by Melanie Bryan
MSM: To start with, would you introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about Flood District? How long has the band been around, and is there a story behind the name?
MICHAEL: I’m Michael, the singer and producer of the band. I guess the name Flood District technically goes all the way back to late 2013, when I was a college student playing in death metal and black metal bands. I had the desire to play other styles of music besides metal, and created the name “Flood District” for whatever that would end up being. It doesn’t really mean anything, it just sounds pretty and has a vaguely melancholy aesthetic that doesn’t feel tied to any genre – so to me it’s perfect. By 2018, our bass player Austin and guitarist Matt had joined and we started functioning as a trio. Within the past couple of years, we recruited another guitarist (Kasey) and drummer (Jon) in order to finally form a full 5 piece band.
MSM: Has your musical style evolved as a band since you started? And do you think it will in the future?
MICHAEL: The sound of the band never stops changing. When I had the idea for the group, I only knew how to write metal music and had never really used a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) outside of basic vocal tracking, so our sound has evolved as I’ve learned more. Our upcoming record is inspired heavily by new wave, Japanese visual kei, electronic / ambient music, post-punk, alt rock and really maximalist pop music.
KASEY: There has always been a musical essence (like DNA) to the songs that Michael was writing in the days of Flood District just being his solo project. I was a fan of this unique moody tone and texture that he was able to capture with his synthesizers. Despite the array of new influences that the band now has with five members, that key element is still there.
MSM: Who writes the lyrics for your songs, or is it a collaborative effort? What is your creative process like?
MICHAEL: I write all the lyrics, but the music is often written collaboratively. Generally either Kasey, Matt or I will have an idea, and if I’m excited by it I’ll import the stems into Ableton and start poking at it until it feels good enough to sing over. I love when music surprises me by doing something unexpected. Currently, my favorite thing to do is come up with some basic synth chords and a vocal, and then send it to multiple members and have them write parts independently all at the same time. It doesn’t always sound perfect at first, but there can be some really beautiful and surprising melodies and chords that happen accidentally.
MSM: When people recommend Flood District to others, is there a song in particular that you might hope that they choose? Perhaps something that you think sums up your current sound, or one that has a special meaning to you.
MICHAEL: I’d currently like for people to listen to “Used To Be” or “Wish You Well”. Both songs show two different sides of our current sound – one very synth / drum machine based with very hi-fi production, the other being very angular, moody rock.
KASEY: I will add in the suggestion to check out our brand new music video for “Wish You Well”! Beyond that, I agree with Michael… I would throw “Fool Me Once” into the mix as well. We have some really cool stuff on our upcoming album that I wish I could recommend you to listen to right now, haha. I can’t say too much, but we will definitely have something new to check out before 2023 comes around.
MSM: Where have you performed? Do you have a favorite venue to perform at?
MICHAEL: We have only played one show as a full band so far, which was this past September at Ruby Deluxe for one of their annual Hopscotch weekend day parties. The show was on my birthday and playing live music is my favorite activity in the world, so it was a really special and memorable performance.
KASEY: I love to watch videos of my favorite bands playing Shibuya O-East (in Tokyo, Japan). It’s not gigantic like Madison Square Garden, but to me it’s the perfect venue. I am determined to play there one day– it’d be such a rad rite of passage.
MSM: What’s next for Flood District?
MICHAEL: We plan to release our debut album titled “Eden To Carry” in 2023, play more shows, film more music videos and start writing a follow-up record very soon. It’s taken almost 10 years of constant work behind the scenes for me to get from “this is a cool idea, but I have no idea how to produce music” to creating this record with the band, and I don’t want to wait long to keep moving forward. Hopefully, “Eden To Carry” will be the beginning of a journey I’ve been preparing for most of my life.
KASEY: This band, this album… it feels like some reward for more than a decade of putting all of myself into musical projects. I’ve never given myself permission to fully channel my visual kei and new wave influences before, but this band provides me the perfect canvas to do so. Today, I’m super anxious and excited to share “Eden To Carry” with the world. It’s an album that is full of hooks but with a certain depth- I think it’s both approachable and complex. I love the songwriting and recording processes more than anything else, so I can’t wait to see what the studio pulls out of us for the second album.
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Header Photo Provided by Flood District