An Interview With: Flamingosis

Known for his soulful sampling and Dilla-inspired beats, Flamingosis is showcasing his style and expertise in his most recent single, “Wild Summer“. We caught up on how he’s faring during the pandemic, his latest projects, and what he’s playing on his Nintendo Switch.

Where in the world are you right now?

Flamingosis: Currently back on the east coast in Brooklyn.  Staying inside and staying safe.

Congrats on the latest single “Wild Summer,” it’s sounding great! I love the music video, amazing archive footage. What’s the story behind it? How did that idea come about?

F: The footage that you see in the video are old clips of my dad and uncle competing in freestyle frisbee competitions.  They won 5 world freestyle titles together.  “Flamingosis” originates from a freestyle frisbee catch that my dad would do a lot when competing in these events.  It’s a reverse spinning catch on one leg.  I edited all the found footage clips together to my music as a tribute to them.  I’m very proud of my family’s frisbee legacy and wanted to show my fanbase this talent.

Can you remember your first live performance?

F: I think I was a sophomore in high school and I was at my neighborhood’s block party.  They had an area where you could do an informal performance for everyone if you wanted to.  At the time I was getting really into beatboxing, so I decided to show off for everybody.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, and from there I knew that I wanted to pursue music and make it more than just a hobby.

What does your production process look like? Do you hide away in a room for months or is it more collaborative?

F: I’d say it’s both.  For the more recent music I’ve been working on, a lot of it was made in the studio out in Denver, Colorado.  I worked with a lot of great musicians and directed them of how I wanted the compositions to sound like on the record.  It was a lot of fun and those were the early stages of the recordings.  Then from there I hid in my room and flipped those recording the same way I do when I flip samples.

Your sound is distinctive, which producers and beat makers have had a particular influence on the Flamingosis sound?

F:  I’d say J Dilla, Madlib, Flying Lotus, The Alchemist, 9th Wonder, Knxwledge, Ohbliv, and The Avalanches are a few that influenced me.  The way that they all flip soulful samples in their own creative way really inspired me to make music myself.

Has the global pandemic had an effect on your creativity? Living in lockdown etc.

F: I’ve been creating a lot of new stuff faster than usual because there’s not much else to do!  Also been doing some livestreaming on twitch and preparing more home cooked meals.  Trying to make the most of staying inside. 

Is travel important to you? What are some of your favourite places you’ve been to? Has travel influenced your sound?

F:  It definitely has.  Whenever I travel, I listen to a lot of music that originated in the place I’m visiting.  When I went to Japan, I listened to the city pop style of music there from artists like Tatsuro Yamashita and Mariya Takeuchi.  And when I was in Brazil, I listened to artists like Tim Maia , Marcos Valle and Gal Costa who make stuff like bossa nova and samba rock. Even though city pop and bossa nova are completely different styles, what they have in common is the funk and soul that I can hear and feel within the music.  Funk and soul is universal, no matter where you are in the world.  I take these forms of music and sample them in my own compositions.

How has technology influenced your production? Is there equipment you use now that you didn’t before, has this changed your sound in any way?

F: I’ve strictly used this production software called Ableton for the last 9 years.  The built in audio effects, drag and dropping, and chopping tools really work for me when I make music.  I use my MPD 32 sampler sometimes when making music, but it’s mostly used for DJing live.  I make most of my music on the laptop using software and that’s it.  That’s what I’m most comfortable with.

You recently worked with The Kount on a project—Maniacs!— what was it like working with him? 

F:  It was a lot of fun. The Kount is an amazing producer out of Toronto.  He made a lot of the drum production and I then added a lot of soul and funk samples over the drums. This album is an amalgamation of both our styles & influences over the span of 4 years. It has a little bit of everything in it (hip-hop, funk, Latin, disco etc). Through the sound of our music, we wanted to create a cinematic, funky journey of The Kount & a Flamingo traveling through space.

Who would you like to collaborate if you could have your pick? Do you see yourself moving towards working with more MCs? 

F: Yes! I’m currently collaborating with a good friend of mine named Ehiorobo.  He’s an amazing R&B singer and we have a lot of great music together in the works.

We’ve missed festivals and live performances this year because of the pandemic, how important is live performance to you?

F: Live performance is a lot of fun.  It’s basically the pay off to me as a music producer.  You get to show off your tracks in front of an audience, and when you see them enjoy what you have created it’s a really rewarding feeling.  Hopefully we can get back to live shows sometime soon.

With the release of “Wild Summer” recently, what plans do you have for the future?

 F: Get ready for a few new singles, music videos (as well as a new mixtape) to come out these next few months.

Outside of music, how do you like to spend your time? Other interests or passions?

F: I play a lot of videogames on the Nintendo Switch.  Currently I’ve been playing a lot of Super Smash Bros Ultimate.  A new game also just came out called Super Mario 35 .  It’s like regular Super Mario, but you’re playing against 35 people and the last one standing wins.  It’s a really intense and addicting game to play.

Final throw-away question: you’re stuck on a desert island with a soundsystem, and you’re allowed three records. What are they? 

“What You Won’t Do For Love” – Bobby Caldwell

Since I Left You – The Avalanches

DonutsJ Dilla

I wish you all the best for the rest of 2020, we’re gonna get through it. Looking forward to hearing new music from you soon!

Follow Flamingosis on Spotify.

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