An Exclusive Interview with Flip Flop Republic

Could you share the story behind your latest song and what inspired its creation?

Our new single, Sunrise feat Joe Samba, is a song of serendipity through collaboration. We thought that doing a lowkey folksy ballad would be different, however, the first day in the studio our producer put a double time beat onto the slow guitar part, and we were like woah, that’s different. On the spot we wrote a verse and chorus completely different than what we had. We thought we were about to release the song, when we heard Joe Samba was touring in town with a day off. We asked if he wanted to feature on a song and we sent him this one. In one day, he wrote a new part and recorded it and it blew us away. So much, that we decided we needed to step up our vocals and redo them. The producer that day doing vocals was none other than Charlie Scene of the Hollywood Undead, he dug the song and suggested he could pump it up with a few changes. He took it to another level. So, what started as a slow folksy song turned into an upbeat pop reggae banger with a rising reggae start belting out vocals over a rocked out drum beat thanks to a hard rock legend.

How do you approach the process of songwriting, and are there any specific themes or emotions you tend to explore in your music?

Well this song was different. We had never collaborated to this extent before. It is typically just within our band someone has an idea and we critique and improve, but this collaboration has helped us realize that outside collaboration can help us take things to another level, and we just learned so much that can help in the future.

As an indie musician, how do you navigate the balance between creative freedom and commercial appeal?

Commercial appeal? What is that? I don’t know. I feel like the level we are at that playlisting is the game, and that arena is so up to personal tastes. We have songs that playlisters add like crazy, and then we have a song that we think is great and no one adds it. Some people think are songs are too reggae, and then some too pop and not roots enough. I am not sure what our genre is, and that is the way we like it. We try to be diverse, but are definitely reggae and beach inspired.

What do you find most challenging about being an independent artist in today’s music industry?

It’s hard to break through. So many new and great songs. Even myself as a consumer there are only so many lanes to discover new music. Its hard to be heard, and even harder to stand out.

Can you talk about your experiences collaborating with other artists or musicians? How does it influence your creative process?

Think I did that earlier, but even within our band our influences are very different. Our keyboardist is from the deep south and you can hear that gospel/soul in his organ playing. Joe is from MS and you can hear a bluesy draw and some blues inspired parts in our song. Doug from Miami brings that tropical vibe.

What role does technology and social media play in promoting your music and connecting with your audience?

Besides email that is it, and we are terrible at it. Not sure we want to post all the time, we like to meet people in person, but social media is a necessity. It’s the new tv and entertainment for people.

Are there any particular artists or genres that have had a significant impact on your musical style?

So many, we love the story telling of Jimmy Buffett. Love the drive, power and reggae stylings of the Police. Of course Sublime is what got us loving reggae. Bob Marley, what can we say. Joe in our band wrote a thesis in college about the psychosocial development of Bob through his music and how you can trace his growth as a person through his songs. Lastly, we love so many 80’s and 90’s songs and still cover a few now and then!

Indie musicians often have a close relationship with their fanbase. How do you engage with your fans and build a dedicated community around your music?

Well one thing we are doing is planning a festival. Its on a small island in florida and is called Ckey Tiki Fest. It’s intimate, its kinda like hanging out with us and 8 other artist for a weekend. Super funky vibe and it’s a blast. Things like this is how we build community.

Could you describe a memorable live performance experience or tour that has had a lasting impact on you and your music?

Our album release party was unforgettable. We went all out on production and had firebreathers on stage with us and were surrounded by so many family and friends.

In an era of streaming platforms, how do you feel about the changing landscape of music consumption and its impact on independent musicians?

You know, the streaming gives us a chance. It isn’t really helping make money, but the discovery algorithms give us a chance to be heard and that is all we can ask for. I wished the platforms gave us better access or communication with listeners, but I know why they protect that info.