Isolation Drills: Fl!p

Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.

Fl!p: Streaming music on Twitch was an idea I had been toying with for a couple of years, but COVID really gave me no other options and pushed me head first into it. Early in 2020, with no job, no gigs and nothing better to do, I got a simple streaming camera, set up my computer, and without a clue of what’s to come, I started playing some songs.

At first, I streamed live recording and songwriting, which resulted in a lo-fi album I released called A Stream Of Thoughts (yes, very smart, I know). Over time, more people started showing to my streams and requesting songs, so I started doing covers, mash-ups, flipping songs in different styles, originals, you name it. And now, a year later, I’m kinda known as the guy who can build a song from the ground up pretty fast and play all kinds of random instruments, including a kazoo, a ukelin (ukulele but played as a violin), occasionally his chair and some regular instruments, like guitars and the piano.

In the process, a lovely community of people from all over the world came together by hanging out with me on my streams. Today, I consider many of them among my closest friends.

The positive feedback from streaming music also reflected a lot in my own music throughout the pandemic. I spent a lot of time figuring out what works for me as a musician and what needs changing. Ultimately, I decided the best course of action is to just be as true and as honest to myself as I can be and hope that my music resonates with people. And I find myself being more and more grateful every time it does!

I released an EP with my former band and two singles as a solo artist, and I have another single in the works. None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t been stuck at home for hours on end, I’ll tell you that.

In my free time, I play video games and watch TikToks with my wife like any respectable adult, walk my dog and tease my cat, talk to friends on Zoom or chat in other performers’ Twitch streams. There were times during this pandemic that were especially difficult: sleepless nights fearing what’s going on and what’s to come, being lonely because I haven’t seen friends and family, losing dear friends to this monster of a virus.

Throughout all of that, I can only be thankful that I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by amazing people who support and lift each other up: my family, friends and my online “hoomin family.”