Splendour Interview: G-Flip (Australia) reflects on working with Sounds Australia to debut her live show & “the best months of my entire life”

Few artists, be they Australian or otherwise, have ever had quite a whirlwind and eventful five months as Melbourne’s G-Flip, who burst onto the scene with “About You”, just a few weeks before making her international live debut at the Twitter / Sounds Australia Party at SXSW. And now this weekend she played to her biggest crowd ever at Splendour in the Grass, and playing support to Superorganism.

While at the festival, we sat down for the first time with the artist to reflect on the last five months, everything that’s led to it, and we look at how her team have worked with the Australian Music Export program Sounds Australia to help launch her internationally – something no artist has ever done before to this extent.

G-Flip, just off the stage, huge reception, pretty much kicking off day two, how you feeling?

I’m feeling good. Yeah, it’s been amazing, and, yeah, this backstage area is unbelievable. It looks like my dream palace, and it’s incredible. This is my first Splendour, so I am very excited.

Have you ever attended even as punter?

No, I haven’t. I’ve always spent all my money on gear, so I’ve never had enough money to do cool stuff, so I’m here and this is my first Splendour. I’m losing my Splendy virginity and it’s awesome, and I’m keen to … I actually kind of want to run around and actual grounds and see the grounds, so I think I might do that.

Are you kicking round for the whole weekend?

Unfortunately, I have to fly to Melbourne tomorrow. I wish I was. I think if I ever play again, I’m going to ask if I can have no shows around, because I would love to soak it up fully.

You’re doing shows with Superorganism alongside of this.

Yeah, tomorrow I’m doing one in Melbourne, and then Tuesday in Sydney, and they’re so fun. I stalk them (online) and they wear cool outfits and they just look like a fun time. So I’m trying to look out to meet them and just tackle them, but I haven’t seen them yet.

Well, they’re literally on the stage as we’re sitting here, so that might explain it.

Really?

Yeah.

I was thinking I haven’t seen any of them so far, and I’m like-

There’s a lot of them.

Yeah, there’s like eight of them. I’m really keen to meet them, I’m waiting for it. But they’re on the stage, so …

There’s a few Kiwis amongst them as well, so you’ll blend right in.

They’re a mix of everywhere, so that’ll be fun.

They started as an internet project, where they traded-

Yeah, they traded guitar lines and melodies and, yeah, producing little things. It’s a interesting way to form a band.

And now they’re all living together in a house in London.

I love it.

It’s great. They were playing Great Escape as well. You, obviously, have been running around the world this year. I got to see your first ever show at SXSW, through to your show in London a couple of months later, and it’s been great seeing you really just shake off those initial nerves and just actually develop the show on the stage for everyone to see. How much work went into the show before we saw it at SXSW? 

Yes. A lot of work. I’d been working on this project for a long time before Triple J Unearthed found me, since the start of 2017. I’ve been putting it together since then, and putting the show together in my head, and then when it came to show time, I actually only got about four weeks notice to try and put a show together, because I was going to play on the Future Classic stage at SXSW. So we only had that kind of show locked in, and then so I was just going to play my first show there, just one show. So I had four weeks to get my stuff together, figure out what I’m going to do. I called up some of my best mates, called my best mate Toothpick to come and help me, and he plays with me, he helped me put the show together.

And then we released “About You”, and then it went and got a little bit more intense than I’d anticipated. So then I had more shows at SXSW, then eight shows, and then everything really sky rocketed from there, and it’s been an amazing few months for me, the best months of my entire life.

Eight shows at SXSW is pretty nuts, but you seemed like you were just embracing it. You’d been before so you knew what you were in for.

Yeah, I’d been to SXSW before, because I used to just play drums before I started G-Flip my solo project. I was just a drummer in bands and a session drummer and a fill in drummer, so I’d gained a lot of experience on the road and playing shows, and I’d already played SXSW, but, yeah, SXSW was actually my first show for G-Flip the project. So it was very overwhelming and I cried and it was full on.

Yes I remember! And the reason I bring it up is because when you’re told you’re doing eight shows at SXSW, you knew what you were getting yourself in for.

I definitely knew. There’s 10 minute or 15 minute changeovers, and I’ve built this LED drum kit, which gives a little bit more work to the job, and setting everything up, and, also, just not playing with the gear that we had, or the backing tracks and in-ears, and the whole spectacle of it. We never really toured it before or ran it before, so we were … It’s like we’re running up a hill while packing our bags, like, we’re legit. And everyone’s literally watching me as I’m learning. I’m not even a trained singer, so I’m learning, in every show I’m learning more and more, and it’s everyone’s watching me learn.

Do you think you’d prefer that though to no-one watching you do that?

Oh, yeah, for sure, for sure. I’ve played in many bands through the years where you’d rock up and no-one is really in the venue, so it’s amazing that I rocked up today and there was thousands there, and that’s why I got very emotional here at Splendour, so, yeah.

In the midst of it all, too, you’ve become this little kind of a case study, I think, for an act really pushing overseas first and using Sounds Australia’s export opportunities. How much has Sounds Australia played a part in your first couple of months on the road… from playing in London to The Great Escape, and of course your debut at SXSW?

Yeah, they’ve been amazing for letting me play on their showcases overseas. It’s really humbling that they’d even trust me to play their shows, because I haven’t actually played that many shows, so it’s like you’re literally just trusting that I can pull my stuff together, so…

“You don’t know if I’m any good!?”

Yeah, yeah. They’ve been amazing to me, and just to allow me that opportunity to even play in front of new crowds around the world. Right now, with how social media is and streaming, the world is your stage, so it’s important to hit key areas if you want to have a growing fan base and be able to do this for a job.

This is my job, so I need to be able to make money from it, and I’d love to just live off doing this for the rest of my life, so it’s important that I, if there’s any fans or if we think that I can gain fans anywhere around the world, that I get to those spots and try put me in front of as many audiences as we can.

So based on what you did overseas, are you going to be heading back over there? What’s the plans for overseas? 

I’m actually going back to the UK and Europe to do a tour in October, and I’m playing at Pitchfork Paris on the 1st of November.

Oh, cool.

So, yeah, I’m going back there to play shows, which I’m super stoked about.

I’d imagine that probably came out of the Great Escape?

Yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah, because I went over to The Great Escape, more opportunities rose for me, so I get to go back over there, and get to go to places I’ve never been before, like Madrid and Milan and stuff. First of all, I’m like, “Who the hell is going to come to my show?” I don’t have any family members there. I have a big family, so most shows around the world I have family members that have rocked up.

One of my family members here is a cop, so she was side of stage with all the coppers. People thought I was going to get arrested or something when I got of the stage, everyone was like, “What’s going on?” But, yeah, so that European/UK tour coming up is going to be heaps of fun and I can’t wait to go see new cities and hang out elsewhere.

And will there be a new single by then, do you think? 

Yeah, I definitely want to release some more music. I’ve only got two songs in the world, so it’s really funny. I feel bad for all the people that come to my shows, because they only have two songs to sing along to…

I notice your family members know every word to every song though!

*laughs* They hear every single song and as soon I write or produce a new song, they’re the first to hear, and then they give their judgement , but they always say everything’s amazing, so I actually have no idea if any of the stuff is good or not.

Well, so far they have been accurate, so, you know…

Hopefully, yes. Yeah. But yeah, what month is it? July? I’m hoping to release another single in the next coming months. I’m tossing up between a couple of track… Because I write a lot of emotional songs that are a little bit slower tempo, more relationship, sad kind of songs.

I’ve noticed that you feel like you have to apologise on stage when you get into those songs.

I know, I know.

When you really don’t.

I know. I’m like, “So, this one’s probably a bit slower,” and I feel like people might get bored, but I feel like I kind of want to release a more emotional song, because I feel like in my group of songs in my song writing and all the tracks that I’ve created, I’ve got a lot of emotional songs, so I feel like I should share one of them so people can see my art in my work on the broad spectrum.

So, yeah, so I’m thinking of releasing a more emotional one, which, probably, I’m thinking people might not like as much, but it’s kind of what I want to do… so we’ll see. I’ve got many songs to play around with at the moment, so it’s just getting them mixed and mastered and sounding good for radio, and then just working out what the best move is to do next. But I’m really excited to release more stuff. I can’t believe the response I’ve had so far. It’s been pretty insane.

You’ve set the bar pretty high for yourself.

I know.

There are worse problems to have.

Yeah. I can’t believe just how much people like the tunes. I can’t believe people know the words. People were singing along today, like fully singing along. It’s the first time today that I’ve heard full audience sing back. I played a festival yesterday and these two days have been…

Was that Spin Off in Adelaide?

Yeah, Spin Off.

How was that? I’ve never gone down for that, because I’m always here.

It was awesome. It’s like a little mini festival. It’s like a tiny little Splendour, and the crowd was pretty loud there, but, today, the crowd was triple the size, just so much bigger, so it was amazing.

It’s very exciting. I mean, it’s going to be really, really cool to see what happens for you over the next year. I mean, it seems like the sky’s the limit for you, which must be a humbling feeling, but also terrifying, knowing you can almost do whatever you want.

Yeah. It’s cool. I’m very like a perfectionist, and I think a lot. I almost, probably, think too much, and I think I probably work too much, and I feel like sometimes I need to just have a breather and have a bit more fun, which I’m planning to do tonight. I’ve got a whole room full of beers over there.

Sick.

For free. It’s insane.

That’s the dream, isn’t it?

I know. I walked in, full beer. There was even juice, cut up carrots and cucumber, except the cucumber, I’m pretty sure, was zucchini, so I got a bit of a fright there. But, yeah, no, it’s awesome. It’s really, really awesome. I’ve never had a cool backstage area before, so …

This is a pretty cool one.

I know. After the next show, I’m going to have a few drinks. I’m doing a little guest surprise set with Carmada / LDRU.

Oh, cool.

Yeah. So I’m getting up to sing “Keeping Score”, and then after that, party G-Flip comes out, and I’m going to tear up this backstage area.

Well, I’ll be right there with you I think. We’ll all sing along to some Vampire Weekend a little later.

Yes, definitely. I really want to see them playing again. I’m keen for that.

G-Flip plays with Superorganism tonight at the Metro Theatre in Sydney and will be touring the UK again in October. Follow her on Facebook.

Headline Photo: G-Flip playing her first ever show at SXSW’s Twitter House with Sounds Australia. Photo by Larry Heath.