Floratura: Ready to Say Something

Tatiana Peña and Adrian “Treetop” Marquez initially teamed up as a musical duo in the late 2010s. “We started our musical journey together through protest,” says Peña. “We traveled the country and attended many concerts and festivals.” The duo settled in Santa Cruz in 2019, “With a bunch of songs to share, an album to record and a band to look for,” she says. By the end of that summer, Floratura had come together. “And we were ready to say something to the world,” Peña says.

Floratura is Marquez on guitar, Peña on mandolin, keyboardist Jack Reed, Noah Mogor on bass, and drummer Jacob Gilmore. Marquez notes that the lineup shifted over time, but not in the conventional manner. “Our keyboardist started off as our drummer,” he says with a chuckle. “Our current drummer was our original bass player.” Peña notes with pride that Floratura’s band members “played musical chairs” at practices; “everyone can play everything,” she says. Nevertheless, that rich variety eventually coalesced around set roles.

Floratura released an EP in 2023. The four-song Bucket of Seeds displays a good-timing, funky, late-period Grateful Dead vibe, yet the songs are tightly constructed. “Our drummer is really into statistics,” Marquez giggles. “He says that our music is one-third lyrical, one-third very composed music, and one-third improvised.” That equation adds up to a sonically appealing whole.

Live onstage, the mix is a bit different. “On our recordings, all of the solos were improvised,” Peña says. “And in our shows, we take those improvisations way farther. A four-minute studio track might turn in to a 13-minute song.” A restless sense of exploration is baked into Floratura’s recipe. “Some songs are really expansive; others we keep tight to the arrangement,” Marquez says.

The group is nearly done recording a full-length followup to Bucket of Seeds. Where the songs on the EP were all composed by Marquez (“before we even met the rest of the band,” Peña points out), the 13-song Oasis Glow will reflect compositional collaboration involving the entire group.

And Peña emphasizes that there’s a yang quality to the yin of the EP. “Bucket of Seeds has a daytime, major tonality,” she explains. “The LP will have a beautiful, nighttime essence.” Peña and Marquez are reluctant to announce a release date for the album; some production work remains to be done, and then there are the ongoing bottlenecks in vinyl pressing plants. “We want to have the vinyl in hand before we release anything,” Peña says.

But attendees at the Kaleidoscope Music Festival are likely to get a taste of the music from Oasis Glow. “We’ve been playing some of those songs for some time,” says Marquez. “Live performance seems to be the most nourishing thing for the group, and the live arrangements fit that vibe into a record format.”

In the group’s earliest days, the musicians bonded over their interpretations of Grateful Dead classics. But these days, Floratura is careful not to let the band’s unique character get swept away by hewing too closely to that sound. “Some of our members are a little more fond of the Dead’s tone,” Marquez says, choosing his words carefully. “And some of them aren’t so attracted to it.” Tasked with pinning down a label for Floratura’s music, he pauses and then offers this: “Original music, sprinkled with a culture-adjacent, jam-bandy thing.”

“We all live different lives,” says Peña. “But when we come together, it’s just so special.” floraturamusic.com