Flagship Romance has always carved its own path, steaming across the great wide open for months on end and creating connections through stories and song. But the life of a traveling musician gets cut tragically short when the wheels come off the bus.
When COVID-19 forced them off the road, the husband and wife alt-folk duo of Shawn Fisher and Jordyn Jackson hit rewind and decided to give an existing project a fizzy, retro treatment. “Eccentric” is the reimagining of the band’s 2019 release “Concentric” and it’s just the punch in the Serotonin we needed to resuscitate this stagnant season of life.
When life as they knew it screeched to a halt in March, Fisher and Jackson retreated to their adopted home of Truth or Consequences, NM where they took advantage of “The Great Pause” by exploring new outlets for creative expression. They established “Big Mood Photography, a medium they always wanted to explore but never had the time. They took online courses in illustration and design that took their typical DIY approach to the next level when it came to their new/old project.
“It was a really cool experiment to see if we could create a vibe on our own terms. That’s not to say that we don’t have our days of just utter freak out and despair with the uncertainty of it all. You wake up with this icky heaviness sometimes and you can’t pinpoint it. The nature of not knowing when or if I will be able to go back to doing what I knew six months ago,” says Fisher.
“The thing for us is touring for a long time, like eight months out of the year, just grinding. This had the opposite effect on me that I thought it would. I’ve actually been able to spend time writing at home, in one place; having the ability to ask myself if I don’t have the ability to do what I’ve always done, what other things do I enjoy? What other things can I learn in this time so when I look back, I can say I used that time to benefit myself creatively on a soul level?”
As it turns out, the answer was revealed pre-pandemic, about a year ago during a seemingly benign trip to a Walmart in Castle, Wyoming. Flagship Romance was on tour and celebrating the release of “Concentric” when the bells sounded and the couple found themselves planting the seeds of a new passion project.
“We were walking in and I had this heavy thought about the state of the music industry now, a different now. When bands used to release records, the lifecycle of an album was years. You could release an album, you could release singles off that album, you could tour off that album for the better part of five years and then you go back in and do the next record. It had this room to breathe and you could be in that vibe for a little while, Fisher recalls. “So, as we were walking in, I was realizing like man, we just released “Concentric” a week ago and I don’t know how long it’s going to be at the forefront of people’s minds and how long they’re going to listen to it or how long it’s going to ‘last’.”
I don’t know what it is about 2020 but it really feels like there are no rules. There would have been no other excuse to put out this record. It would have been like okay guy, brace yourself because we’re going to do something a little crazy. Everybody is already ready for crazy.”
Released in 2019, “Concentric” evolved from the notion of concentric circles, linking family and friends and strangers and neighbors together in a communal humanity. “Now more than ever in this era of feeling like you don’t know your fellow man or feel divided, sometimes from people you love. We feel this idea of concentric circles is really important,” Fisher explained ahead of its birth into the world.
“We all share this center of life and acceptance and pure love and we want that to permeate as something that is felt throughout the whole record. It all centers around this idea that we’re all human and we can all relate to each other on a core soul level.”
Bringing the project to fruition, Fisher recalls an adolescent memory of a painful oral surgery. To help ease the pain, his mom bought him a copy of the Linkin Park CD “Reanimation.” The band had only released “Hybrid Theory” a year before and Fisher was curious about the new release. He popped it into his Discman and realized they’d remixed the tracks from the debut record, inviting other artists to guest on songs.
“I was listening and I thought I love this. I feel as a fan of this band, I get to have this experience of listening to a song I love again for the first time,” says Fisher. “Why can’t we do that? I looked at Jordyn and said this might be the stupidest idea in the world but what we took this folk record we released and made it like a straight up EDM record? From the time walking out of the car in the Walmart parking lot to the produce section, the idea went from initial concept to ‘oh, we’re doing this’.”
Inviting members of their creative team into the mix, Fisher says the goal was to turn the entirety of the original Concentric track list into an eclectic mash up that reached fans in a different way while maintaining the integrity of the harmonies and the songwriting that serves as the essence of Flagship Romance.
“We knew this was going to be something that was special and different. Fast forward six months from then, COVID hit and we had planned on releasing this record in February. For one reason or another, the timeline kept getting pushed back. When COVID hit, we all got distracted. I can’t focus on anything, the uncertainty of it all so we just kind of stepped back from everything and that gave us a nice little breather,” says Fisher.
“When we jumped back in, it became like this new inspiration. We’ve all been in self-isolation, we’ve all been lonely, we’ve all missed human interaction. We’re all kind of dealing with this lack of energy and this record could end up giving someone the boost that they need. we’ve been joking that people need a dance record right now. I need a dance record right now. I need something positive that’s going to make me move in any certain way.”
“Eccentric” is a timely reminder of the value of human connection. Even during a global health crisis, we can remain united through the mutual investment in art – and each other. By reimagining the record with no rules and a series of rabbit holes that, when presented in such a way, demand exploration, the project infuses the original track list with an 80’s throwback, electronic dance vibe cultivated via a long-distance quarantine collaboration between producer Lee Miles in Los Angeles and Vegas-based Tal Rom.
Outside of the production, which Tal handled, Fisher and Jackson handled everything else on their own including photoshoots, promotional materials and music videos, like the aerobics-inspired video for “consent, Rick” which is a must-see clad in spandex.
While the official streaming release date isn’t until January, 2021, Fisher and Jackson are drumming up interest with special reorder perks available through the first of the year. For all preorders of CDs, t-shirts and even fabulous socks that echo the vibe of the skating rink on a Friday night, fans will receive the record in its entirety [www.flagshipromance.com].
“It benefits all parties. Fans get to listen to it and they don’t have to wait and we get to have this moment of raising funds for us to make sure we can pay our bills for the rest of the year until we can get back to doing what it is that we do,” says Fisher.
“From the Walmart parking lot to this blast of energy during a pandemic, it’s sort of a surprise gift to our fans and a way for us to feel like we’re staying relevant in this time. I don’t know what it is about 2020 but it really feels like there are no rules. There would have been no other excuse to put out this record. It would have been like okay guy, brace yourself because we’re going to do something a little crazy. Everybody is already ready for crazy.”