“We don’t want to be boxed in anymore”: introducing New York’s anti-sweetheart Flossing.

Updated: Sep 20

by Charlotte Russell

 
"This is the most anti-capitalist I’ve been in my entire life".
A photograph of singer Flossing hunched in the middle of some red fabric
Image: Oriana Layendecker, 2022

There’s a limitlessness to New York’s riotous raconteur Flossing (aka Heather Elle), who creates “genre fuck music” that has erupted from a period of compression.

Like an elastic band stretched before being catapulted into the air, the sound of Flossing exists within that instant space of release; grabbing the fluctuating and freeing state of being thrust into oblivion.


Sitting down with Heather Elle over Zoom is like chatting to someone I already know. There is definitely this platonic bond between queers that is more often acknowledged in small ways - a knowing glance across the tube or the ease of conversation at an afters - that translated to a natural comfort over video chat that Elle and I shared.


In turn our discussion included musing on that newfound, euphoric space when one has realised their sexuality and reintroduced themselves to the world - an environment where Flossing currently sits. “I think [Men on the Menu] is the song that came from finally being free in my immediate life”, they say in reference to their previous single, which was released alongside their coming out.


 

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Men On The Menu is Flossing’s zero-fucks ode to the Tinder scroll, which pays tributes to the mediocrity of masculinity and the absurd nature of “putting up an ad for your body”. “The outro of [this track] is like, where I’m really trying to make fun of masculinity and guitar music”, they say, which sees Flossing collaborator Elijah Sokolow caricature the over-compensation that the guitar often lends itself to under the facade of male bravado.


Quips are repeatedly fired at the constraints of the hetero-patriarchy throughout Flossing’s music, to include BDSM-inspired banger Switch, whose lyrics “I can switch from bottom to top if you like that” uses sexual power dynamics as a metaphor to question the gender canon within the real world.


It therefore comes as no surprise when they admit, “this is the most anti-capitalist I’ve been in my entire life”, as their leather-tongued jibes continue to display an ongoing frustration with navigating both the music scene and wider world as a femme/womxn.


VLURE, a Glasgow band photographed by Oli Erskine
Image: Michael Todaro, 2022

Citing New York as their “biggest influence” is obvious when listening to their latest single, Heart of Hearts, whose tender lyricism, soft guitar and distorted vocals pastiches the earlier work of the Big Apple’s indie giants, The Strokes. Perhaps a contradictory source of comparison, considering Flossing’s previously satirical work, this latest track can be seen as one of the many examples of their multiplicity as both an artist and individual.


The various themes and sounds that thread their way throughout Flossing’s music reflects the endless nuances and creative experiences that constitute the contemporary womxn. Refusing to be viewed in just one light, they create work that shapeshifts and slips through many different moods and feelings, which infuses phenomena from their lived experience. As music to be etched onto the soul, Flossing creates work for womxn who “don’t want to be boxed in anymore”.


Flossing’s EP Word of Mirth is out on 26 August via Brace Yourself Records. Stream now on Spotify.