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G Flip Is the Drum-Playing Pop Star They Wanted to See as a Kid

G Flip talks about their new album ‘Drummer’, which catches them enjoying married life and paying tribute to the instrument that made them

G Flip

Callum Walker Hutchinson*

G Flip’s whole world revolves around drumming. Even in conversation, they can’t go more than a few sentences without imitating the instrument they fell in love with as a child, making constant percussive, onomatopoeic sounds. “Some songs actually came from me just playing drums and singing over it, like… Do do doo ka ba-do do doo kah,” G Flip says over iced coffee at a Studio City coffee shop in late June.

They describe their music by flailing their tattooed arms as if an imaginary drum set is right in front of them: “The kit is my home,” they say with a smile. “It’s my little baby.”

G Flip’s entire new album, aptly titled Drummer, is an ode to the instrument that made them — and a tribute to the late drumming instructor who fostered their connection with music. Out on Aug. 11, the album is full of songs that showcase Flip’s musical versatility and skills on kit while handling heartbreak. Other tracks, like the lead single “Be Your Man,” touches on their highly public love story with Chrishell Stause, known from the reality show Selling Sunset, which G Flip made a few cameos on last season.

“With this new record, I wanted to bring back just how I go about making music from the band sense and as a kid. The new record’s very instrument-based, very drum-heavy, very organic-sounding,” they say. “There’s no loops that I got from the internet. Not saying that that’s a bad thing, but for my creative process I wanted it to be very hands-on and me physically playing everything.”

Raised in the suburbs of Melbourne, Flip would turn on the TV on Saturdays and watch music videos from the artists of the moment: Christina Aguilera and Destiny’s Child among them. They longed to see a drummer who looked like them. “There’s a lot of femininity in the pop world if you’re a girl,” they say. “I aligned more with Travis Barker, like taking my T-shirt off and smacking drums.”

They found their own representation in Jenny, a beloved drumming instructor who helped foment Flip’s dream of becoming a professional musician. “She was very integral to my life. I honestly think if I didn’t have her in my life, I wouldn’t be sitting here with you,” they say. “I just happened to have the best teacher in the world.”

During their sessions, Flip and Jenny would talk about the future and how maybe one day someone who looked like the — maybe tomboyish, scraggly, feminine-presenting drum player — would become a star. “We’d say, ‘In a couple of years, surely there’ll be a solo artist who looks like us.’ We’d be like, ‘Yeah, in a couple of years it’ll happen,’” Flip remembers. “The years went on, but that spot just never really got filled.”

Jenny died suddenly when Flip was still a teen, and through that grief, Flip continued on their path of becoming a musician. From age 14, Flip cycled through several bands of all genres on drums: a rock band, a prog metal band, a pop girl group, a funk rock band, and even a wedding band that helped make ends meet. (They also took on some of Jenny’s students.)

It wasn’t until 2018, as they prepared to release their first single as a soloist, that Flip realized they could be the drumming pop star they always dreamed about. “I started to think like, oh, it’s me,” they say. “I’m the solo artist drummer that I wanted as a kid. I want to be what I never saw growing up.”

FLIP WAS THROWN into the pop world when they moved to Los Angeles to make music on their own. They were placed into sessions with pop producers who rarely had a drum kit for them to use in their studios. They conformed a bit for their first album but ended up transforming and reimagining the pop-focused, behind-a-computer sessions they had into drum-driven bangers for the new album. On Drummer, they’re playing everything from tambourines and shakers to congas and glockenspiel on the tracks.

“The Worst Person Alive” is “Born to Run-esque,” Flip explains, as they took note of Bruce Springsteen’s production styles, and even brought on some of the subtle sax that The Boss sneaks into his songs. “Seven Days” has a Dave Grohl touch: “It’s the way he plays guitar like a drummer.” And “Didn’t Mean To” features the Porcaro shuffle reminiscent of Toto’s “Rosanna.” There’s also a song called “Good Enough” — with its marriage motifs — Flip’s vocals shine through: “I sat down at the piano and I was like, ’What would Adele or Lewis Capaldi do?” On it, they sing, “I don’t deserve your hand because I don’t think I’m good enough for you.” It’s hard not to ask about their relationship with Stause after hearing that one.

Flip and Strause tied the knot in May, and they’re getting used to married life, which is “quite different” from their time dating, they say. But they’ve settled comfortably into one another: The night prior to our coffee meetup, after a live interview and performance at the Grammy Museum in Downtown Los Angeles, Flip drove home and found Stause asleep on the couch, cuddling their puppy Gracie. Stause woke up and the couple caught up about their long days.

Flip and Stause met in 2021 after being introduced by “Dance Monkey” singer Tones And I. When they first started dating, “Freak on a Leash” by Korn came on shuffle while they were in the car, and Stause started to sing along to every word. “I was like, ‘Wait what?’ How do you even know that? All while she’s wearing a pink dress!” Flip remembers with a laugh. “As I started to unravel her, I realized how similar we are.” Flip’s eyes light up when talking about Chrishell: “She’s just gorgeous. She’s got this beautiful smile. Aesthetically, we just seem like an odd pairing, but when we really got to know each other’s personalities, we are so similar. Which people on the outside would be like, ‘What the fuck?’”

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Flip says they had never seen Selling Sunset before the two met, but they watched episodes during their frequent daylong flights between Australia and the U.S. Now, Flip says they’re good at “grounding Chrishell” after she goes through some of the show’s drama. “I’m a very chill, calm kind of human being that doesn’t get involved with that stuff,” Flip says. “I’m like, ‘‘Baby, in the end, this is just a small part of your life. When you come back home it’s chill. We can digest and work through it.’ I definitely think I’m a calming presence in her life, for sure.” They add that the brief appearances are another way to help more non-binary people feel seen. “To have representation where we could just easily display our love and that could change someone’s life,” they say. “It might start a conversation about what it is to be non-binary… That was something I was deprived of as a kid.”

Married life for Flip and Stause often involves trips to local dive bars (they recently went to a songwriter showcase called Jesse & Friends) where they order the same drink (skinny margs). They both hate cooking so they’ll put on a movie and munch on the same meals from The Nice Guy or Sweetgreen. And they’re both heavy on manifestation. “We have a lot of goals for ourselves, which I think is important,” they say. “Each person has their own life and their own direction and then can meet in the middle.”

MANY OF THE songs on Drummer contrast with the love and joy they’re feeling in their marriage today. “It’s definitely not the place I’m in now,” Flip assures. “It’s funny, Chrishell’s favorite songs are about breakups. She’s like ‘That’s definitely my favorite even though I know you’re singing about someone else.’”

Other standouts on the album include “Kevin,” which they wrote after receiving a “hectic” transphobic message in their DMs from a random account. In the song, Flip “takes a piss” at the message’s hate and jokes about getting him front-row tickets to their show as they sing: “I know you’re scared of change, but Kevin you gotta let it go.” “It’s a bit of a ‘fuck you’ song to all the trolls that jump in my DMs,” they say.

The album ends with “Made For You,” where you can’t hear any drums to begin. “It’s me singing to my drum kit,” they say of the soft, guitar-backed song. “‘I didn’t get to say goodbye because of you.’ That’s me talking about missing my grandfather’s funeral in Australia because I’m here in America trying to live out this dream and do this thing.” On the track, Flip blames their instrument for taking them from important family moments but also thanks it for helping them find who they are. But the song didn’t feel complete: “I thought, ‘what would Jenny think would be cool?’” they say. “I was like, a mega drum solo.”

As “Made For You” winds down, Flip comes in with an intense solo that they recorded in their lounge room. It nearly didn’t make it onto the album, and Flip says their shitty neighbors are to blame. (Flip’s dad thinks their family has a curse, reminding them: “Neighbors have never liked me. They’re never going to like you.” It’s been true to this day.) “My neighbors suck. They never let me play,” they say. “They’re always sending angry texts. I told them, ‘I need to record something on drums today. You have to give me time.’ They gave me a one-hour window.”

Flip used the time as best they could, and went over just a bit. “Normally, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I would’ve liked to have perfected a drum solo, but I liked the rashness of making it while my neighbors, who are assholes, gave me an hour,” they add. “I was just thrashing out drum takes. We don’t have air-con in that room, so I was just drenched in sweat. But for me, that’s the best way to end this record.”

For Flip, the music has always come back to drums. As the song ends, Flip can be faintly heard saying, “The neighbors will be really pissed now” with a laugh. It doesn’t matter if the neighbors are pissed. Flip is going to do their thing anyway.

From Rolling Stone US