Flap!
Flap!

Get into Flap! at Bellingen

ASK any music fan about 'selling out', and they'll likely get pretty emotional.

But what if you're a musician trying to explain your musical infidelity to other musicians?

For Flap!'s Eamon McNelis, loving so many different kinds of music is something he can't help.

In 2010 the Melbourne based trumpeter (and vocalist) won the prestigious National Jazz Awards, barely a year after Flap! released their debut album.

The two worlds are far apart as far as fans and content go - from avant garde jazz to Flap!'s  lively original five piece kaleidoscope of gypsyesque brass.

Music that is both old and new, inspired by the entire human diaspora.

Influences from 1920's jazz, Gypsy brass, English Folk and Trinidadian Calypso can be heard peeping through their antipodean veneer.

"I often feel various things I do disappoint mentors I've had - I'm very lucky have them - I think they feel Flap! is very silly," Eamon said.

"I even started an Elvis band because he was the first music I loved. He's the king of rock and roll, right?

"Yet Wooden Heart was a huge hit, a traditional German song with woodblocks and accordion and everything. It makes complete nonsense of the concept of style."

Flap! started on a whim when Eamon woke up with Jess Guille (banjo-ukulele, vocals) - although it's not what you think.

"I'm famous for falling asleep at parties," Eamon said.

"So I was at this house party and must have decided to call it a night, and fell asleep on the couch.

"A few hours later Jess must have had the same idea. I woke up bleary eyed and there she was, we said hi, hey... Why don't we get some breakfast?"

The two wrote some songs and soon they were jamming with Mark Elton (bass), Donald Stewart (trombone) and Ben Hendry (drums) during a break in the action at 2007's Port Fairy Folk Festival.

Flap! was born.

Their first official gig was equally as casual - all the members realised they'd simultaneously be in Copenhagen, of all places, and so quickly arranged a gig at the infamous Woodstock Cafe at Christiania.

Flap! are coming to Bellingen Memorial Hall, June 2, as part of their East Coast tour supporting new album A Great Day for the Race.

It's almost unclassifiable, with brass, certainly, as well as some glorious 1920's-era clarinet, great drumming across multiple styles, incredibly funky double bass lines, and vocals from both Jess and Eamon.

The songs are surprisingly funny, with quirky, flashing references to everything from the Apocalypse to Tetris to Josef Fritzl to love, all delivered with an unmistakeably Australian flavour.

According to Eamon, this flavour has been hard won, and definitely a part of finding both his voice and the band's sound.

"There's nothing more cringeworthy as being deliberately Aussie - or alternatively being focused on overseas events to the detriment of local history," Eamon said.

"I was influenced by local bands like The Hoodangers and The Band Who Knew Too Much - it was a case of a lot of people at uni were looking overseas to find history and influence, which is important, but I wanted to find out where the energy was here."

All reports - from festivals like Melbourne Jazz, Apollo Bay , Port Fairy Folk, Rainbow Serpent, Falls and Woodford Folk, and increasingly besotted audience members - indicate that the energy Eamon was looking for has been found, and released in Flap!.

"We play music that people kind and open and generous and a little bit nuts tend to love."



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