Since the release of their last full-length, 2018’s Constant Image, DC-based indie rockers Flasher have been through a few major changes. Bassist Daniel Saperstein parted ways with the band, leaving guitarist Taylor Mulitz and drummer Emma Baker (who share vocal duties) to continue on as a duo. Mulitz also relocated to Los Angeles. Additionally, as has been a common narrative of recent releases, the pandemic gave the two a little more time to work on their latest album, Love Is Yours, which dropped on June 17th, courtesy of Domino, and was recorded with long-time friend Owen Wuerker in his Washington DC home-studio. The album has had critics noting a newfound sunniness – both sonically and sentimentally – of Flasher, without losing the charm of the aggressive moodiness found on Constant Image. FLOOD said of Love Is Yours’ debut single, “’Sideways’ finds the pair reformulating their sound from scuzzy, frenetic punk to something equal parts laidback disco and trippy garage rock.” Flasher are currently on a US tour in support of Love Is Yours, which will wrap up this Friday, July 1st, at our very own Kung Fu Necktie, and I recently got a chance to chat with Taylor Mulitz about some of the changes the band has gone through in the past several years.
Izzy Cihak: You just released Love Is Yours, but you’d been putting out singles from the album for a while now. Have you had any favorite reactions to the new music?
Taylor Mulitz: One critic said that this new record, “slaps big ass,” which really resonates with us.
Izzy: How do you feel like the album compares to previous releases? It’s been characterized as a little warmer, friendlier, and more popularly appealing than your earlier work.
Taylor: We’re not interested in making the same thing over and over again. There are so many different genres of music that we draw inspiration from. The tastes of the band have always been much broader than just “post-punk.” We love pop music and were listening to a lot of it when we were writing, so it just felt like a natural progression.
Izzy: What were you listening to a lot of around the time you were writing and recording the album, whether you think it directly influenced your sound or not?
Taylor: At the time of writing and recording we were listening to a lot of No Joy, Daisies, Lily Konigsberg, Cate Le Bon, Grace Ives, Virginia Wing. We also had the all-time favorites in rotation as well of course – Arthur Russell, Lucinda Williams, Kate Bush, Broadcast, Elliott Smith, Beach House, MBV, Air, just to name a few. These artists were and continue to be a source of inspiration.
Izzy: I know that, since Constant Image, the band has done some relocating and even had a lineup change. How do you think that has impacted your process of making music together?
Taylor: Trios are magic, but someone is always gonna feel left out. Now that we are a duo it feels more important than ever to be attentive and caring with one another, but it also feels easier than ever before. The writing process has also felt more relaxed as a duo, I think because we are both so open minded and supportive of each other’s ideas.
Now that we are both “front people” we are having to rethink our live performance. We are touring as a four piece right now, and Emma has been stepping out from behind the kit to play bass and guitar in front of an audience for the first time ever, which is exciting!
Izzy: How would you characterize the DC music scene of recent years? I grew up around there, but haven’t spent much time there since like 2009. I still remember Nation and the original Black Cat, but I get the sense that it’s a very different place than it was in the early aughts.
Taylor: It is and it isn’t. Around 2009-2012 was definitely a mass-exodus of people in the hardcore scene and many people moved up to Philly, but punk in DC has remained a constant and the hardcore scene in particular is thriving right now. The DC scene feels really unique because it’s so inter-generational. There are constant new waves of people making incredible music, and the people in the generation above are still rocking and super supportive of the new vanguard. It’s pretty common to play a show and have a 2-3 decade age gap between the various performers.
Izzy: You’ve released three really cool music videos from Love Is Yours. What is it that inspires the visual element of Flasher?
Taylor: Thank you! Music videos are tough and inherently corny. It’s pretty much impossible to make one that’s “cool,” not embarrassing, and engaging. Going into this we were like, okay, our favorite videos are the ones that have a sense of humor and where the artists aren’t taking themselves so seriously, so let’s do that. We were really lucky to be able to collaborate intimately with friends of ours on these videos and participated in every step of the process — from coming up with the concept, making title cards, costume design, editing, and so on.
Izzy: You recently kicked off a US tour, which wraps up at our very own Kung Fu Necktie. What can be expected of the live show, both in terms of setlist and just the general vibe of the evening?
Taylor: We’re so excited for the Philly show! It’s our last show of tour and it’s gonna be a rager. The lineup is absolutely stacked — Pinkwash are longtime friends and DC-expats, Mesh are so sick and actually features Allison, the identical twin of Shawn (who’s playing live with us). The setlist is a thrilling journey through our discography, and the general vibe will be chaotic good and sexy.
Izzy: Recently I’ve been enjoying asking bands about their tour rituals. Do you have any worth noting? Are there any types of places you make a point to stop or certain foods or music that you especially enjoy on the road?
Taylor: Depending on what city we’re in, we like to pretend we’re Anthony Bordain and indulge in local delicacies. For example: in Chicago we’re getting Chicago dogs or deep dish, in North Carolina BBQ is a must, in Montreal it’s all about bagels and smoked meat.
Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you, after these dates wrap? How are you hoping and planning to spend the second half of 2022?
Taylor: We’re doing another US tour on the west coast in late august/early September, and there’s some discussion of potentially going to Europe in the fall. Other than that, we’re hoping to finish up another album before the year closes out.
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