INTERVIEW: G FLIP

With one of the most talked about debut albums of 2019, G FLIP has cemented herself as one of Australia’s boldest new storytellers. ‘About Us’ hears her getting deep, honest and vulnerable as she reflects on love, heartbreak and all of the in-between moments. But with the structural record seemingly telling the perfect story of hope and heartbreak, she admits that it was never intended to be that way. Instead she was just writing about everything that was happening in her life at the time which ended up shaping up to be this empowering hopeful take on love. 

With a massive run of mostly sold out shows kicking off in November, she is preparing for the biggest shows of her career so far which will see her playing all of the songs from the album as well as some cheeky new unreleased songs. 

I recently chatted to G FLIP about the layering of vulnerability through anthemic production and finding cohesiveness within her sound, the complexities of toxicity and discuss how she’s planning on delivering her best live show yet this November. Check out the chat HERE; 

TB: Your debut album ‘About Us’ is a vulnerable, anthemic and empowering collection of tracks that shares your story of love and hope with the highs and lows explicitly detailed. Why was transparency about the truth of humanisation so important for you to outline on this record? 

G: When I wrote this record and when I was just putting it together, it was never a conscious decision I made that I was going to tell the raw truth and that this was going to be a very straight to the point record. I just feel like I was authentically telling the story of what was happening in my life at the time. 

I wrote some of these songs back in 2017 when me and my partners relationship was all over the place. I just feel my writing style, and the only way that I really know how to write songs, is being super straight to the point and baring it all. I also seem to write songs how I speak. In general in life I am very straight to the point and I don’t really bullshit about stuff, I just say how it is. And I think that really comes across in my songwriting. I’ve never made a decision to be this up front person, thats the only way I know how to do it. 

TB: ’2 Million’ beautifully ties together the heart of the album and brings it back to the empowering hope that the anthemic opening track ‘Lover’ introduced. With these tracks having quite a strong correlation to each other  the concept of the record, were you aware of this originally when you were writing them? Or were they created at quite different times and their cohesiveness were later established?

G: The cohesiveness was definitely later established. It wasn’t until I had come to choosing out of a pile of songs of what would make the album that I realised “oh shit, this is very much so a relationship themed album”. Every single song was written about the very different stages in my partner and I’s relationship. 

I decided there and then to put it in the order of the story of what happened with me and Gemma’s relationship. We broke up, I felt really resilient about it, decided to take on the world, I would go out and drink my sorrows away, wake up in the morning and feel like shit and then I was super heartbroken and didn’t want to wake up the next morning about it. So I ended up putting it in the order of the ups and downs of the relationship. 

However when writing the record it definitely wasn’t planned like that. My partner and I’s relationship really inspires me a lot, I have so many songs about us and they seem to be the best ones so that’s why they made it on the record. I was never trying to fit in the blanks of a story, they were all very honest and natural. 

TB: The whole album interwinds so perfectly and I do feel like ‘2 Million’ is the perfect closer as it wraps up the feelings that ‘Lover’ introduced so rawly at the beginning of the record.

G: Thank you! I also felt that ‘2 Million’ would be the perfect closer of a record because it’s very hopeful and it talks about the future. I guess the whole record is about these ups and downs and it’s kinda like, where does the story end?”, and the album finishes with this hopefulness of what could be and what could come in our relationship. 

Lyrics like “This story we told, this story we told, this story we told, to two million” perfectly represent that the whole album is a story. It’s really funny being an artist and songwriter because when you die you leave on earth these stories and people can listen to these stories that I’ve written through music at anytime. And I guess ‘2 Million’ expands to the point where the only thing left in the world of me is the stories me and Gemma have left behind of our relationship 

TB: Wow, that is so deep! 

G: It is very deep! That song is very deep *laughs*. 

TB: Focusing on intimacy and authenticity, ‘Morning’ stands out as a beautiful and raw moment that hears you stripping the production back with a gradual growth. So do you mind if we dive into how this song was created for a moment?

G: I woke up one morning and I literally sang the hook to myself as I was laying in bed. Now, I normally sing a lot to myself whether it’s in the shower or when I wake up so it wasn’t that weird. But this was when Gemma and I were separated so I was still really heartbroken. I sang the opening lines with my head still on the pillow, with my eyes open, as this conscious flow of lyrics poured out. “Ain’t nobody else that I want in the morning. Ain’t nobody else that I want right now”. I then sat up on the edge of my bed and recorded that hook in my voice memos on my phone so I didn’t forget them. 

It was a Saturday and I didn’t haven’t anything else on that day so I sat at my production station and that’s when I got that opening pad synth, like a juno sound. It’s just a Logic preset synth sound, it was nothing fancy like a $5000 synth *laughs*. I wrote some chords to go with that synth and I layered it with a piano. 

From there I started to write the verses and by the end of the day the whole track was complete. I just added some stock beats on Logic and some synth patterns to cope the high frequencies. I laid the vocals down and then I had the song. 

I wrote and produced ‘Morning’ really early in February 2017, it was actually a week after I completed ‘About You’. I would just work on it at night a lot for the finer details. After the first day a lot of it was there but I would stay up late to finalised a few final little detailed part. 

At the time I was obsessed with lava lamps and I would turn them on and illuminate my room with 8 lava lamps going while I’d stay up all night working on the song. It created this glow that I always associate with that song and the vibe and aesthetic of the synth pad. If I was to visualise what that song would look like I would say it would have a dark luminous lava lamp glow, which when I created it, I would just blast it through my headphones and look at the patterns and lights on the wall. 

TB: The in-depth complexities of toxicity is a key focus point on this record. So how have you emotionally dealt with dealt with your past to allow yourself to be so open publicly about it? And did you find writing about everything was very cathartic for you? 

G: I get asked a lot if I find writing cathartic and I think doing anything musical is cathartic to me whether it’s playing drums, playing piano or writing a song. Like, writing a song about taking a bus somewhere for a day or a song about pickles could be cathartic. But when I wrote these songs in particular, I never found it cathartic as it was just how I was feeling at the time.

I was a very hyper-active child and I struggled to focus in school. As soon as I got a drum kit when I was nine, my parents were so amazed as it was the first thing I could sit still and do for hours. They would eventually have to tell me to get off it because I wouldn’t want to stop. I then eventually got a keyboard for my twelfth birthday and I could then stay there for hours. So my parents quickly realised  that I couldn’t sit still for anything but for some reasons sounds and instruments captivated me and I could sit there for fucking hours and days without eating and be content. I’m such a nerd with it.

So definitely creating and playing is cathartic but writing songs never really mended my heart. When I wrote ‘Morning’ and ‘Waking Up Tomorrow’, I was still fucking crying the next day, the next week and the next month until Gemma came back into my life. 

TB: In contrast to these honest and vulnerable moments, there are some really up-beat and anthemic moments like ‘Killing My Time’, ‘Stupid’ and ‘Drink Too Much’. So in comparison how did you find the process of writing a song that was intended to be catchy and in your face pop? 

G: The difference in making the both of them is that when I wrote ‘Killing My Time’ and put that together, I wasn’t crying. But then when I was putting together ‘Morning’, ‘Waking Up Tomorrow’, ‘About You’ and ‘2 Million’, I was crying. I had tears running down my face. It was way more emotional and hitting the feels while ‘Stupid’ and ‘Killing My Time’ are such vibey songs. Where as with the other ones my heart would hurt as I was baring my soul, and my tears would be on the guitar or piano as I wrote them. 

‘Drink Too Much’ is actually a really old song, so I was probably crying during that one too as the original demo was written on a guitar and it’s super stripped back. 

TB: You’re hitting the road in November for your biggest Australian tour yet. So with all of the pieces of the puzzle of ‘About Us’ finally out, how are you visually, aesthetically and melodically trying to bring this show together to make sure it is elevated from your last run of shows?

G: I always have arrangements in my head that I want to explore. I found when I was doing the last show that I would start to put together new arrangements I would want to try out, but I’ve held them off for this next run of dates so I can play with them more and give people different versions, intro’s and outro’s to what they’ve seen before. 

It’s in the works at the moment but I really want a keys/synth player to join because I have so many emotional synths and piano parts that I want to actually be live. It’s just been a struggle in the past with the financial stress of adding another person to the touring cycle with flights, accomodation etc

I’m also definitely adding in some new tunes that aren’t even on ‘About Us’, which I’m SO excited for. If the world ran the way I wanted it to, I would leak all the new stuff right now but I’m not allowed to do that, I think I would be in hectic trouble *laughs*. 

TB: This year has seen you play a lot of festivals including Laneway Festival and Groovin The Moo as well as done little surprise performances with The Rubens at Splendour In The Grass. So how has doing performances like this helped you grow as a performer and help craft what you want your live show to look, feel and sound like? 

G: Playing with some of these bigger league artists has been fucking incredible and seeing how they operate, how they work and even the logistics behind the scenes. Like I’ve learnt the benefits of having a monitor tech for your inner ears. I’ve never had that and I can now see the value in having that and have been going through the budget to see if it’s something I can bring into my tour party. 

So working with these artists and seeing how they perform and what they do before they go on and off stage has been so beneficial. Like they are performing to audiences 5 times the size of mine, so it’s been great to watch what they do to maintain that because I would love to get that point one day. 

Like, hanging out with The Rubens at Splendour made me go “fuck, I would love to have that 5pm set at Splendour on the main stage”. That would be a dream come true. It’s also like good prep so that one day if it does come true I’m not going to be shitting my decks as I’ve already done it in some way. 

TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions where I’m going to ask you some questions that you just need to answer with the first thing that comes to mind…

G: I’m so bad at this but lets do it!

TB: The emoji that best describe my album ‘About Us’ is…

G: The broken heart! I feel like that is very obvious though as it’s my logo *laughs*.

TB: Most mornings I…

G: I cuddle and kiss my girlfriend Gemma. And if she’s not awake I just stare really close to her face until she wakes up and I go “HI!” and she gets angry but she thinks it’s cute so she doesn’t get too angry *laughs*.

TB: How long is the longest you’ve done that for because I feel like it’s low key creepy, but great *laughs*?

G: It’s definitely gross, obsessive and excessive *laughs* but yeah, I’m not proud of how long I’ve waited. 

TB: I wish I could…

G: Learn anything in five minutes

TB: The best song to drum to on my album is…

G: I feel like for everyone it’s the drum intro in ‘About You’. I’m always so overwhelmed and surprised by how many people air drum to it during the live set. 

TB: Pineapple on pizza is…

G: Is great! I fucking love it!

‘About Us’ is out now!

G-FLIP Australian Tour

Thursday 7 November – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide *SOLD OUT*

Friday 8 November – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide *SOLD OUT*

Saturday 9 November – Freo Social, Fremantle *SOLD OUT*

Friday 15 November – The Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne *SOLD OUT*

Saturday 16 November – The Triffid, Brisbane *SOLD OUT*

Sunday 17 November – The Triffid, Brisbane *SOLD OUT*

Thursday 21 November – Metro Theatre, Sydney

Friday 22 November – Metro Theatre, Sydney *SOLD OUT*

Thursday 28 November – The Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne

Friday 29 November – The Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne *SOLD OUT*

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