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INTERVIEW: Brandon Flippen

Hi Brandon, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? 

– Good thanks for asking.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Passionate Mind? 

Passionate Mind is actually the oldest song on the album and I wrote the rough outline for it back in 2011. I wrote it while attending the University of Tennessee and it was an attempt to make sense of being a passionate person, and on top of that being a passionate man. There’s a societal depiction of men that pushes you towards this illusion of machoism and I just never felt I needed that to be secure in my manhood. Instead, I wrote about the strength in vulnerability, and the willingness to keep an open heart and mind no matter how many times this life might break you.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

In terms of a particular event inspiring this song, I don’t think so. I think it was just a culmination of things sort of unraveling before me in the way I was beginning to see the world. Maybe even more specifically the way I saw myself fitting in the world around me. I do remember I wrote the main piano rift while just jamming out at a buddy’s house even though we were trying to be productive and record other songs; which is kind of cool to me.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Honestly I would LOVE to release a music video for this song but I haven’t come up with any sort of vision for it. So I suppose if there are any videographers or animators out there that feel inspired by it I’d love to discuss ideas!

Why naming the album after this track in particular?

When I made the decision to take music more seriously (which coincidentally was back at the University of Tennessee) my depiction of an album was always that if you’re going to put songs together on a record, they had to have some cohesive qualities to them. When I wrote Passionate Mind, I knew even back in 2011 that was going to be an album of mine because the struggle between being emotional and passionate versus logical and thinking critically is such a huge part of who I am. So the cohesive nature of this album is the fact that each song sort of works to express different feelings or memories very drenched in passion; at times to a fault. Navigating through those emotions or fits of passion is what I hoped to gain through writing these songs.

How was the recording and writing process?

The recording and writing process was anything but conventional. Passionate mind and Nature of the Heart were written in 2011/2012. One Night Overdue and I’ll Never Forget You, came to me in 2013, and then the rest of the songs sort of materialized in 2014 when I had a clear depiction of the story I wanted to tell. I recorded the piano on my friends grand, we recorded vocals for every song in one day with a rented microphone. The drummer was a friend of mine that lived in Minnesota and at the time of this album recording I was living in Nashville, so he drove down and recorded the drums with the bassist for each song all in one day. Then after that recording was finished I actually moved back to Minnesota and had to take a trip down to Tennessee five months later to finish recording the album. We recorded the guitar, cello and violin, and added any last minute things we needed. That was all back in 2015, and I just released the album November of 2018 so I’ll let your imagination take care of the rest.

How did Ed Sheeran and The Fray have an influence on your writing?

The Fray was the first band I can ever remember listening to on repeat and never getting tired of their music and I was captivated by the way they used the piano. Ed Sheeran was an artist that helped instill some confidence in my artistry in the sense that you can be successful by writing meaningful catchy music.

What were some of the experiences and emotions did you get to explore on this record?

This is a great question because I tried to capture a lot of emotions. Anger, intimacy, unfulfilled potential, pure love, letting go of someone you’ve lost and allowing their memory to live on through you. Then Expend is kind of a dissection of finding your purpose in life and the adversity of feeling like your purpose doesn’t line up with what you thought you wanted.

Was it easy to dive into this corners of your life?

I will say this album was spread out so much that I was able to process things very easily and take my time with getting into those dark corners so to speak. Plus music has always been a form of catharsis for me and I’m able to find refuge in my songwriting.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

When I was putting my album together I tried listening to a lot of new singer songwriters to really push the way I was writing. My early work was very wordy, and listening to the different words people used to convey emotions pushed me to learn how to say more with less.

Any plans to hit the road?

I’m actually currently working a full time job, in school getting my Masters in Counseling and Psychological Services, and have a podcast (shameless plug of the “Everything Must Go Podcast”) on top of doing music things. So the idea of getting on the road performing sounds great, but it’s just not practical right now.

What else is happening next in Brandon Flippen’s world?

I’m actually currently finishing up writing the songs for my next album. I don’t have a set timeline for when it will be released but it’s gonna be a little different from this current album in the sense that I’m trying to produce most of it myself. Other than that I’m just trying to get my music out to as many people as possible. Music helped me with discovering so much about myself and the way I saw the world, and the idea that the art I create could do the same gives me chills.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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