Remember a few years ago when we featured Flipturn as our band to watch?? Well, guess what? We were right. The band has been hard at work since the last time we spoke, and and has released an EP, a few singles, and has cultivated a devoted following. We recently spoke to the band about their latest releases, their future, and about Treasure Planet.
We didn't really talk about Treasure Planet, but I kind of wish we had. I'm going to go watch Treasure Planet now. Enjoy the interview!
Also, be sure to catch Flipturn on tour later this year! (Tour dates below.)
1. What have you been listening to lately?
Dillon Basse: Lots of Khruangbin and Kurt Vile or really anyone who I saw playing at Shaky Knees haha
2. Opinion on peanut M&Ms?
Mitch Fountain: I choked on them when I was little and I vowed to never eat them again
DB: Better frozen
Tristan Duncan: Peanut butter M&Ms tho
3. When I die can you play “Blue” by Eiffel 65 as they lower my casket?
DB: Done. And thanks for the invite
4. Can I join the band as a backup singer, but not plug my mic in? I’m a terrible singer, but I’ll drive the van everywhere.
Madeline Jarman: Oh yes, definitely. As long as we don’t have to drive, the spot is yours. We’ll give you a bunch of Red Bull and hot chips to assist with the drives.
5. I was watching the music video for “Playground” and the first question that came to my mind was HOW DID YOU GET YOUR NIKE BLAZERS ON SO FAST??
DB: Months and months of practice leading up to the video. Our director demanded nothing but excellence at all times and he told me this was gonna be the most important scene in the video.
6. Who would win in a 4x100m freestyle swim relay? Flipturn, or Shrek and his 3 babies?
MF: Those three children have enough energy to beat Michael Phelps in a swimming match there’s no way anyone else could win.
MJ: I think I would just swim for everyone on our team honestly haha. My 12 years of being a competitive swimmer has finally paid off for the ultimate race of my lifetime.
7. Danny Phantom Menace. (I’m not sure what I mean by that. I was working on the interview yesterday, and I came back to it today and forgot how I was planning on making that into a question)
DB: Devon as a cartoon character
TD: Submit this to the Wheel of Fortune
8. Have y’all ever considered adding an Irish fiddle player to the band and doing John Mayer covers?
DB: Lol this hits way too close to home.
MF: You went through our Instagrams didn’t you?
9. Y'all ever meet Andre 3000 outside of a Shake Shack?
MJ: Noooooo but we were so close. Just outta reach. Hopefully our paths will magically cross again in the future.
10. Any bands that we should check out that you think are “slept on” or deserve more attention?
MF: Coyboi absolutely slaps
MJ: The Brazen Youth and also Hotel Fiction. Those are our homies!
The last time we spoke was back in 2019! How have you been??
MJ: Dang, yeah it’s been awhile! We’ve been great. 2020 was a wild year, but we started to write our first full-length record during that time and nowwww it is on the horizon.
I’m not sure if you remember but we were in the middle of setting up an in person interview in Dallas right as the pandemic hit and everything in the city was shutting down. One of my biggest regrets has been not going through with that interview.
MJ: Yes, I do remember! That’s okay, we’re here now! *virtual wave*
So much has happened since then. You’ve released a few EPs, a ton of singles, you’ve been on Audiotree live, and you’re playing a ton of music festivals. Not really a question, I’m just proud of y’all.
flipturn: thank you!! (sheds a tear)
Your singles “Halfway” and “Brooklyn Baby” released on May 20th! Can you talk to us a bit about those two songs?
MJ: Even though we wrote “Halfway” and “Brooklyn Baby” over a year apart from each other, they were destined to be in a double-single together. We like to compare the song “Halfway” to the Sun and “Brooklyn Baby” to the moon because the two of them symbolize the cycles of beginnings and endings of relationships. “Halfway” dives into whether you can fully commit yourself to someone or if you’re falling out of love, and “Brooklyn Baby” is about the fear of being alone and emotional dependency.
I think something that stands out to me is the complete honesty in your songwriting. Some of my favorite lyrics are(correct me if I misheard the lyrics):
“ I did not love you, and I’m well aware
Maybe I used you, but I was almost there” - “Halfway”
“But I’m in need of someone more than I crave it” - “Brooklyn Baby”
The sincerity in those lyrics caused me as a listener to reflect on my own relationships honestly. Do you feel like being vulnerable in songwriting allows your listeners to relate to your music?
TD: I think vulnerability is contagious! It’s my favorite reminder of being alive and living on a rock with seven billion other people. Everybody just wants to figure this “life” thing out.
How do you balance being vulnerable in songwriting while still not feeling like you’re revealing too much? Or is that something that you even think about?
MJ: I don’t think it’s something that we consciously think about, but vulnerability in music is an amazing thing because the listener can feel like they’re not alone in their emotions that they’re experiencing. I think people are drawn to authenticity in music, and true gut emotions come with that.
Can you walk us through the process of you creating a song?
MJ: All of our songs stem from jam sessions! We’ll play off of each other until something kind of clicks, and one of us says like “woah, that was cool. Let’s build something on that.” It usually comes from a cool melody or chord progression and we just go from there! We can gain inspiration for song meaning and feeling from the emotions that the music gives off.
Where do you normally draw inspiration from?
MF: I usually draw inspiration from other artists from varying genres. I believe everyone else could say the same, which is why it’s always fun writing together.
You played SXSW earlier this year, and you’re playing Bonnaroo AND Lollapalooza! What is it like to play a festival vs playing a regular show at a venue?
MJ: They’re definitely two different rodeos. Festival setups are much more fast paced and are higher pressure. For festivals, we like to play a different set than we would for one of our own headlining shows due to set-length and ~vibe~ lol. Festivals are incredible because someone could be watching our set from decently far away while eating some tater tots or something. It’s a great way to gain new listeners. We also get to walk around and watch other bands play which is amazing. We don’t get to go to shows as much during the year anymore because we’re on the road a bunch, so festivals are like a working vacation for us. Venue shows are also amazing because it’s all of our listeners in one area and the energy is insane. It’s super cool to all be in a room together sharing that moment.
MF: Festival show days are equally as fun as they are stressful. Festivals are VERY fast-paced because there are so many bands playing back to back to back. So you basically have to set up all your gear and tear down and play a set within a two hour period which is doable, but also super crazy haha. It’s been a new element to get used to, because venues usually have three to four hours of time between loading gear and playing the show.
Speaking of music festivals, you helped curate a festival called Playground Festival! How did that idea come about?
MJ: Gainesville is where we truly got our start. We’ve been playing there for about six years now, and it’s been like a second hometown for us. This year we thought we’d put together something really special by bringing together some of the bands that we’re friends with, as well as a couple new bands that we can’t wait to meet and play with. Gainesville is such an incredible town, so we knew that’s where we wanted to put on our first festival. We went with the name “Playground” because it’s the first single off of our upcoming record, and I think it helps to set a precedent for what you can expect from our event. Lots of good vibes all around!
Anything you’ve learned about setting up your own music festival? (This question is more for me than our readers honestly)
MJ: We’re still in the planning process of it all, but above everything we want everyone, including the artists, to have an amazing time. We know the little details that make a difference from a band’s perspective, so we hope we can make it a fun time for everyone whether it’s backstage with the bands or out in the crowd.
With so many shows and festivals coming up, what do you do to not lose your mind while you’re on the road?
MF: Oh, we lose our minds. Everyone loses their minds and by the end we all collectively share one brain cell.
MJ: Yeah, honestly that’s true lol.
I also looked at your summer tour dates, and saw that there are no Texas shows. Is it because of that one time I had to cancel our interview in Dallas? Should all of Texas blame me?
TD: I’m down to blame Greg Abbott instead… but yeah no, we will be in Texas soon!
I watched your Audiotree live and everyone has such great stage energy. What do you do to try to ensure a good performance? Do you have any pre show rituals?
MF: We always PP (pray to Prince) before we play which is just us huddling together and making weird noises or saying something stupid towards Prince (yes, the artist haha)
Can you explain PP Time? (Prince Prayer time. I’m not being weird.)
MF: This is a long story haha. Basically we did an outdoor concert series about a year ago in Gainesville, FL. It was a three day event where we played for three different crowds due to capacity restrictions. During that weekend, Florida (the state not the college lol) decided it was a great time to absolutely downpour rain onto us each evening. So, everyday we would wake up and wonder if that day's concert would get canceled due to lightning or rain. Luckily nothing ever got canceled, but on the last day it was the worst rain of the weekend and things were looking grim. Somehow we got onto the topic of famous people who played in the rain to make us feel better about playing in the rain, and of course the famous Prince concert was brought up where he played in the Super Bowl. Devon thought it was a brilliant idea to “pray to Prince” for the rain to stop because at that moment that made the most sense. Since then it’s become a thing we do and we usually just sit in a huddle and “talk to Prince” and make other weird noises and what not.
What are some ways that we as listeners can support you and other touring bands?
MJ: Listen to their music, but also buy their music and merch. Most of a band’s income comes from physical music sales (like CDs and vinyl) and merchandise. Especially if you’re at a show, the best way to support the band is to buy some merch. It likely goes towards their gas money to help get them to their next destination.
What are some changes should we push for in the way the music/touring industry works currently?
MJ: Something that I find unfair is that some venues take percentages of merchandise from bands at shows. Most times it’s just soft goods (shirts, etc.), but sometimes it’s soft goods AND music (like vinyl and CDs). It’s confusing to me, and just unfair. Bands really rely on merch sales for lodging, gas, and food.
DB: It would be great to see more venues with parking for bands vans and trailers next to the venue
MJ: So true. There’s many times where we have to park blocks away from the venue and it just adds a bunch of unneeded stress to our show day.
What can we expect from Flipturn in the near future?
MJ: You can expect a buncha new music and touring!! We’ve been working so hard over the past two years, and we cannot wait for y’all to hear what we’ve created. The whole rest of our year is basically planned out, so we hope to see you all at one of our shows :-)
Is there anything that you want our readers to know? (It doesn't have to be about music)
flipturn: Follow our tour chicken, Jalapeno. He has an Instagram and he’s crazy. We think you’ll love him. @jalapenothetourchicken
To wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?
MJ: Cats or dogs? There is a wrong answer, and you can’t say both because that’s cheating. (Yes, everyone loves both but you have to pick.)