G Flip chats with Atwood Magazine about their ARIA Award-nominated, impassioned and deeply intentional sophomore album ‘DRUMMER,’ a drum-centric pop album that hits hard and leaves a lasting mark.
Stream: ‘DRUMMER’ – G Flip
Growing up, I always wished there was a pop album centered around live drums. When I was making ‘DRUMMER,’ I knew that’s what I wanted to make.
That G Flip even set out to make a drum-centric album in the first place was already a boost for drummers everywhere.
That said album debuted at #1 on the ARIA Charts was a massive affirmation of their vision and hard work; that it’s now been nominated for six awards (including Album of the Year) at this year’s ARIA Music Awards is a resounding win in itself – not just for G, but for anyone and everyone who’s ever sat behind the kit.
The oft-joked about, derided, and discarded beat-keepers get little love from the music community as it is, and while legendary drummers have risen to prominence and found cult followings in the mainstream (Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, The Who’s Keith Moon, Rush’s Neil Peart, Phil Collins, and Ringo Starr come to mind – all white males, mind you), those who have found fame are few and far between.
Melbourne’s G Flip has known these sad, unfortunate, but all-too true facts for as long as they can remember. So for their sophomore album, the longtime Atwood Magazine favorite (and two-time Editor’s Pick) set out to flip the script: To make drums the star of the show, placed front and center on a hard-hitting, dynamic, and irresistibly catchy pop album.
“Most people know me as a singer that drums, but to me, I’m a DRUMMER that sings,” G Flip tells Atwood Magazine. “I am a drummer first and never had a drummer that looked like me to look up to. Since I picked up the sticks at nine years old I’ve been dreaming of a solo pop artist whose main instrument was drums. As the years have gone by I realized that maybe that person I was dreaming of, was actually myself. So I made the record little G always wanted.”
I was excited to claim my identity as a DRUMMER and pay homage to the drums on the record.
Released August 11, 2023 via Future Classic, DRUMMER is a pop album centered around live drums.
No samples, no fake sounds from a laptop – just real, raw percussion, and lots of it!
G Flip perfectly balances moments of intimacy and tenderness with cinematic grandiosity as they spill their soul in songs that ache with percussive churn, melodic warmth, and charming grace. From the fiery snare rolls of the emotionally charged album opener “7 Days” and the shuffling beats of the heart-on-sleeve “Didn’t Mean To,” to the searing drum fills, explosive breaks, and breathtaking double bass work in “Good Enough” and closer “Made for You,” DRUMMER lives up to its name – and G Flip establishes themself not only as a leading voice in Australia’s music scene, but as a noteworthy, all-caps drummer whose talents know no bounds.
Atwood Magazine caught up with G Flip to dive into the spirited, drum-centric depths of DRUMMER. Read our interview below, and be sure to listen to this singular and stunning album in its entirety; the only thing this record really needs? More cowbell!
We’re joking, of course; with broods (“Love Hurts,” “Australia”), bangers (“Good Enough,” “Didn’t Mean To”), and everything in-between, DRUMMER is twelve tracks of pure, passionate percussive perfection.
:: connect with G Flip here ::
A CONVERSATION WITH G FLIP
Atwood Magazine: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat, G! It’s been a pleasure covering your music all these years and this album feels like the icing on the cake. How does it feel to finally have this album out in the world, after waiting so long?
G Flip: It feels great! I really enjoyed making this album but by the end, I was ready for it to be out in the world!
I don’t normally start conversations this way, but I can’t help but feel this electric intensity around the title: All caps DRUMMER. I know drums are your primary instrument; why name the album this way?
G Flip: This album is a pop album from a drummer’s perspective. I am a drummer first and never had a drummer that looked like me to look up to. I was excited to claim my identity as a DRUMMER and pay homage to the drums on the record.
Can you share a little about the story behind this record?
G Flip: The song “Real Life” almost didn’t make the album. I had the chorus of that song for a long time but couldn’t figure out the verses and then, the day the album was due, I woke up and had the verses in my head. I wrote them down and ran over to my mix engineer’s house who recorded it for me and mixed it that day. The song went to master at like 11PM the night the album was due. We got it in and I’m so glad it made the album!
It’s been three LONG years since About Us’ release in 2020. What’s your relationship with that first album like now? Does it continue to resonate with you?
G Flip: I’m still really proud of the album, but I’m also really proud of how much I’ve grown since that album came out. A lot of it does still resonate with me and I think it always will, but I’m really excited to be in this new chapter.
How does DRUMMER compare to your debut LP, in your eyes and ears? Do you see your new album as a continuation, an evolution, or something else entirely?
G Flip: DRUMMER is a definitely more mature album and my sound has evolved a lot. I’m still really proud of my first album. I made it in my bedroom, mostly alone and it really captured my life at the time. After my first album, I started working with a lot of new collaborators, I came out non-binary, I moved to LA, I really found myself. I think the new album is just another check point at where I am in my life. I think my albums will always be a continuation because they are all about me and my life and different points of my journey.
What was your vision going into this new record? Did that change over the course of recording it?
G Flip: Growing up, I always wished there was a pop album centered around live drums. When I was making DRUMMER, I knew that’s what I wanted to make. I knew I wanted to make an album that was only live instruments and no samples or fake sounds from a laptop. I played so many live instruments on this album – drums, guitar, piano, glockenspiel, etc. Playing live instruments is my favourite thing to do, so making this album was so fun for me. I’m really proud of how it turned out.
I knew I wanted to make an album that was only live instruments and no samples or fake sounds from a laptop… Playing live instruments is my favourite thing to do, so making this album was so fun for me.
How do you feel DRUMMER captures your artistry as it is in 2023?
G Flip: I’m really proud of all the live instruments I used when making this album. I was born to play instruments and that’s at the core of who I am as an artist and I think this album captures that really well.
Since your first record, you’ve been thrust - for better or worse - into various forms of public spotlight. Did that attention or recognition inform your music at all? Did it impact the creative process, or do you find you’re able to compartmentalize the noise and focus on the art, irrespective of everything else?
G Flip: I have always written about my life, so I think it does affect my creative process in some way. I have a song on the album called “Kevin” that’s about the trolls in my DMs – that’s something that has only gotten more true the more I’m in the spotlight!
Kevin wants me dead in my DMs
He’s a homophobe and he wants to
Get me arrested about my gender roles
So I’ll put on a dress, kiss some boys
And let it go, ‘cause Kevin’s got
The best advice if you didn’t know
Ahhhhhhh, I want to understand you
Trying to get inside your mind
I’m not getting through
I’m not gonna waste my time
With your point of view
I can’t understand you
– “Kevin,” G Flip
I love that you open with such a hard-hitting high with “7 Days.” Why open with this track?
G Flip: I loved the idea of starting the album with a matching snare roll. Since the record is called DRUMMER, that’s how I wanted it to start.
I found the visceral energy of “Good Enough” to be absolutely inspiring. Where did you go to channel those intense emotions in recording this song?
G Flip: “Good Enough” is a song that I’ve had for a really long time, and it’s gone through many iterations. The finished recording was made in my home/studio in LA. I really wanted to start the song in the simplest form piano and vocal and then by the end I wanted the song to be in the absolute fullest form. That contour of a relationship that starts out easy and simple but then falls into such destruction to a crash ending was what I wanted to achieve sonically with this song.
Two of my favorite songs appear on the record’s back half - “Love Hurts” and “Didn’t Mean To.” I love the unfiltered, unflinching nature of both songs; they’re so raw and yet so polished, and I feel they’re also two of your most human moments on a record full of aching. Do you mind sharing more about these songs?
G Flip: Thanks for saying that mate! That’s really nice. Those songs aren’t picked as favourites that often!
“Love Hurts” was a song I wrote a while ago. I was going through a breakup at the time and I wrote the chorus lyrics and melody in the bathroom mid break up, a few days later took out my voice notes of this “love hurts” idea to Tommy Little and we finished the song.
“Didn’t Mean To” is one of my favourites on the album because of the picaro shuffle. I built all the songs in the album around different drum grooves. This groove is famous as being the groove from Toto’s “Rosanna.”
I admittedly shared quite a few of mine, but do you have any definitive favorites or personal highlights off this record?
G Flip: I am really proud of all the songs on the record, but my favourite is definitely “The Worst Person Alive.” That song is always stuck in my head and I think that’s a sign of a good song. I really like the hook of that song – “last year I was the love of your life, now I’m the worst person alive.”
What do you hope listeners take away from DRUMMER? What have you taken away from creating it and now putting it out?
G Flip: I hope people just take what they need from it – whether it be comfort in heartbreak or celebrating love, I just hope people have a good time when they listen to it.
Lastly, in the interest of paying it forward, who are you listening to these days that you’d recommend to our readers?
G Flip: I really love Reneé Rapp, Dominic Fike, Paramore. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Taylor Swift, going through all her records.
It’s been such a pleasure covering your music over the years. Thank you so much G!
G Flip: Thanks mate!
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Stream: “Be Your Man” – G Flip
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© Callum Walker Hutchinson
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