Charlotte, NC rockers Flagship recently wrapped up the Three of Clubs tour, co-headlining with Terraplane Sun and Little Daylight in over twenty five cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Nashville and Chicago. Their self-titled debut album, which was produced by Ben Allen (who has worked with Animal Collective, Washed Out, and Youth Lagoon) has been getting a ton of buzz since its recent release on Bright Antenna Records and can be best described as a folk-rock tour de force.
The band came together in 2011 when solo singer, songwriter and guitarist Drake Margolnick joined local musicians Matthew Padgett (guitar, backing vocals), Michael Finster (drums, programming) and Grant Harding (keys) to from Flagship. In 2012, Christopher Comfort joined on bass. Since then, they have become a staple of their hometown club scene and were voted Best Local Band for Charlotte Magazine’s 2013 Bob Awards.
Michael Finster took some time while touring in the UK to talk to us about their past tour, his musical idols, and the future.
AF: Where do you draw inspiration from when writing lyrics for your songs?
MF: I personally have no part in writing any lyrics, but I know that all the lyrics are pulled from different life experiences that have all happened at different times.
AF: How did the collaboration with Ben Allen as producer on the album come to be?
MF: Whenever we were preparing to record our debut album, we were sifting through different producers. Ben Allen was the name that we felt fit the most in the whole equation. We just truly loved what he had done, and had respect for him.
AF: What would you say is your creative process when writing and recording a new song?
MF: Our creative process is literally just getting in touch with ourselves and what we feel the song needs. Whenever we start writing, we typically know what a song should feel like as soon as it starts. Things just become clear to us very easily when it comes to direction.
AF: What do you like most about going on tour? And what’s the hardest part about it?
MF: The best part about going on tour is meeting brand new people everyday and connecting with people who connect to us through our music. Its truly a beautiful relationship. The hardest part about tour is the lack of independence. At home [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][we have] vehicles and individual lives, on the road, we basically have one vehicle and one schedule. It becomes difficult to have alone time.
AF: You just wrapped up the Three of Clubs tour along with Terraplane Sun and Little Daylight. What was your favorite moment from the tour?
MF: My favorite moment from that tour was one specific night in Seattle, WA. We typically like to change around the lyrics to other bands’ songs when we are out on the road. We had all changed around some lyrics to a Little Daylight song. Whenever that song started in Seattle, we all rushed to the front of the stage and shouted our revised (and perverted) lyrics. The looks on their faces were priceless.
AF: What are some other bands and musicians you’d like to tour with in the future?
MF: I would love to tour with some of my personal idols. The National, U2, Coldplay, Noah and the Whale, Arcade Fire, St. Vincent…
AF: I know The National and U2 were big influences for Flagship. What else did you guys grow up listening to?
MF: We all grew up listening to an assortment of music. A lot of it was kind of crappy. I personally grew up in the church and spent a lot of time listening to some Christian punk bands and other things like that. I also really got into Motown as well as the Beatles, and Michael Jackson. I feel like Michael Jackson transcends all generations.
AF: Your self-titled debut album has gotten some really awesome reviews and has, in a way, set the stage for you guys. What’s next for Flagship?
MF: I am currently answering these questions from the UK which is cool because we are touring here at the moment, but we are doing some regional touring over the next month, as well as some writing. We are very ready to write.
AF: What are some of your favorite venues you’ve ever performed?
MF: My personal favorite venue was Stubbs BBQ in Austin, TX. We played on the outside stage in front of a huge crowd. It was amazing.
AF: What are your must have staples while touring?
MF: Whenever I’m on the road, I absolutely have to have my herbal green tea. It calms my body from a hectic touring life. I also need Naked juice drinks. Those make me feel healthier. I also need my headphones, just to shut myself out every now and then and center myself.
AF: Do you think living in North Carolina has had an impact on your music style?
MF: I think everything I have experienced in life has some sort of influence on my musical style. North Carolina brought me together with all the guys in the band, so that is obviously a direct influence. I don’t think that any particular NC music has had an influence on me, but I do believe I’ve been affected by every person I’ve met there.
AF: What has been the most surprising or unexpected part about your journey as musicians?
MF: I think in my personal experience, the most unexpected part about my journey has been changing my expectations for things. I remember being a young musician in high school, and dreaming of being on a label and touring the country, then actually achieving those things and not feeling like I always expected I would. It’s not that life is a disappointment, it’s just that things aren’t always as glamorous as you think. You work your ass off to achieve something, and once you think you’ve achieved it, you work more, and then work even more. Real success comes to those who can find joy in the amount of work they put into their craft.
Flagship are playing festivals and scattered dates throughout the summer. Check out their lyric video for “Break the Sky” below: