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The Flob, a Band of '6 People Playing Together'

The Flob — a band of six guys who are still in college — has chosen to turn the most memorable chapter of their lives into music.

In 2018, after winning the first prize at a school talent show, Lộc, Tân and Tùng decided to form a small rock band “to make life more exciting.” Soon after, they welcomed two more members and released their first single, “Em Oii.” Dressed in vibrant pajamas, The Flob jammed their hearts out to a playfully sarcastic song written for an ex-lover. Just like that, The Flob debuted and attracted a huge number of early fans.

The music video for 'Em Oii' with one-of-a-kind props and outfits.

Gia Kiệt is one of the band's guitarists. Photo by Hoàng Nguyễn.

Having dipped a toe in the water, The Flob continued with their second single, “Mấy Khi," in 2019. Just a year later, their first six-song EP, “Sống Sai," was released. They had a relatively quick start. Sharing with Saigoneer through a video call, Gia Lộc, The Flob's frontman, explains that the reason for such a fast pace was because they didn’t want to make the audience wait. “I don’t think we should keep a song unreleased for too long, because then the emotions might be lost,” Lộc laughs while the rest of the band nod in agreement.

Our conversation continued with a lot of joy and wit. The band opened up about the process of producing their first EP, as well as their plans for the near future.

The music of six people playing together.

After a couple of adjustments, The Flob currently has 6 members: Gia Lộc (main vocals), Minh Tân (drummer and manager), Duy An (keyboards), Quang Chiếu (bass), Hồ Nam and Gia Kiệt on guitars. One band, six distinct personalities — The Flob paints an oddly harmonious picture, where each member has their own place to shine. The band tells Urbanist: “without any of the six members, The Flob will...flop.”

The Flob's members: Quang Chiến, Minh Tân, Hồ Nam, Gia Kiệt, Gia Lộc, and Duy An (in order form left to right, top to bottom). Photo via Hội Nghe.

Having been friends before starting the band, The Flob quickly found synergy. That is also a reason why they could finish products and projects so quickly with almost no disagreement. For example, the process of making their EP “Sống Sai" took merely four months — from mid-February until the end of June 2020. Their most intense argument — whether or not to change the beat of the song ‘Alright’ from 3/4 to 4/4 — lasted for about half an hour. In the end, both versions of the song were released along with five other titles in the EP. 

Gia Lộc and Minh Tân reveal that each song in the EP reflects the inner child of each member. “The six songs are like six favorite pieces of toys that we brought to play together. The toys appear on the cover of the EP. For us, “Sống Sai" varies in genre, is highly experimental, and highlights the members’ taste.”

The "Sống Sai" cover.

Throughout the EP, the emotions will constantly change for listeners, beginning with the interlude "Tạo Tác Từ Đất Sét" — an upbeat instrumental piece brimming with positivity that was inspired by the idea of reincarnation. Gia Kiệt, the “father" of the idea, says: “I used the image of clay because objects made of clay will crumble at some point, but they can be recycled. No pottery is the same, so it is with humans. Even for twins or triplets, everybody is unique.” Hồ Nam, who contributed the classy guitar solo at the end of the song, continues: “I want to emphasize the little meanings in life, and that our lives are always filled with every aspect of emotions and experiences.”

Next up is a pleasantly funky song named “Sống Sai,” whose lyrics convey an optimistic message: cheering on the youth to be different, to overcome pressure and prejudice. Afterward comes “Vegas,” a song that was almost left out of the EP. Gia Lộc reminisces: “I finished this song when there was only a week left before we had to send it to the label. This song was inspired by a teaser released by one of my favorite bands: Bring Me The Horizon. You can clearly tell that 'Vegas' is completely different from the rest of the EP. It has electronic elements as well as a very colorful MV.”

Behind the scenes of the “Sống Sai" MV at the Ho Chi Minh City Zoo.

After jamming to the EDM that is "Vegas," listeners are once again welcomed to the mellow, melancholic tunes in "Có Ai Không," as well as the innocent affection of a young man in "Đông Rồi Tây," and finally the comfort and reassurance that "Alright" brings.

To complete the project, The Flob sought the help of many friends and colleagues, such as a band from the International University and sound engineer Trần Đặng Hoàng Mỹ.

It is safe to say that “Sống Sai" was a huge step for every member of the band. Though it couldn't yet compare to “the growth of Thánh Gióng,” The Flob most definitely stepped out of their comfort zone to experiment with a wider spectrum of music.

"We don’t necessarily want to give our musical genre a specific name, so let’s just call it the music played by six people,” Gia Lộc affirms. They understand each other better and grow to be more professional after the first EP. At one point, they were also afraid that things were too rushed and fragmented, as they didn't get to practice much during the lockdown. But now, The Flob is stronger and ready to take on all challenges.

If you want to go far, go together.

Although the members of The Flob are still very young, their lyrics say otherwise.  Gia Lộc, the band's main composer, shares “These words seem very personal but I promise my life is not that tragic. I often borrow stories from other people and turn them into music. For instance, "Mấy Khi" was inspired by the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, "Nhất Bái Thiên Địa" was written about child marriage, etc. I also read books and meet new people to gain more creative material.”

Beyond music, the young friends also have individual ambitions. While Gia Lộc wants to explore fashion, Hồ Nam wants to test the role of a director, and Duy An has a passion for IT. Duy An shares that he leans more toward music because a corporate IT job won't be as exciting as playing the keyboard on stage. Hồ Nam believes that he can balance both passions as they are both related to art. Moreover, every band needs an art director to take care of the images and music videos.

The Flob's passionate performance at the Nguyễn Hữu Huân Folk Fair. Photos by Hoàng Nguyễn.

One important factor that helped The Flob achieve remarkable success for their first EP was their aim for perfection and professionalism despite a lack of resources. With that mentality, the band wishes to become more professional in the studio and on the stage. Newer products will continue to be better than the ones before. Live performances will have dancers, smoke effects, lighting that goes with the music, and much more. Gia Lộc says with confidence: “If we do something, we want to be the best in the field! We want to create large-scale, top-notch live performances, making a name for ourselves so that others in the field will always remember us and refer to us.”

The Flob also teases their plan to return to the stage. “Once the pandemic is under control, we are going all-out,” Gia Lộc says. In the near future, The Flob hopes that their music will be more widely appreciated. They don't necessarily relate themselves to an indie band approaching mainstream because, after all, there is never a specific boundary when it comes to music.

The Flob performing at Saigon's countdown event 2021.

[Photos courtesy of The Flob]

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