The Magazine

July 31, 2013

Flint Eastwood: Go Ahead, Punk, Make Me Dance


Selves-confidence. I know that phrase sounds funny when you read it back, but Flint Eastwood can make sense of it. Because this Detroit quartet’s still just a little naïve yet, or they’ve truly got superhuman capacities for confidence; it’s not self-confidence so much and far from any kinda ego thing, no, it’s a confidence for all the self’s in the room.

When you’re at a Flint Eastwood show, you are the show.

“Jax steps past the monitors and looks at people,” bassist Clay Carnill says of this group’s lead singer/songwriter. She’s a ball of energy with orange hair and a smile seemingly ready to curve and glow at every sentence’s period. Jax Anderson exudes an uncanny power, that power’s tacitly become the motto of the Flint Family: self-empowerment.
“She looks at people,” Carnill emphasizes the engagement, “right in the eye and says: ‘Why aren’t you dancing right now?’”

Well, she doesn’t say it, so much as implies through her balladry, melodically heaved and howled, breathlessly, over aerobic rhythms, funky bass whips and storming space-rock-ish guitars. Splice in a few dazzling synth effects and the occasional violently-strung-out violin and you’ve got the weird unraveled-then-re-raveled rock clump of danceable flavors from hip-hop to neo-synth-pop that Flint’s fostered over their first year, (considerably busy with local gigs and a handful of brief tours).

“This is an interactive experience,” Carnill says.

And it should be, Anderson agrees. “Anyone who comes to our shows joins our community, and it’s about being happy being yourselves; living life to the fullest, while still being responsible. That’s liberating, knowing that I’m surrounded by people who want to play as much as I wanna play. The whole reason I play music is, not only is it this release that nothing else compares to, but, growing up, listening to bands like Paramore, who had female fronts and ridiculous followings who told their audiences to: ‘Be yourself, don’t worry and fuck it all…’”

“That’s something I wanna continue,” Anderson exclaims. “I want to help people. I’m not the best writer in the universe but if I can help one person, I’m down, man.”

The music’s inherently invigorating, there’s no doubt there; very up and at em’ type anthems. Anderson, though, seemingly taunts you, especially if you’re standing still. Carnill admits that some people might be put off, even scared, by this 5-ft-instigator, rattling her fists at you…until you see her smile.

Flint Eastwood started out as a project titled Power, born a few years back out of the keen production of Anderson’s brother, Seth. The sibling duo are quite an industrious pair of freelance collaborators, actually, building a breadth of sensibilities by working with a range of different artists in different genres on varying projects, from music videos, to singles, remixes or even entire albums. But Flint was their own thing.

Power soon became Flint Eastwood – initially as a synth/sample-heavy duo that would play out a bit, but mostly recorded, streamed online, or produced music videos. Seth, however, was moving on in life, having already worked in music for more than a decade. But his little sister was, she felt, just really getting started. Thus, by the end of autumn 2012, she had her full line up, Carnill, Bryan Pope on guitar and Mark Hartman on drums, backing her up. The first Flint Family.

“We grew up in Detroit and then in Harper Woods,” says Anderson. “I went to Grosse Pointe schools. This poor kid in a rich kids’ school and I didn’t really fit in because I was into art and that school was really all about sports. So I was this outcast kid, by myself basically, which was awful at the time but it gave me the chance to get involved in the communities of music scenes and to then want to start giving that feeling of community to as people and break down the barriers between artist and crowd.”

Says Anderson: “Music is where I found my confidence when I was young. It showed me it was okay to be who you are. I definitely feel the reason I want to push people to that is because that’s what music’s done for me.”

And suddenly, that shouting, singing sparkplug of a frontwoman leading on an undulating audience answering her calls to dance at a rock show, can then be humbly relatable, whittled back to this reclusive arty kid slumped at the end of the lockers in the hallway’s corner, listening to her headphones. Alone.

People want to know, Anderson says, that they’re not alone. And as they’ve played more shows, it’s become clear to each member that: “Oh my god,” Anderson says, grinning at me with eyes behind bodacious novelty sunglasses, “that we could actually make a difference for people.”

Even if it’s just you, realizing: That it’s okay to dance.
Flint Eastwood’s debut EP Late Nights In Bolo Ties is out now.
8/31/13 – 7pm – Flint Eastwood
Audiotree Music Festival
with Dr. Dog, Valient Thorr, Brother Ali, Into It. Over It., the Soil & the Sun, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, Blues Traveler
Wings Stadium
3600 Vanrick Dr
Kalamazoo, MI

About the Author

Jeff Milo
Jeff Milo
Jeff is another awesome member of the iSPY team.

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