Meet flipturn

flipturn Talks Favorite Rider Snacks, Crowd Surfing Pineapples and Their Biggest Tour to Date

by Conrad Centeno

I’m waiting around with my buddy Steve at Arrows Aim Records for the band, flipturn, to arrive. They punctually stroll in with a coolness reserved for old souls. You can immediately tell they want to delve into the stacks of records before the interview and find their favorite artists. They are all college age, a few attend The University of Florida, but are shouting out classic bands with excitement like Patti Smith, Fleetwood Mac, and Queen. I heard all the buzz over these guys when they were coming up as a high school garage band in Fernandina Beach, but shrugged off the local hype. They have graduated from that and have taken it to the next level with their packed performances and their magical sophomore album, Citrona (which I listen to on repeat). Wow, I should have been paying more attention back then.

The band consists of Dillon Basse (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Tristan Duncan (lead guitar), Madeline Jarman (bass), Taylor Allen (Synth) and Adrian Walker (drums). They are burning up the local music scene and at the helm is Basse who is a vocal tour de force whose fluctuations scream hints of Morrissey and Brandon Flowers. We get up close and personal between the store’s jazz records and CD collection for some fun questions and this was the result:

Q: So the name flipturn is a reference to swimming jargon, let’s get this out of the way, who has the fastest flipturn here?

Madeline: [raising hand and everybody pointing at her] I’m the swimmer. I swam from 6 years old until high school.

Dillon: I attempted it.

Q: You performed at Gasparilla Music Festival recently, how was that experience?

Taylor: Sweaty, but good. There was so much boxed water.

Dillon: Yes, Toro y Moi was amazing! He was way better live after seeing the setup he had in person. It also sounded different live, which I liked.

Madeline: He (Toro y Moi) had a really good stage presence especially at the end of his set. He seemed super cool.

Q: So, Madeline was mentioning the La Croix supply backstage, as you continue to do bigger shows and have riders, what will your requests be?

Dillon: A whole selection of Mike and Ikes.

Adrian: I would say Munchos, those cheap chips you get at a gas station.

Tristan: Reeses Cups

Taylor: Unlimited ice coffee. That could be dangerous.

Madeline: I’d say guacamole and chips.

Q: When you play to crowds, I’ve seen fans sing your songs word for word, practically screaming. Has there been an instance when someone shouted out something at you on stage that you remembered or have you had a unique fan experience at one of your shows?

Dillon: One of our close friends, Christian Pittman who’s in the band Miles from London, loves our song Nickel. When we get to play together, he loves to get up on stage and get the crowd going during the chanting part: “So I’ll give it all up for a bottle of wine, Two feet tall, three inches wide.”

Madeline: At a house show one time someone was throwing a pineapple around.

Taylor: [chiming in] And there was a girl crowd surfing across and the ceiling fan was going while the pineapple was being tossed around. [laughter]

Q: What’s your favorite show you’ve played to date?

Adrian: Ive still got to give it up to Okeechobee Music Festival. That’s always going to be one of my favorites because it was our first big festival and what we had to go through to get there. It also required so much support and the way we got there (being selected among 3,000 bands) made it more special.

Dillon: Some of our early shows where the crowd was smaller and more intimate like at Raindogs in Jacksonville. It’s more memorable because the crowd is this close. [Points at Tristan who is just a few inches away].

Taylor: I really loved the Heartwood Music Festival because we got to play with all of our friends and the crowd there really reciprocated with their energy.

Madeline: I really liked the show at 1904 Music Hall. The energy was awesome and there were 6 bands in the lineup. The line went around the block and it was sold out.

Taylor: Yeah, everybody that works there was super cool.

Tristan: Last year we played a house show in a basement in West Philly. The ceiling was 6 ft maybe. It was like being in a small chamber almost.

Madeline: yeah, there were Christmas lights all on the ceiling so it felt like you were upside down and in a scene from Stranger Things.

Q: What’s your favorite song to perform live?

Madeline: I like Six Below because I enjoy the breakdown at the end where we all get to jam out.

Adrian: I like Nickel because of the crowd interaction towards the end with the chanting, that’s really fun to do.

Dillon: It’s hard to pick because I like them all. August with the right energy behind it can be the best feeling, for sure.

Tristan: For me, it changes all the time.

Q: Do you have a pre-show ritual?

Madeline: Sometimes we all paint our nails. It depends on how much time we have.

Dillon: My pre-show ritual is hyperventilating. [laughs}

Taylor: I think we do a good job of calming each other down except when Dillon has a coffee before the show. [laughs]

Q: What’s your songwriting process?

Dillon: We typically collaborate from jamming and it just comes together naturally. Tristan will come up with a riff and we will all build off of that. Then if we all like it, we will give it some structure.

Q: Who are your musical inspirations?

Adrian: Neil Peart from Rush because of his approach to the drums and John Bonham because he would take rhythms that should not have worked but he made it work.

Dillon: My favorite artist is Damien Rice but also bands like Phoenix and Two Door Cinema Club.

Tristan: I’m mainly influenced by jazz and R&B.

Madeline: I grew up to listening to Bombay Bicycle Club and also The Cure, my parents shared that with me.

Taylor: I would say Patti Smith, not only for her musicianship but for her stage presence.

Q: I love your shout-outs to Fernandina Beach, FL by naming your album ‘Citrona’ (a local road that their high school was on) as well as other local mentions like Fletcher and Jasmine. If I was a tourist for a day there, what’s one thing you recommend that I do or try?

Dillon: Go to the Green Turtle. It’s one of the coolest places on the island.

Adrian: Salty Pelican rocks and their fries are so good.

Madeline: Fancy Sushi. Oh, and Tastees!

Tristan: Nana Teresa’s and their chocolate torte.

Dillon: Tristan gets a cookie wherever he goes. [laughter]

Q: You are about to embark on your largest tour to date, The Oh, To Be Young Tour, kicking off March 21 st in Tampa and covering 18 cities. Who helped you book this tour and which cities are you looking forward to?

All: Nashville!!! [In unison]

Tristan: Burlington, Vermont

Madeline: Our booking agent with Vandal Artists set up the whole tour.

Dillon: Also, Asbury Park, The Saint. I’m very excited about that one.

Q: What’s next for flipturn?

Dillon: We are currently working on and fine tuning our new music so when we get into the studio, we will know exactly what we want. On some of our last projects, we always wondered what if we did this differently or that differently. For this next album, we want it to be our absolute best stuff.

Madeline: It will probably be a new single released first.

It’s the end of the interview and the band sifts through the records and makes a purchase before they depart. They remind me that their Gainesville March 28 th show at The Atlantic also coincides with Tristan’s birthday of which Tristan jokes, “I hit my peak at 21.” In my opinion, flipturn is not anywhere close to hitting their peak. I look forward to watching them become one of Gainesville’s next breakout bands.

dave kosciolek