When G Flip’s breakout single, About You, dropped in 2018, it appeared to be the start of her story. For audiences around the world, this talented bedroom producer and skilful multi-instrumentalist had emerged from nowhere with a fresh take on indie-pop that made them sit up and take notice.
But behind the scenes, G Flip, (aka Georgia Flipo) was drafting the final chapter of a story years in the making.
On About Us, G Flip’s debut full-length album (out August 30 on Future Classic), the Melbourne-based artist fills in the pages of a passionate romance that’s been taking shape and changing form alongside her massive musical accomplishments, inspiring her every artistic move along the way.
“When I wrote About You, in early 2017, me and my girlfriend were broken up,” she says, sitting in the chair in her home studio where she committed, that same year, to learning to produce her own songs, in the hopes of forging a career making music that mattered to her.
And on this record, what matters is a very human story of heartbreak and reconciliation, of putting on a brave face, attempting to move on and finding your way back together. Beginning with the theatrical Lover, a song that grows with intensity, swelling into something grand and declarative. If the record were a Shakespeare play, G says, this would be the exposition setting us up for the story to come.
To hear G tell her own story, it seems inevitable that she’d one day fill venues and win over fans with her music. But that wouldn’t have been the case had it not been for her uncle, who gifted the diminutive G an equally tiny drum kit for her ninth birthday. “That was the key to my whole life,” she says definitively.
When she began high school, G was drawn into the orbit of Jenny Rose Morrish, a drum teacher who provided her an escape and an example. “She was my biggest idol ever. When I’d watch TV or read magazines there was no one that I felt was like me. The first person I wanted to be like was my drum teacher, because she was also a tomboy and a badass drummer.”
In her teens, G picked up piano and guitar, and began playing drums in bands covering the genre spectrum, from pop-rock to a frenetic prog-metal outfit and even a reggae act. She followed Jenny’s example further by buying the same Yamaha drumkit and pursuing a similar music degree after graduation. “She helped me rehearse to get into Box Hill Institute, and I did a Bachelor of Music and I majored in drums.” While G was studying there, Jenny passed away.
Years later, while touring America as the drummer for an indie rock band, G found herself living out her dream, but was fuelled by a determination to step out of the background. When the American tour ended, so too did the band. “I had this big rush of emotion.” G says. “In my head I remember thinking, it begins now.”
That was the end of 2016. After giving herself two months “to get all my partying out”, she became a kind of musical hermit, isolating herself from the world in order to make music to one day share with it. Relying on YouTube tutorials to teach her to use production software, G learnt to piece together her skills as an instrumentalist and the songs she’d spent years archiving in the depths of her Voice Memos app.
Her year of isolation coincided with what felt, at the time, like the final stage of a tumultuous relationship with her girlfriend, who’s also a performer. “We were so on and off. We fought and were crazy. We’re both creative and elaborate and dramatic. Everything is intense.”
On February 12, she wrote About You, which captures the passion and drama that surrounded them. That day held deeper significance, as it would’ve been Jenny’s birthday. A year later, after testing her chops as a songwriter and producer for months, and actively chasing any connections in the music industry that blipped onto her radar, G was ready to finally share the first piece of herself. “I was in this bedroom when I put the song on Triple J Unearthed. And then it blew up that day.”
What came next has become the stuff of legend: a Best New Music nod from Pitchfork; rotation on triple j; coverage from NPR, L.A Times, Rolling Stone, Line Of Best Fit; millions of streams; and sold-out headline shows at home and overseas. G Flip’s name also began appearing on festival bills the world over, beginning with eight showcases at SXSW. Becoming a festival highlight has been a dream result for G, who always held out on attending them, deciding to instead spend her money on instruments and gear as an investment in the future where she hoped to be on stage.
At every show she plays, G and her band are joined by JeRoMo, an animated LCD drum skin named for her idol, Jenny Rose Morrish. “There was part of me that built this thing because I wanted Jenny to be on stage with me everywhere I went. Her spirit is in this cheeky little drum.”
G’s dreams were coming true, but the pace of it all threatened to derail everything. She funneled the experience into Bring Me Home, a song that confronts a different kind of vulnerability. “It’s the only song on the album that doesn’t directly talk about the relationship, and talks about me dealing with anxiety.”
In the midst of the steering the G Flip project, the woman at its centre realised she’d lost track of what day it was. She barely slept for two months and kept forgetting to eat and drink. “It’s like my brain turned grey.”
After experiencing her first panic attacks, she began seeing a therapist. She cleared her schedule of commitments, leaving only one thing on it: a writing session with Joel Quartermain, whose studio is “a skateboard away” from her home. “He got an earful. I just exploded.” Bring Me Home spilled out, and by the end of the day they’d recorded a rough demo on piano. “Listening back, there is so much magic to it. You can hear in my voice, I’ve been going through it.” That first take of the song is what appears on the record.
Sharing the story of the song has encouraged even deeper connection with listeners, as did the determination in her recent single I Am Not Afraid, which was co-produced by pop savant Ariel Rechtshaid (HAIM, Vampire Weekend, Solange). Whether it was coming out, experiencing bullying, or carving out a solo path – both as a musician and following a breakup – G has encountered a series of moments in her life for which, she says, “the only way to get through it is to just be like, ‘I am not afraid!’”
“When you break up with someone you have two sides: the resilience and then the downside. This is my resilience song.” Like the five stages of grief, the process of dealing with the end of a relationship comes in waves, and G chronicles it over the course of her record. After resilience comes Drink Too Much, where the impulse to meet new people reveals itself as a mask. “Everyone thinks partying is going to cure your heart, but really it doesn’t.”
Next, she squints at the glare of the morning after the night before. “When I wrote Morning, I actually woke up and sang the chorus – “Ain’t nobody else that I want in the morning” – into my phone, while sitting on the end of my bed. I had to work out if it was a song that I’d already heard or my own song.” After realising it was the latter, she walked across the room to her computer and spent the rest of the day finishing the song.
In the second verse of Waking Up Tomorrow, G reveals a flash of hope for a future with her ex. After dealing for years with a long-distance relationship and eventually breaking up, they found themselves in the same place again. “It’s about the feeling of, ‘You’re back here and I hate when you’re not around’. By the end of the song, it’s in question: are we back together or not?”
G describes Stupid, the woozy next track as capturing the Sisyphean nature of her relationship: it’s a constant, unending. Impossible but inevitable. “I wouldn’t want to do this shit with anybody else,” she sings in the chorus, “We do it to ourselves”. When they reunited, all the doubt was over. G played the songs to the girl she’d written them about. “She sat there on my bed and listened to all of them. And suddenly I was sitting next to her and then we hugged and cried. We never left each other’s side since that day.”
Revisiting the doubt and loss in her relationship in order to make a record about it has dredged up a lot for G. “I was so broken. For a year I isolated myself so all I had, my only friend, was my thoughts.” But capturing those years and all their intense highs and lows in a record has given G valuable perspective on her recent past.
In the touching and spacious album closer, 2 Million, she reckons with this reality: of leaving a capsule of work detailing their love on earth, to be consumed by strangers long after they’re both gone.
After playing her first ever shows as G Flip at SXSW in 2018, she headed to LA for a writing session with Scott “Babydaddy” Hoffman from the Scissor Sisters. As her Uber wound up the streets into the Hollywood Hills, she was overwhelmed with how far music had brought her already. “I was thinking about how, for so long, my world was just my bedroom, and it’s expanded. Now my world is the world.” That expansive feeling is chanelled into the song, which G says is her favourite she’s ever written and represents the close of this significant chapter. “It’s like the end credits of the movie: the story is finished, we’re back together. What could happen next? What are my next songs about? What’s to come? It’s a very hopeful song.”
It’s the final page of a story that’s only just beginning.
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