flipturn Interview: On Playing At Okeechobee And Anticipations For Their First Tour
Words and photos by Anissa Dimilta
From jamming out in a garage in Fernandina Beach, Florida, to playing the main stage at Okeechobee Music Fest, flipturn is quickly taking the Florida music scene by storm. I had the chance to sit down with them to talk about their inspirations, goals, and their current tour.
Just in case you haven’t heard of this crazy talented band, here is what you need to know before diving into our interview: flipturn is composed of Dillon Basse (vocals, rhythm guitar), Tristan Duncan (lead guitar), Adrian Walker (drums), Madeline Jarman (bass), and Taylor Allen (synth). Dillon, Tristan, Adrian, and Madeline attended the same high school, and all shared a passion for music. Naturally, they formed a band. Taylor attended a different high school but was introduced to Madeline by a mutual teacher who thought the girls would be great friends – little did she know she would be on her way to making music with creators alike. Their first single, “Cartoon Head”, was released in September of 2016. This was followed by the release of their debut EP, Heavy Colors in March 2017. More recently, they released their sophomore EP, Citrona. On May 9th they kicked off their first ever tour outside of Florida and are on their way to travel up the East Coast and then back down. Make sure you catch one of their shows (show dates will be posted below the interview), you won’t regret it!
Hey guys! Let’s dive right in; what artists have had a big influence on you, personally and as a band?
Dillon: I can name a couple… Right now, a huge influence on me is The Districts, I really like them. Growing up, singer-songwriters like Damien Rice influenced me.
Adrian: My personal influences would definitely have to be the Foo Fighters; more of a rocky sound. Probably, the band Bush and John Mayer too.
Madeline: Hello, *chuckles* for me, they all know this because I talk about them all the time, but Hippo Campus. They’ve been my favorite band for years! Also, Two Door Cinema Club because they were the first alternative band that I got into, so I have them to thank for me getting into this type of music, I guess. Also, Bombay Bicycle Club, I like them a lot!
Tristan: Hi! Um, a lot of the bands that influence me are the same ones as them! I don’t know…. I haven’t thought about it-
Madeline: Don’t say you don’t know! You just brought up jazz!
Tristan: Well yeah, but that’s usually not an influence though…I like jazz. Jazz-wise, I like Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery. Snarky Puppy is pretty good. Um, I like Cory Henry a lot. What else…? I like everything!
Taylor: *points to her The Maine t-shirt* My favorite band is The Maine, so that’s definitely one influencer. Also, The Killers and Young the Giant and then just a lot of older stuff like classic rock and 90’s grunge type.
Could you tell me a little about Okeechobee and how it felt getting to play at the same fest as some of the biggest artists in music right now?
Dillon: Okeechobee was great!
Taylor: Yeah, but how did it feel?
Dillon: Pretty cool, pretty awesome.
Madeline: It was really cool. It was awesome to get voted by people to play! It was an honor because over 3,000 bands applied for Destination Okeechobee and we were the top voted!! So, that was really cool, and it was awesome how our fans, family, and friends helped us out and voted for us. It was crazy seeing Halsey’s stuff backstage. Taylor loves Halsey! I know Khalid’s keyboard setup was behind me whenever we were doing soundcheck and stuff, I was like ‘I wonder whose stuff that is’ and then later I was like ‘oh, yeah... that’s Khalid’s!” It was really amazing. Seeing different artists and stuff backstage was really awesome. We just casually saw the lead singer for The Flaming Lips and that was just insane. We were really happy to be there and be able to play.
I know we had previously talked about you guys hanging out with the boys of Hippo Campus at Okeechobee, how was that?
Madeline: That was really cool! They were super friendly, and they wanted to talk to us about music, which was super neat. I had met them a couple of times before and it was cool talking to them in that type of setting. It was surreal! If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be in that situation, I wouldn’t have believed you!
Madeline: They didn’t treat us any differently and I really appreciated it. It’s great that bands are still really humble and real.
Which city are you looking forward to playing most while on this tour?
Taylor: Honestly, a whole bunch!
Taylor: I’m really looking forward to Philly because I’ve never been there, and I know they have a really cool music scene. I’m also excited for New Jersey because the venue looks so cool. They have this really cool like light up design on stage and I’m excited for that!
Dillon: I’m excited for Delray Beach… I’ve heard really good things about Delray.
Sounds like there is a lot to look forward to! Can you talk me through your writing process, either with Citrona or any of your songs in general?
Dillon: Um, basically, it starts out as a jam session in the garage. It starts very natural and organic and then we’ll come up with a melody or something. Then if we really like what we have I’ll go and listen to it and try to put lyrics to it. Then we go over and over it, try to
repolish it. Like, right now, we have this one song, Jump the Gun, that we really like, and we have played it live, but we keep trying to make it better and polish it. That’s the basics behind it, I guess. Even Madeline said that songs we release we try to make better when they’re live. We’re always trying to improve!
How do you think you’ve grown as a band from the release of Heavy Colors to Citrona?
Taylor: I think that we have a better understanding of the kind of music we want to make and a better idea of what our sound is. I don’t know, how do I usually word this..? I feel like we are better understanding of our sound, each other, and ourselves as a band. I don’t know if any of this makes sense. This EP is more cohesive. It’s more of a project, rather than a collection of songs. It’s kind of one entire entity if that makes sense.
No, it’s like a story from the first song to the last song!
Taylor: Yeah! Even though I still love Heavy Colors and hold it very close to my heart, I feel like we kind of put some songs together. On Citrona, they fit together. Does anyone else want to talk about how we have matured?
Madeline: I know with Heavy Colors it was the first five songs that we could finish and that we liked enough to put on the EP. With Citrona, there were a couple of songs that didn’t make it, or we couldn’t get them to fit on the album. We definitely took our time with this one and we wanted to make sure it would cohesively. It tells a story. Jasmine and Fletcher are there even though they don’t have any vocals and aren’t full-length songs, they still help flow with the storytelling aspect of the album.
What’s the biggest takeaway you want people to get when listening to Citrona?
Taylor: Dillon, would you like speak on this?
Dillon: Takeaway? Yeah! When it comes to the takeaway as far as the lyrics go, I want people to really relate. A lot of the songs are directed at people our age, like growing up! “Six Below” is about kind of learning from your mistakes, you could say. “August” and “Hippies”, are about when you’re young and you say you had “the one that got away.” “Churches”, I’ve explained it before, but it’s about finding your passion in something that’s different. As far as “Nickel” goes, that’s about – I like how Steffanie put it – it’s about chasing your dreams rather than chasing a paycheck. When you’re young you might have a dream and people will say it’s unrealistic, so “Nickel” is about just sticking with it.
Taylor: I don’t think I realized this until after we were done with it, but with the street names and everything, I hope people get some sense of home. This is where we have experienced all those things that Dillon just talked about in the lyrics.
Madeline: Also, going off the sense of home thing, we are growing up and getting to be young adults technically –
Madeline: We are definitely getting older, so this is definitely a piece of home that we can have with us. We are going to be in Philadelphia and play a song “Fletcher”, it’s kind of like a hometown thing that we’ll always have with us no matter where we go.
Dillon: That’s one thing too about this EP, it’s gotten a huge response from our hometown. I didn’t intend for it to increase our support really, but people have seen that we put out something like this and the support has grown so much.
Taylor: I feel like it was an accidental love letter to our hometown. I don’t think we meant that, but I’m glad it turned out that way because we have received so much support from this community and our family and our friends. I don’t think we would be anywhere near where we are without them. People have been so supportive!
What are your goals as a band for the rest of 2018?
Dillon: As far as statistics go, I’d like to increase our audience by a lot more… You know, be more known nationally instead of just in Florida.
Madeline: Play a lot of shows-
Madeline: Outside of Florida! This is our first time going outside of Florida.
Dillon: Maybe play with some bigger bands as well. There are some more nationally known bands that we’d like to play with.
Tristan: *whispers something inaudible*
Taylor: Tristan said, “yeah!” I just want as many people to hear our music as possible and just expand our fanbase. Adrian, any goals?
Adrian: I think you guys touched on any goal I could’ve thought of.
Taylor: So, “yeah!” Yeah times two!!
Dillon said that you guys want to play with some bigger bands. What are some bands that you would want to play with in the future, or collaborate with?
Madeline: It’d be cool to play with Sure Sure or The Districts. I mean Hippo Campus, too!
Taylor: Literally any of our related artists on Spotify. I think Bad Suns or Hunny would be cool. I love so many bands, I don’t think I’d really be picky.
Dillon: I’d like to play with bands that have a similar fanbase.
Madeline: Turnover would be so cool!
Taylor: Oh my god! Turnover! Yes!
You guys opened for Coin at Porter Fest. How was that?
Madeline: It was really cool. It was for a smaller college and it felt more intimate. It was cool to go back into their crowd and jam out with the people to Coin.
Dillon: It was cool having their name in the same lineup. We even got shirts with both of our names, oh, and 3OH!3!
What’s your favorite song to perform live?
Dillon: I think we all have a different favorite.
Taylor: I really enjoy playing “August” live. “Hippies” is my favorite, but I really like the part I play in “August”.
Madeline: I really like “Six Below!"
Dillon: Recently, because the crowd knows the words, “Nickel” is really fun to play live. I like “August” the most, but now that everyone knows the chant at the end of Nickel, it’s really cool. I do like that.
Tristan: I like playing “Churches”.
Dillon: So mainstream!
What’s your favorite song off either EP?
Taylor: “Hippies” from Citrona and from Heavy Colors it’s a tie between either “Beep” and “Hypoxia”.
Madeline: From Heavy Colors my favorite is “Vanilla” and from Citrona, I like “Hippies”.
Adrian: From Heavy Colors probably “Chicago” and from Citrona, “Nickel”
Dillon: From Heavy Colors I like “Beep” the most and from Citrona, I like “August” the most!
Tristan: From Heavy Colors I like “Beep” and I like “Hippies” from Citrona.
Great!! One last question that I have been dying to ask; when you released “Churches” as a single there was no speaking intro, but you added one to the version on the EP, why is that? Why is the introduction so important to the song?
Dillon: The intro on the EP was used because the man who spoke was a hometown teacher and what he says sets up the meaning of “Churches”. The poem asks the question of “what will your verse be,” in other words what will you contribute to life and “Churches” is about finding that certain contribution or passion.
Tour Dates: *More info can be found on flipturn’s social media pages*
5.13 Easton, MA
5.15 Cambridge, MA
5.17 Boonton, NJ
5.21 Savannah, GA
5.24 Delray Beach, FL
5.26 St. Petersburg, FL
5.27 Jacksonville, FL