were going for that classic sound so wanted to stay true to the classic synth. Everything else is more common to what we use, Sylenth was used for the majority of the rest of the sounds in the track. As well as some 909 drum samples to make the drums feel of that time too.

Have you had any ‘pinch yourself’ moments in your career to date?

HBT: I’ve been blessed with a few, but I guess a biggie was the a John Peel stage with Annie Mac and House Gospel Choir at Glastonbury! I was given the job of starting When Doves Cry, Prince, acapella, in the middle of Annie’s set! 15,000 people signing along! And then the rest of the choir joined in. It was a mind blowing experience – one I’ll never forget.

Dave: I think for Blair and I, being invited to DJ at Lovely Laura and Ben Santiago’s Ibiza Rocks residency last year was a massive highlight and amazing experience. We had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people including the legend that is CeCe Rogers! It was just so nice seeing everyone enjoying themselves after a tough couple of years.

What do you have in the pipeline for the rest of 2023?

Blair: Our label First and Favourite is up and running, so there are plenty more releases scheduled into 2024 so we’re looking forward to those being out in the world for people to hear! Especially if people are a fan of this collaboration…

HBT: shhhh! Don’t spill the beans yet!

What final message would you like to leave for our readers and your fans?

Blair: Thanks for the patience with us, thanks for the support, new music is coming so if you’ve not checked it out yet, follow us on all socials @weareflows to hear more!


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