An Interview with Flipturn

On February 12, 2023 Florida-based band Flipturn made a stop in Pittsburgh, PA at the Thunderbird Cafe and Music Hall. Now on the second leg of their Shadowglow Tour, Flipturn was able to completely sell-out this beloved Pittsburgh venue after previously playing there as an opener in the beginning of 2022. Ella and Madalyn were ecstatic to finally see them again, and were thrilled that they both got the opportunity to cover this show. Below are some of Madalyn’s photos from the night, along with an interview done by Ella with the whole band. 

  • What is the best concert that you have ever seen, and what made it so good?

Madeline- Actually, both of the concerts that were some of my favorites were from the band Phoenix. One of the shows we got to see with the whole band spontaneously. We were going to Nashville to pick up our lighting rig to rehearse with for the first time, and we had a day off when we got there. So, we said “let’s see if there are any concerts in the area,” and when we looked we were like “holy crap, no freaking way that Phoenix is playing!” We have always talked about wanting to see them together, so we bought tickets immediately and went to their show at the Ryman. It was so amazing. Incredible. 

Devon: That show was magical, and it happened last minute so the spontaneity made it extra special. 

  • At what point did you have the realization that it was time to pursue Flipturn full-time? Was there a specific stepping stone that led you to think “this is what I want to do now”

Dillon- We started our junior year of college, and that was when we were heavily balancing school and the band. We started to gain some traction and we were like “we gotta put 100% into this.” Some of us decided to switch to online school and some of us dropped out completely. We were like, “alright, let’s give it everything we got.” We tried to tour as much as we could, and it’s kind of been that mindset ever since, really. 

  • On this tour, what has been one of your favorite memories that you have made together? 

Madeline- One of our favorite memories so far was when we stayed with our friend Charlie who is in the band The Brazen Youth. We’ve toured with them a couple times, and we’ve gotten really close. We stayed with him at his family’s place in Connecticut, and that’s where The Brazen Youth writes all of their music and everything, so it was really special that he let us all crash there. It was on a farm with a bunch of animals too!

  • After listening to your most recent album Shadowglow, I heard a level of complexity in the music that is very impressive and uncommon. What is your background in regards to learning how to play your instrument, and how did you learn this kind of songwriting? Are you self-taught, or did you have someone to mentor you/take classes, etc?

Devon (drums)- Both of my parents are musicians, and my dad’s a drummer, so I naturally took after that. I didn’t really let him teach me though– I was too stubborn. So, I am self-taught. Eventually I got good enough to start playing at church, and then that built up my chops because they had me on a metronome and playing along with tracks. It raised my standard of excellence and what I needed to bring to the table. I did that for some years and it helped. I think coming out of that and transitioning to this world and playing shows outside of that atmosphere really formed everything.

Flipturn drummer, Devon VonBalson

Dillon (vocals/guitar)- My mom got me into music. She’s an Irish Fiddle player, and when I was in 5th or 6th grade, we taught each other how to play the guitar. It was just something that happened because her friend gave her a guitar to use, and we were like “oh lets try to learn this!” We also started writing music at that time. She was going through a divorce so it was an emotional time for her, and then at the same time I was also starting to get into writing based off of some of my favorite artists. 

Dillon Basse, Flipturn

Tristan (lead guitar)- I was a band kid, and I played saxophone. I played some guitar too, but I hated it at first. But yeah, I was a band kid all throughout middle school and highschool. Then I met Mitch in college doing music. I think it really taught me a lot. No more saxophone, though!

Tristan Duncan, Flipturn

Madeline (bass)- I started out also playing saxophone in middle school, and I got my first bass in 8th grade. I just wanted to play songs that I liked, and learn different bass lines. I am self-taught (on the bass). We started the band in high school our senior year, and basically were playing super casually and learning as we went.

Madeline Jarman, Flipturn

Mitch (keyboard/guitar)- I started playing guitar when I was 8, and then in highschool I had a mentor named Mike Walker and he was phenomenal and taught me a lot. In college, I had a mentor named James Hogan who is a very very good guitar player. They taught me a lot I know, and I took that information and then continued to learn even more. Basically all of my ideas come from them, they’re amazing people. Also, I was self-taught on the keyboard.

Mitch Fountain, Flipturn
  • What is the backstory of Jalapeño the Tour Chicken? 

Mitch: A year and a half ago, we picked him up in Tallahassee for $5 in a gas station called Busy Bee and then named him later in Arizona, I think. While in Arizona, we had the idea to create an Instagram for him. His personality kind of developed as people interacted with him, and now he’s like this murderous chicken and you don’t want to get in his way. People have been making fan-art of him and t-shirts. We have also sold shirts with his face on it, and they are online!

Dillon: There were people that came to shows and didn’t know about the chicken but still bought the T-shirts, which we thought was amazing.

Mitch: He’s the richest rubber chicken in the world. I think he has the most net worth that any rubber chicken has ever accumulated. But yeah, he’s an asshole.

Jalapeño The Tour Chicken

Be sure to check out Flipturn on all streaming platforms, and see if they will be coming to a city near you on their Shadowglow Tour! Flipturn is definitely an outstanding, talented band that you will absolutely love. 

Photos by Madalyn Schaller and words by Ella Donovan. If reposting, tag @almostfamouszine.

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