photos and story by Sean Kelly
After scraping together some last minute plans with songwriter Pasha Petrosyan, I met Flash Flash Comfort in their Logan Square apartment to rally for a walk around the neighborhood. Bassist David Ellis introduced me to their fish while Pasha showed me multi-instrumentalist Asa Von Hagen's (Blush Scars) amazing artwork hung all over their walls. Flash Flash Comfort is an experimental art-pop act and though the current state of the live act is on the back burner, various releases from the band are right around the corner. We strolled down to New Wave Coffee, bought ourselves some mineral water, and sat down to talk about their crazy new animated music video as well as their soon to be released new album.
Emulsion: How did this project begin?
Pasha: We were at Hostel Earphoria and I hadn't seen David in a while, but I knew him from another project called Heavy Ghost. I knew he was a good bassist so I was like, "Play with me! I'm starting this new project!" I was just writing alone in my bedroom, I made an EP so I showed him and we started playing. I asked Asa shortly after, she actually was playing drums at the time, which is not the case any more hahaha.
Asa: I was the first drummer of the band but I hadn't played since I was like, 14. So I kind of learned to play drums again for this group. I actually played mandolin for this most recent album, Ben Simpson from Strawberry Jacuzzi played drums.
Emulsion: At this point, it sounds like Flash Flash has become more of a recording project?
Asa: We recorded the album and we're really proud of it and we want to put it out, we just have a lot of people in the band that are busy and focusing on other projects. At this point if we wanted to play out on the album at all, we'd probably have to find some other people to add to the lineup.
Pasha: Jon Freund (Pixel Grip), who played synth and saxophone, started working on other things shortly after we recorded. He's a tough person to replace haha.
Asa: Who else do you find that plays synth and saxophone?!
David: We went really sax heavy on this album hahaha.
Pasha: I started the project on my own and I definitely don't want to kill it, I want to continue writing. It started with me releasing music on my own and I think that's the way it's going to be now for a while. We're just going with the flow, the music's not as cool when things have to be forced.
Emulsion: So this album is ready for the world at this point?
David: Yeah it's been mastered for a while, like a few months now I think. We recorded it with Michael Mac at Pallet Sound.
Pasha: It was a funny story actually, we started working on writing a music video right after we finished the album and it kind of fell apart. We wrote this whole script around the Mothman Prophecies and all the pieces kind of dropped one by one. Our director had some life stuff come up and had to move away from it among other things so we let it go. Meanwhile the album's still just hanging there. Some time passed, we had decided at this point a different song was now the single, and I reached out to an artist i've known for a while named Cassie Shao. She's originally from New Zealand but she lives in California now, she's a digital animator and we ended up collaborating on the video for our song Safety.
Emulsion: Conceptually was this all your idea or did you two work together on that aspect as well?
Pasha: Yeah, I kind of had an idea about this guy with bugs crawling under his skin. The songs mostly about anxiety and existential dread so that's where my imagination went. Cassie rolled with it and the video's basically her interpretation of that. We went scene by scene at points bouncing ideas back and forth but it was crazy seeing her bring all these visuals to life like she did. Seriously check her other stuff out, she's done a ton of other visuals for bands and they're all really good.
Emulsion: That's really cool. The video turned out so sweet, it's awesome to be able to feature another artist's work here. So it definitely seems like a "one step at a time" scenario at this point but what are your plans for the coming months?
Asa: We obviously don't have any immediate plans to tour the album. But if it made sense to, i'd personally be open to it.
David: I think if people's reactions were positive to it we'd probably try to find some new people to play on it.
Asa: A band doesn't always have to be the same members, I think that's kind of the dream but in actuality most bands are filled with rotating members.
David: Hahaha we're like the literal case study of that mentality at this point.
Pasha: We've all gotten to be such good friends at this point, I mean Asa and I have known each other forever too. Haha and we all live together. We have this album, even if a live scenario doesn't work out, it's here so I guess we'll just see what happens. In the meantime David and I are working on a project called The Crustations, it's all shrimp themed.
David: I'm the captain and they're the shrimp.
Emulsion: Ohhhh my god haha that sounds amazing. You definitely have to keep us posted on that.
Flash Flash Comfort's amazing new video for Safety, featuring the work of artist Cassie Shao, premieres on Emulsion this Friday. Also keep a VERY close eye out for the new album Reverse Resolution, coming your way July 31. Lots of goodies coming, in the meantime check out more of their music at https://flashflash.bandcamp.com/