There is an unstoppable urge to move when listening to the enchanting work of Eflorem. Dealing in the energetic sub-genre of hyper-house, the duo - comprising couple Heather Worden and Dewey McManus - have thrived in the EDM scene of Boston and are now making their mark in Los Angeles.
With a name born from uniting their solo projects merged with floral imagery, the duo are symbolically blossoming. From a long journey of experimentation with dubstep, they have now defined their own niche in the world of hair-raising, fast tempo, bass house.
Across 2022, Eflorem were on fire with an steady stream of releases. Most recently the duo have released ‘Be There’ and ‘Found You’, making good on a mission to keep dropping bangers each month. The music produced by the duo sits in the space between dubstep and speed house, but continuously offers a solid narrative from love stories to new worlds.
Sharing the stage with the likes of DJ SHORTEE, Zebbler Encanti Experience, Clyde P and plenty more, the duo are regulars on the club circuit, but also go beyond their sets to working on the audio post-production for the History Channel and the Discovery Channel.
Read our Q&A with Heather and Dewey of Eflorem below.
How did it all start?
Dewey: So, we both attended Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Heather: We were both in the lobby area. I was talking to my friend about how I wanted to get into learning about electronic music, as at the time I was only doing songwriting and vocal performance. But at the same time, I was overhearing his [Dewey] conversation with his friend across the room.
Dewey: I was still pretty new to making electronic music and I was talking to him about how it would be really cool to have someone to sing on my tracks.
Heather: So we both overheard each other and looked over. I was like “here's my opportunity to sing on something, but also to learn some stuff.”
Dewey: We went to my house that same day - pretty much 45 minutes after meeting - then started working on music. We spent the next 50 hours together working on a song.
Heather: It was pretty instant. We met and it just snowballed from there. It’s also why I switched majors at Berkeley to study production.
Dewey: Yeah, at Berklee you can study electronic music production and sound design, it's kind of like their music tech degree. It does focus heavily on electronic music, but it also focuses on synthesis, coding, and you can even look into building mini controllers.
Heather: The official conversation [of becoming Eflorem] happened later. It’s hard to find someone to collaborate with without there being too much friction, because you have to be willing to have respect for each other’s ideas.
Dewey: With us, it’s like we almost don’t have to speak. It just happened you know? It was like electricity after that first song we made.
What were your first experiences with the dance music scene?
Heather: My first experiences at raves were after I met [Dewey]. I’d listened to electronic music but hadn’t been to any raves. What drew me to it was that everybody was so open and accepting. I felt way more comfortable at an electronic show than ever. My first show was Skream for my birthday. It was pretty epic as I actually got to meet him at the end of the night.
Dewey: Yeah, he had just finished his set and was walking away from the booth.
Heather: And everyone was yelling “Skream, Skream, Skream!” And I knew his name was Oliver Jones so I shouted “Oliver Jones!” He turned around and saw it was me. I was like: “You are one of my favourite DJs and producers, you inspire me so much.” And he just grabbed my face and kissed me on the forehead. Then this guy next to me was like, “I want a kiss!” I was blessed by the EDM gods. That was an epic show, as it was when he was doing some disco house at the time.
Dewey: The next time we saw him he was doing more of the minimal type of techno thing.
Heather: So seeing him do a disco thing was kind of a rare occurrence.
Dewey: For me, I’ve played music my entire life. I used to play in punk bands and metal bands. Then when it came time to go to college, I stayed in my hometown of Miami - before going to Berklee - but all my friends moved away so I didn’t have anyone to make music with anymore. I was a little lost. I wasn’t fully into electronic music, I was just dabbling and figuring out what I wanted to do. Then my friend took me to my first rave ever which was a Rusko show for my 19th birthday. I saw it and I just knew that it was what I wanted to do. I was just taken back by everything — the energy, the sound. It was just what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Then I went home and started working on Ableton, starting with dubstep and all that. From there I would go to regular local raves. Having been in punk bands and all those other bands, it was just not like any other scene. The communal love in the electronic scene was infectious.
Heather: Not to mention there’s a whole culture with traditions. The mentality of the different types of light toys. You can get swept up in it all.
What’s the LA music scene like and how do you fit into it?
Heather: Well, things happened fast here. We showed up and met a bunch of people on the scene pretty quickly. We went to some local show at Catch One and someone from a DJ collective just approached us and it kind of just snowballed from there. My first experience with the rave scene was in the Boston area which is a lot different. I mean in LA a lot of people want to dance and have fun but also you have a lot of people who are just there to network. It’s a mixture of partying and also people trying to yell over the music to network. But you never know who you’re going to meet. If you went to a show in Boston and wanted to meet one of the artists it would be really hard compared to here.
Dewey: Yeah it’s a lot harder on the East Coast. It’s more gate kept there.
Heather: We went to some crazy lengths to get noticed though.
Dewey: Oh yeah!
Heather: We went to see Jauz in Royale, Boston — and he’ll remember this as there is a picture of this moment. So, we went to his show and brought a USB of the music that we were working on at the time. And we were like: “He needs to hear this, we got to get this to him.” We made our way to the front and there was heavy security. I waited until the lights went out for a second and jumped over the fence and up onto the stage, pulled myself up and ran up to the booth.
Dewey: As soon as she got to the booth the lights came back on and she was just there with the USB in her hand.
Heather: I was like “Take it, Take it!” And he was like “okay”. Then I jumped back down as I saw security coming over. I ended up doing it again at Ghastly when he was opening up for Infected Mushroom.
Dewey: Only this time it was a lot bigger and so we brought three with us.
Heather: I threw the one, and missed. Threw the other one, missed. By this point a couple of people in the crowd had seen us and heard our conversation so there was now a group of people invested in it. This one guy came up to me and was like: “This is your moment, you’ve got to get this.” I threw it and it landed and Ghastly jumped on the mic and said: “Whoever threw that USB it landed straight on the mixer. That’s some hustler shit right there.” He Snapchatted us that night saying: “nice aim” and that was it.
Dewey: This was our earlier music which we thought was like the best thing.
How did you solidify your sound?
Dewey: We first started with UK dubstep.
Heather: Then we kind of did disco house for a little while, which was probably because Skream was doing it.
Dewey: It was a disco house, psych-trance hybrid that didn’t really work out.
Heather: So we went into crazy bass house which was like 130 BPM until we moved to LA. We had a cult following in Boston with people showing up to raves with candy for us and merch. Then when we moved out here we showed people what kinda stuff we made and they were like: “Oh, you play like old-school bass house”. But we like to make everything crazier. We started messing around by kicking up the BPM to 150. Haus of Panda then popped up and we were like this is what we’ve been missing, and he calls it speed house. We got obsessed and realised we had already been making this kind of stuff, it was just the BPM was a lot slower.
Dewey: We felt like we were mislabelling ourselves. We made a couple of speed house tracks and sent them over to Panda and he immediately picked them up and put them out on his label.
Heather: Our first release with him was an EP ‘Breather Fire’, but now we put our own spin on it by spinning sub-genres like hyperpop, trap, drum 'n' bass. But we call it hyper-house.
How do you go about making a track?
Dewey: We start the idea by ourselves and come together like: "I had this idea, if you like it we can finish it”.
Heather: At the beginning it was like, let's sit down and start from literally the kick drum. But sometimes we do start ideas together. It just depends on the mood.
Dewey: We can swap when working on the same track.
Earlier this year you dropped the single ‘With You’, which I read was inspired by yourselves - can you explain some more about this?
Heather: It was written about our relationship, so it’s a love song which evolved into something more once it came out. We saw that people were making TikToks with it but it was like a mom and her kid.
Dewey: So the song became about love in general.
Heather: I also wrote it in a way that wasn’t too specific, as you always want your lyrics to be interpreted in a different way.
What about your track ‘Dreams’?
Heather: Well the track itself started before we added the vocals. The lyrics, “I don’t want you to leave right now / I don’t want you to go.” It’s another form of a love song.
Dewey: But a little darker version of a love song.
Heather: We called it ‘Dreams’ initially because it links to a person having nightmares of their person leaving them.
Dewey: In terms of songwriting, it was a song we had been working on back in college which just sat in the graveyard. It was a dubstep track that we never finished. Then five years later, we went through and found it.
Heather: I remember opening it and the melody got me so excited.
Dewey: We stripped it down and then built it back up.
Heather: For the music video. I was learning how to use Final Cut Pro at the time and found a website with free footage and did crazy edits with them to make it look like a really trippy dream.
What are some of your favourite moments as Eflorem?
Heather: Tight Crew shows.
Dewey: So there’s this event company called Tight Crew. They are probably one of my favourite event companies we’ve worked with. The thing we love about them links back to the question about the difference in the dance scene between Boston and LA. In LA, it can be kind of annoying as a show can only have a particular style of music. But with Tight Crew they’ll have three or four stages and each is a different styles of music.
Heather: They don’t discriminate from genre, just mix all around with a great production to their performances. They make their own sets with a theme and it's like to the max. They built animatronic stage pieces that would move and glow in the dark.
There is talk of a concept album on its way - can you share any news on it?
Heather: It’s going to be very complex so it's going to take a while.
Dewey: We were always debating if we were to make a concept album and what it would be about. Our old neighbour back in Boston was an art student and his art was filled with crazy entities and worlds. One day he came over after we had the flower design for our logo and he was like, “I have to show you this thing that I thought of.” He ran back to his room and came back with this crazy flower that he had drawn and called it Chriosyphia. And the concept behind that is that there is a dying planet where fourth-dimensional beings would come to the planet and plant Chriosyphia. When it blooms the flower would die, creating life on the planet.
Heather: That was all his own concept and he came up with that the day after we had shown him the flower logo.
Dewey: He suggested that we write a song about it. We never really got around to it.
Heather: Like how do you capture that whole concept in one song? But with a whole album.
Dewey: But it will be out in a year or two.
Heather: There will be some cinematic scenes like you start in a spaceship. You are part of an exploratory team going to the dead planet.
Dewey: To go see these fourth-dimensional beings and study how Chriosyphia is breeding life into this dead planet.
Heather: So things might go wrong.
Dewey: When it’s out you’ll see what it means.
Heather: You’ll feel like you are there.
Heather: We have a couple more things coming out.
Dewey: We are on a once-a-month release schedule.
Heather: MCM Productions, our manager, picked us up and literally a couple of days later Max the head of the company was the victim of a hit-and-run on his bike. He was in the hospital and they weren’t sure if he was going to pull through or not. But he’s had an insane turnaround way ahead of the recovery schedule. He’s impacted thousands of people of lives. So we made merch with our logo and his logo on top with all the proceeds going to his medical bills. It’s a testament to the scene though as people really rally around to help.
In addition to our conversation, Eflorem added their thoughts to the rising number of sexual assault allegations in the EDM scene.
Heather and Dewey: There is an issue that we would like to speak about. We have been hearing about a lot of artists in the EDM scene that has multiple sexual assault allegations. Every day it seems like more and more people are coming forward about different artists and telling their stories. We just want to make it known that we thank the victims for their courage to come forward and that we believe them. We also want to make it known that we do not stand for the behaviour of those artists that have been exposed for their misconduct. We also want to say that the people who knew about the behaviour of those artists and chose to say nothing/do nothing about it are just as guilty as the perpetrators. If we ever find out that someone that we are touring with or collaborating with has exhibited such behaviours, they will be promptly removed from said tour or collaboration.