Flipturn, a band from Fernandina Beach, Florida. The band consists of Dillon Basse (lead vocals), Tristan Duncan (lead guitar), Madeline Jarman (bass), Mitch Fountain (synth), and Devon VonBalson (drums). They make dreamy indie rock music with magnetic vocals by Basse. With over 600k monthly listeners on Spotify, Flipturn has changed the indie rock scene and has new music coming out later this year.
I got the opportunity to speak with the group before they arrived at Treefort festival in Boise about their upcoming released music and their music as a group.
Ashlyn Taylor: So, I know you all started out in a garage in Florida. Were you all already friends in high school? What’s the whole story behind how Flipturn came to be?
Madeline: So, um, Tristan, Dillon and I all went to the same high school, and they (Devon and Mitch) came on a couple of years later, but I’ve known Tristan since fourth grade, so we’ve been in each other’s life for a long time, and Dillon moved to our town in ninth grade in high school. So, we met through mutual friends, and then our senior year is when we all became tighter. Y’all weren’t that close when we started the band (Tristan and Dillon), but Tristan and I were talking and were just like, let’s do this, let’s just see if we can jam and like start a band or something. And I was like “I know Dillon, he can sing”, so we just reached out to him, and we came to be that way. But yeah, we went to the same high school, us three (Madeline, Tristan, Dillon).
Mitch: I knew Tristan in college
Tristan: Yeah, we met in music school at UnF, and we had a mutual hatred for it. *laughter*
Mitch: Shoutout to the guitar teacher, James was our favorite part, but other than that we didn’t really like it that much.
Devon: And then Mitch and I met through Instagram, he literally popped up on my explore page, like it was some guitar shredding video, and I was like “Oh my god, he’s local, I gotta like, collab with him”, so we became buddies that way. And then after Mitch hopped on when the seat opened up for drums, he hit me up, so, yeah.
AT: If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing right now?
Mitch: Dead, I don’t know *laughter*
Dillon: Probably still this, I’d probably still be playing music.
Madeline: Or like, working in music. That’s what my goal was growing up, was like, if the band didn’t come to be, I was looking at programs for music business, and looking at schools that had music business programs, so I knew I wanted to be in music somehow because I loved it so much.
Devon: I think that’s like why we all work together well, we all have this love for the industry and all the people involved, and we one way or another would be doing something in this industry, whether that’s playing on the stage or producing, or you know, maybe artist management, anything we can do, so. I think we’d still be in it somehow; you know.
AT: Who are your biggest inspirations behind your music?
Dillon: It varies actually. Our sound comes from all of us having so many different backgrounds.
Mitch: But what’s like, a conglomerate answer?
Devon: I’d say generally, we all really like Radiohead and Phoenix a lot. Big Thief
AT: would you say there is like an era of music specifically that really just hits home for you?
Dillon: I would say that, that one time in music where it was like alternative music, and it was like, really cool.
Madeline: Like the 2010’s
Mitch: Two Door Cinema Club, Phoenix
Dillon: When Walk the Moon was good, Passion Pit
Devon: When Imagine Dragons was also good
Dillon: Vampire Weekend, like that whole, like 2010 to 20…more like 2008 to 2010. because you had MGMT, M83, that section, that time was so good.
Madeline: And also like, 80’s new wave, but I think it’s probably because like that was such a developmental time, I guess, when you’re growing up, because as a kid, in high school, you’re kinda like finding yourself, and like finding what you like, and your own thing. Those songs had a big impact on us and our taste I think.
AT: Whats been the best or funniest fan experience you’ve had?
Dillon: Wait can we talk about jelloman?
Madeline: Well yesterday, we were at South by Southwest and we’re about to play a show and someone’s like “We wanna video you, we have a surprise for you, turn around and see it” and we were like “Okay…”. “Act surprised!” We had like no idea what to expect, this guy comes up on a hoverboard carrying this big sign that says Flipturn with a bunch of jello shots spelling out our name. We weren’t super surprised, but he was really nice, and I’m wearing the shirt he gave me.
Tristan: His name was Paul Vile, he is Kurt Vile’s brother.
Madeline: So yeah, that was really cool, and then another fan experience that was great, at our show in Connecticut, this girl came and she made this shirt for, haha, we have this tour chicken, his name is Jalapeño, he’s somewhere, he’s like a rubber chicken, he has an Instagram, and so I guess she’s a fan of our chicken, and she made a shirt that said I heart Jalapeño and a big picture of him. So look up our Instagram for him.
AT: I have so many more questions about Jalapeño.
Mitch: Well let’s go! We got the answers
AT: How did Jalapeño become the honorary member of Flipturn?
Mitch: He’s the founding member
Mitch: Oh there he is, he’s talking to you
Madeline: So basically, we found him at a gas station, and we got it and we were like on the way to the very first day of a past tour, and we were like “Oh my gosh, this is like so annoying” at like 3am. but then we fell in love with him, and now we have an emotional attachment to him. we lost him for like 40 minutes and it was like the worst day ever, but we found him.
AT: if you could collab with any music artist, who would it be and why?
Madeline: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, um that would be cool, or, Tame Impala, that’d be really cool, um, something that’s like, different from our sound, I think that would create something neat.
Mitch: I say Daft Punk and Phoenix. Anything electronic, I love sound design, so.
Devon: There’s this band called Joywave that I really like, and I can’t remember the singers name but he’s a really crazy dude
Tristan: With the mustache
Devon: Yeah! the mustache guy with glasses. I feel like he would be really fun to work with, yeah. He’s like the opposite side of the spectrum from where we’re at, like in the indie scene, I think.
[there was a spider in the car, Mitch thankfully killed it, very horrifying experience for band members]
AT: What do you feel is the best song you’ve ever released and why?
Tristan: Probably can say after March 25th!
Dillon: I mean right now, up to this point, personally, I’d say our live version of Did I Love You on AudioTree, um, that’s, I guess something I’m proud of that we’ve released. It’s not our most popular but I think it is our most dynamic and it’s my favorite song to play.
Madeline: Yeah, I agree, that one’s really fun. I think, I guess another song is honestly August because it is our most popular song we’ve released and its really helped push us to places that you know, we’ve never thought we’d be and it’s helping us continue to grow. It’s given us a lot of opportunities and yeah, that one’s also super fun to play live. I’m proud of that one. I remember when we wrote it and we were like “this is great”.
Tristan: That’s the first song we talked about when I met you
Mitch: Yeah, it was the first song I listened to.
AT: Since KZUU is a non-commercial music station, who would you say are some of your favorite non-commercial or smaller artists?
Madeline: Yeah, The Brazen Youth, who I mentioned earlier, they’re great.
Devon: Hotel Fiction is really good, we love Hotel Fiction. I like this group called Mock Orange, they’re kinda slept on, they’ve been in the game for a minute and I just- I don’t know, that’s a band that I’m super inspired by, as far as like, part writing and vibes for songs, so, I like them a lot. would Bobby Kid fall into that category as well?
Devon: Bobby Kid for sure.
Dillon: Oh, also uh, some major love to Teal Peel.
Dillon: Go check out Teal Peal, they’re up-and-coming and its fire.
AT: What advice would you give to other high schoolers who are wanting to join the music scene?
Madeline: So advice I would give- because that’s really cool, that’s when we started the band, so, um, just create anything that feels good to you. Don’t try and fit into a mold, play, just have fun. We started by literally just playing covers and learning them by ear, pretty much. Surrounding yourself with good people and building your community is huge too, like having a great supportive friend group and people around you that wanna push you to become better and that love you and will support you no matter what. That’s always great. Yeah, do it and have fun, be confident, don’t care what other people think, because I know when I was in high school I was nervous to wear my doc martens because no one was wearing doc martens in high school, and I was like I’m going to look edgier and different, but they were like my favorite shoes, and I’m like “Why didn’t I wear them?” and stuff, that’s a small example, but like, applying that to music, do whatever you want. nobody cares and do what makes you feel good.
Tristan: Just have fun!
Devon: A great way to build that community is to play as much as possible, like, in local bars or DIY venues, or even house parties and stuff, I’d say just play as much as possible, say yes to everything. The more you continue to put yourself out there, you build that community, you bring your friends out, and they bring their friends, and it continues to grow from there, so you can have a strong home-base family community to start from, and grow out from, that’s the way to do it.
AT: You guys have a new single coming out next week! does this mean we can look forward to a new album later this year? what’s the next big thing for Flipturn?
Everyone: Yeah!! Yes, we’re stoked.
Madeline: Yeah, and a bunch of singles and stuff that we’re gonna be releasing this year, so it’s the first of many things to come for this year. We have lots of festivals, a music video coming out as well with the single, festivals this summer, gonna be touring again in the fall, touring to support the album. you can probably find us anywhere, we’ll probably be there sometime this year.
Check out their latest single below!