Written by Jacqui James

FLAP! ARE A MELBOURNE group happily admit that life’s supposed to be joyful! Flap! is a group who are influenced by the music from the 1920’s to 1940’s, you know the type of music that makes you happy even when the world going to crap around you!

Flap! is made up with so much talent with Jess Guille (banjo-ukulele, vocals), Eamon McNelis (trumpet, vocals), Mark Elton (bass), Ben Hendry (drums) and their gigs always have a special guest! What’s even cooler is the fact that Jess is married to a clown who’s attending clown college and Eamon won the National Jazz Award in 2010.

A Great Day At The Race is Flap!’s latest album and honestly you could have the worst day ever but this album would get your toe tapping and get you smiling. It’s very jazzy, but as Jess told me, “I suppose we are all into happy dancing music but like to sing about all sorts of things that affect us! ”

The Princess Mary Rag Eamon sings about his crush on the Princess and what lengths he would go to to have one kiss with her! Enjoy Yourself is like Flap’s creed in life; it’s such a catchy tune that it makes you smile!

Jess kindly answered some questions for me but I urge you to check out their site and listen to their really cool music.

How did an extremely talented bunch of singers and musicians got together?

We were lucky enough to all be friends before Flap! started. Eamon, Mark and Ben all played in different bands that I used to go out and see regularly around Melbourne. Then we became friends, and after a silly late night jam the band was born! Being good mates is very helpful for when we’re on tour as it takes much longer than usual to get sick of each other {smiles}. This is the first and only band I’ve ever been in, so I got very lucky to end up with this bunch of exceptionally talented fellas.

A Day At The Race is the most perfect title for your album! Was it intentional to make a conceptional album?

The album is titled after a line in one of the songs, “Rock In Space.” A great day for what race? The Human Race! It’s a nod to how wonderful it is to be alive, no matter how crappy your circumstances.

Many of your tracks are so uplifting and funky even those with depressing lyrics like Apocalypse and Come Down To My Funeral (which I love because it’s so Aussie). How do you do this?

I suppose we are all into happy dancing music but like to sing about all sorts of things that affect us! A lot of our songs are in minor keys too but manage to stay happy. A lot of old jazz tunes were very deceptive like that; buoyant and joyful music with dark lyrics.

Who has the crush on Princess Mary?

That’d be Eamon! We’re going to Denmark in June, we hope she comes to one of our gigs and hears the song {The Princess Mary Rag from A Great Day for the Race}.

On your website I read you guys got Nude in Melbourne’s Legendary Bar. What led to this very brave decision?

It just all happened without warning! We were playing a relatively relaxed gig on a Sunday night when people started taking their clothes off. It was only right to follow suit, so to speak! It was probably one of the most incredible things that has happened to me – I felt a little shell shocked for the next week or so, it was quite an amazing experience.

Are you all fans of the 30/40’s style of music?

Absolutely! The guys in the band all play old jazz in other bands, and I met them by going to see that kind of music, so I guess it is the true unifying factor for us all. It’s just such terrifically exciting music!

Your lyrics are very down-to-earth and basically you tell it how they are with no bullshit! Are you proud of this and not caving in to the commercialism?

I couldn’t sing a song that I didn’t believe in, I’d feel pretty silly. I write very personally, and don’t really know any other way! Covers can be a little different because they are a bit tongue in cheek.

I had to laugh when I watched Down Down Down on your site because you Jess introduced the song with saying, “a song about falling off a cliff and breaking both of your legs….yayyyyy!” Would I be right in saying you’re a half full kind of girl?

Yep that’s pretty much right! It is a true story, and there is photographic evidence of me smiling in all the photos both before and after the accident. I got very lucky – I fell about seven metres and only badly broke one ankle and damaged the other knee. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without that happening, so it’s just all a part of the journey {smiles}.

How did you all come up with your unique version of Steve Miller’s Abracadbra?

I spent some time backpacking through Europe, and it was the ‘hostel song’ at a tiny hostel I stayed at in Granada in Spain. Everyone would go wild when it came on! I was travelling with my ukulele, and it was so much fun I had to learn the song and speed it up a bit because I love to dance.

Do you have secret plans to conquer the world with your magical sounds?

You bet! We are heading over to Europe in June for a two month tour, which is ridiculously exciting! We’ve never toured overseas before so we’re very much looking forward to playing to new crowds at festivals we’ve never been to. We want to play everywhere!

Thanks again Jess! I wish Flap! all the best. Also thank you Will from Heapsaflash!


Before Flap! embark overseas, you can catch them on the following dates:

Saturday, 5th of May – Melbourne, The Corner Hotel
www.cornerhotel.com / (03) 9427 9198

Friday, 11th of May – Bairnsdale, Bairnsdale Sporting and Convention Centre
www.pigandwhistle.bigbig.com / 0419 530 362

Sunday, 13th of May – Adelaide, The Wheatsheaf
www.wheatsheafhotel.com.au / (08) 8443 4546

Friday, 18th of May – Brisbane, The Joynt
www.myspace.com/thejoyntbrisbane / (07) 3255 1579

Saturday, 19th of May – Byron Bay, Coorabell Hall
www.coorabellhall.net / (02) 6619 0494

Friday, 25th of May – Castlemaine, Theatre Royale
www.theatreroyal.info / (03) 5472 1196

Saturday, 26th of May – Hobart, Grand Poohbah
www.facebook.com/thegrandpoobahba / (03) 6231 3363

Sunday, 27th of May – Torquay, The Torquay Bowls Club
www.facebook.com/pages/Hiphipshebang/160393590686402 / (04)05422285

Wednesday, 30th of May – Canberra, The Front Gallery and Café
www.facebook.com/thefront / (02) 6249 8453

Thursday, 31st of May – Sydney, Camelot Lounge
www.camelotlounge.com / (02) 9550 3777

Friday, 1st of June – Newcastle, The Great Northern
www.thegreatnorthern.com.au / (02) 4927 5728

Saturday, 2nd of June – Urunga, Ocean View Hotel
www.oceanviewhotel.com.au / (02) 6655 6221

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