G Flip: “I don’t want to die one day and be like, I didn’t give it my all”

The Australian musician talks ‘Cruel Summer’, their sophomore album, and Selling Sunset fans

The reality of selling out three back-to-back nights at KOKO didn’t quite hit G Flip until they arrived in Camden.

Not being from the UK. I wasn’t sure what KOKO was,” they admit. “And then when I was in Camden driving around the corner and saw this grand, white building, and then I got to go inside… I was like, this is one of the coolest venues I might have ever played.”

The Australian singer-songwriter expresses surprise at discovering that they had such a large fanbase in the UK to begin with. But since the release of their sophomore album, Drummer, their following has grown internationally. Many fans who discovered G through the Netflix reality show Selling Sunset (on which G’s partner Chrishell Stause stars) are now turning out in force to their live shows. And for good reason – G’s Drummer tour is a unique experience that sees the musician jump between guitar, bass, a handheld mic, and – of course – the drum kit, all whilst maintaining lead vocals. It’s a show that saw G scoop a well-deserved ARIA for Best Australian Live Act.

G Flip will be back in the UK for a couple of visits this year, first to play Reading and Leeds Festival in August, and then again in September for their own headline tour, which includes two nights at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Ahead of these shows, we caught up with G to discuss their warring identities as a drummer and singer, and that viral ‘Cruel Summer’ cover.

G Flip - The Worst Person Alive (Official Music Video)

You’re a multi-instrumentalist, so audiences at your live shows get to see you wear a lot of different hats. Which instrument did you pick up first?

My first instrument was drums and that’s why the album’s called Drummer. I start the show on drums, I do a drum solo. There are a lot of drums in all my music. And that’s because I used to be a session drummer before I was a solo artist, so I was drumming for other people and drumming for bands. I worked in a drum shop, I was a drum teacher… Everything had to do with drums in my life. It was definitely my first love. I’m not a singer; I’m a drummer first, and then I’m a singer.

It makes for such a unique live experience, watching you sing some of these big pop anthems from behind the drum kit.

Yeah, I’m most comfortable behind the drum kit, more than running around and singing with a microphone in my hand. The drum kit’s very much my comfort place and my spot.

When did you start singing from behind the drums?

I started doing backing vocals in a few bands that I played in, and that’s how I kind of delved into the singing drummer thing. That turned into me taking a whole verse in a song, and then I started actually singing choruses for these bands I played in, which got my confidence up. I slowly built into it, getting to the point when I felt comfortable enough to step away from the kit, grab the mic and rip it as a lead vocalist.

Do you remember the first time you did that?

Yeah, it was my very first show I ever played. I started on kit, because that’s my happy place, and I played my song called ‘Lover’, which is the first track of my first album, About Us. I played ‘Lover’ and then it went straight into a song called ‘Killing My Time’. That’s when I took the microphone from the stand and I had to take my first step away from the kit. I do remember it because it was a very emotional time. I was hella nervous. But it went alright.

G Flip - Killing My Time (Official Music Video)

When did you start to feel comfortable switching between instruments and lead vocals onstage?

When it came to performing my own G Flip music it was very easy. Before, I was just playing drums and doing backing vocals in other bands, but I quit that and then spent a whole year writing my album and my own music. So in that year, I really practiced performing even though I didn’t have a manager or label yet. In my head, it was my manifestation of: this is going to be my life. I was so adamant about it, that I was already practicing my show over and over daily, before I even got anywhere. So when it came to me performing my first G Flip show, I was very prepared to switch between piano, guitar, drums, bass, because I’d practiced it like it was gonna happen.

That year that you threw yourself into your solo work. Was that overdue, or was that quite a daunting step?

It was definitely daunting because I was on my own. I was used to a band mentality, but at the same time, I knew that it’s what I wanted to do, because I wanted to be my own boss. As a session drummer, you’re kind of working job to job. You’re just kind of working for the man. I didn’t want to work for the man because I wanted to be the man. It was very evident that I wanted to pursue my own solo career and do everything possible to make that happen. I just went into this very headstrong mode: “I’m not going to give up, I’m going to do everything possible so this happens to me. I’ll go till the day I die”. In my head, I was like, I don’t want to die one day and be like, I didn’t give it my all. So then if it didn’t happen, and this didn’t become my life, then it was okay. I’d be able to sleep at night, because I’d know I’d tried everything.

I went into this mode of trying everything to make it possible. And it worked out for me. I really believe in manifestation and believing in yourself and putting yourself in the right scenarios. Always being ready for the next step. If something happens, if someone asks you to play a show tomorrow, you already have the whole show rehearsed and you’re ready. If a label came to you and they offered you a deal that was good, then you were ready. I was always ready. I was always ahead of what I wanted to do, which I think has really helped me with my success.

Is that still your mindset? Or do you feel like with the success you’ve had now, the heat’s off a little bit?

I think definitely the heat’s off a little bit, but I’m still ready. If someone asked me to play a show tomorrow, I could pull it off. I’m pretty spontaneous in the way that I think I can execute anything on a short deadline. I can make it work. I’ll figure it out.

G Flip covers Taylor Swift’s ‘Cruel Summer’ for Like A Version

You had a viral moment earlier this year with a cover you did of ‘Cruel Summer’ by Taylor Swift, which was a queer version of the song that saw you playing the drums and singing lead. What was it that drew you to this song?

I think it’s just so extremely catchy, and that’s what pop music is about. That song never leaves your brain. When I first heard it, we were listening to it on the road when I was playing on tour with the boys in my band around the US. We’d listen to it before we went on stage, and I’d then go play a whole show of my own songs. We’d listen to a whole heap of music before we went on stage, throughout the day, after the show… And still at f*cking 04:00 in the morning, I’m singing that bridge from ‘Cruel Summer’. It just doesn’t leave you. It’s just such a well-crafted pop song and I just love the way that Taylor Swift writes. The rhythms of her vocal melodies are so interesting to me. And I find them really interesting as a drummer too. The rhythm of that bridge is like a marching snare drum line, or it’s like a conga part. I like the way that she writes rhythms because, to me, she writes vocal melody rhythms like a drummer.

Let’s talk about the new album, Drummer. What were those early sessions like and how did the album start to come together?

With the Drummer album a lot of songs were really old songs. Some of the songs are from way back in 2017 or 2018, and I’ve rewritten and reproduced them. I had so many demos, like hundreds and hundreds of demos. I’d go back and listen to all of them and be like, “You know what, that chorus of ‘Real Life’ is really cool but I want to change all the verses in it,” or, “That song ‘7 Days’ is really cool, but I don’t like the key, I don’t like these chords, and I don’t like this production”. So then I go and reproduce it and totally flip the song on its head to make it the aesthetic and production style of Drummer, which is a little bit more rock leaning. And it’s a live kit too. There’s just a heap of live instruments and a lot more guitar than my first album.

There wasn’t really a point where I was like, “Okay, now I’m writing Drummer“. During COVID I realised I was making music that wasn’t drum heavy at all. So many people would come to my show, and be like, “Whoa, I can’t believe G’s so good on drums”. So the album came from realising that I wanted people to know what they’re in for from the get-go. I’m a drummer, and that’s my thing.

G Flip - Australia (Official Music Video)

You’ve got a song on the album called ‘Australia’, where you’re thinking about a lost love who’s back home. Do you spend a lot of time at home in Australia these days, and is it somewhere that you’re homesick for?

I’m always going back and forth. My career has been pretty successful over in Australia, in my hometown, so I always have so many jobs back there. My base is here in LA, but I also have a little base over in Australia, but then I’m always on tours, so I feel like I also live in hotels. I’m always moving around. But I do love Australia. It’s just a great place, you know?

You’re lucky enough to have a very supportive partner. Is she someone that you share your songs with early in that process?

Yeah, Chrishell hears everything I do. Sometimes not the first few rough demos – I like to get my songs to a certain point before I show anyone, just because I want the production to be a little bit more solid – but yeah, Chrishell definitely hears everything. And I really admire her feedback, and I like her ears. I like what she hears differently to other people, and I like what she thinks is catchy. And I really take her word for what she likes.

It must be helpful to have that perspective from someone outside the music industry early in the creative process.

For sure, because the majority of the world aren’t in the music industry, and they’re the ones that are consuming my art and they’re buying my tunes. So having Chrishell’s ear on stuff – I love having her input.

More recently you’ve had a foot in the reality TV world as well. What’s it like as a musician to now have an audience in that space?

The fans that I’ve met are just fans of Chrishell, and they know that I make Chrishell happy, so then they’re fans of me. Everyone’s been super lovely from the Selling Sunset world, and, you know, everyone on the show is lovely too. It’s been cool. There’s still some homophobic motherf*ckers that hate my guts. But look, that’s always gonna f*cking happen. Other than that, people are very lovely.

What do you want to achieve in the next few years?

I want to play more shows globally, around Europe. I would love to play some shows in Asia. Playing a show in Japan would be super cool, and more shows in the States. I think I’d like to write and produce for more artists too. I really like producing for other people, so I’ve started spending a little bit more time doing that with other artists.

I have new ideas for stuff I want to accomplish – obviously, to get more music out there, to release more albums… I think it’s endless, the list of things that I want to do. I always think of new things.

Still manifesting?

Always manifesting.

G Flip returns to the UK this August to play Reading and Leeds Festival, and again in September for their headline tour. Find tickets here.