Time for another Indie Minded interview! This time around, we sat down with indie blues/rock band Flavia & The Red, whom we recently posted a spotlight on here on the site. We talk about success, Frank Ocean and some fun tour stories! So, sit back and relax…. and get to know Flavia & The Red!
Tell us a little about your band, how you got started and how long you’ve been together.
It all started with Flavia 2 and a half years ago. We’ve had various lineup changes that led up to this particular group, which we now hope will never change! However, this official lineup has been together a little less than a year. Max Benson (bassist) was last to join and how he came to be a part of this was an act of pure fate. We competed in a nationwide battle of the bands competition last year called “Land the big gig” and our band was one of 3 finalists to get to perform at Summerfest in Wisconsin, the world’s largest music festival on one of their main stages. Max was in the competing band (a Chicago native) and months later when we were looking for a new bassist a friend of a friend referred him to us saying he had just moved to LA! Just a weird and amazing coincidence.
How would you describe your sound?
A fusion of Soul/Pop/Rock with hints of R&B.
What was the first song you learned? One of my old original tunes called “The Man in the Sombrero”.
Lets just say we pretty much just laugh about that tune now. It was absurdly hilarious.
Do you write your own songs?
Yes we write all our own music. Flavia writes most of it, and then we arrange it together but for this new album we’ve all started writing together a lot more.
Where do you gather your inspiration?
Life. Experiences. Love. Relationships. Nature. Travel. Everything really, that’s the beauty of being an artist, the world IS your oyster!
What is your usual songwriting process?
It really depends, sometimes lyrics will come to me, and I’ll write chords around it; sometimes I’ll come up with a progression on piano or guitar and then write lyrics to it; sometimes I’m sitting in my car listening to an artist and I just feel really inspired by their music, it’ll trigger an emotion in me and I get an awesome idea. There’s really no one process.
Who do you consider your greatest influences?
Between the 5 of us we have such different influences, that’s what makes our sound so eclectic I feel. Amy Winehouse was definitely a huge inspiration to me personally. I loved her music and how she broke boundaries and didn’t follow the norm. She blended various styles of music to create her own unique soothing, funky sound.
Who would you love to collaborate with – dead or alive?
I love Frank Ocean, the whole band has been on an Ocean kick. His beats are so fresh. He’s one of the artists that I’ll get that lightbulb moment with when I’m driving in my car, I love him.
If we were to take a peek into your iPod, who would we find to be in there as your greatest guilty pleasure?
Rihanna. Mariah Carey. Backstreet Boys. Spice Girls.
Do you feel as though it’s important to have a strong social media presence to interact with your fans?
Absolutely. It’s really important to adapt to the times and stay current in order to make your music heard. Right now social media is the big thing and it’s a great way to promote yourself. Today’s generation is lucky that we can do it DIY. We just finished up our 1st national tour and social media allowed us to promote it and connect with fans in areas we had never visited before.
Do you find it to be a struggle to get the public to support “live music” and indie artists?
Yes, especially in LA. There are so many talented bands, and so many music venues that there’s no way to support all the indie artists here the way they do in certain towns and cities once you play out. Plus the fact that everything is so spread out, and parking is a rarity makes it that much more inconvenient for people. Whenever we go on tour the people are so enthusiastic and supportive. Everyone is dancing and loving it, and buys our merch and music and supports us in every way they can. They’re also extremely present on our social media pages.
If you had to perform just ONE of your songs live for the rest of your career, which song (to date) would you pick, meaning which is your favorite song to perform?
Feel My Body. It’s one of our new tunes that’s going to be on our upcoming EP. It’s just so much fun to play. We have this jam rock out section at the end that gets everyone dancing, it’s different every time we do it so it keeps it exciting and fresh.
Where’s the farthest from home that you’ve played?
I grew up in Europe in Dublin, Ireland and Florence, Italy so I played a lot of music there, but as a band the furthest we’ve gone is the Mid-West. We spent a lot of time on our tour out there since we performed there last year at Summerfest, and since Max is from Chi-town.
You’ve recently wrapped up a tour, have any cool stories you want to share with us?
Ah so many stories. Where to begin? We met such interesting characters on the road, that was pretty magical for us, getting to touch the lives of these people through our music. Lets see we’ve got Pirate Jim, Bob the Beard, Pilot Jim, Ira…the list goes on, and the stories are endless! However, one horribly unfortunate event (for Max), yet probably one of the funniest things: one day when we were hiking in Sedona, AZ Max fell back and sat on a cactus….Isaac pulled each and every one of them out of his bare a**. From then on…we called him Cact-Ass. He’ll kill me for telling that one! HA!
What did you do before you got into the music business?
Honestly, I’ve always been in the music world. It’s all I ever wanted to do!
As an artist, how would you define success?
I think success is relative. As an artist and a business woman I am always setting new goals for myself. Once I reach those goals, that is success, and then I create new, bigger goals that I work towards. I don’t think you ever “arrive”, you’re constantly growing and becoming a better musician, performer, and writer.
What can we expect from you in 2014?
2014 is going to be epic. New album. Tours. Festivals. Opening for bigger bands, sharing tour bills. Writing a lot, living a lot. Connecting with fans and people along the way, it’s going to be fantastical.
We want to thank Flavia & The Red for taking time out of their busy schedules to sit down and talk with us. It was great getting to know them a little better, and I hope you feel the same way!
Now, get on over and keep up with them at the following links: