Man of the Flood are going with the flow
Ready to release full-length album on PFW's label
Man of the Flood are proving they are far from being in over their heads.
Already a favorite at Purdue University Fort Wayne, where four of the five members attend, the group that describes themselves as “alt-indie-pop-rock” are extending their reach, have a record label, and are set to release their first full-length album.
“The format of an album really gives you so much more freedom to flesh out ideas you’re putting in it, whereas an EP might only be 15 minutes long,” lead singer and guitarist Quinn Heiking said.
Saying their upcoming record, Crystal Bawl, will be a concept album of a psychic losing his ability to see into the future, the group are preparing for its Sept. 9 release on streaming services.
Creating a group
Growing up in Fishers, Heiking and drummer Clayton Beehler met in fifth grade, forging a quick bond and forming Shiver and The Shakes. The pair also went to high school with saxophonist/guitarist Saber Agnew, and met bassist Brad Steinley early in their freshman years at PFW: forming the initial Man of the Flood.
Having already released an EP, Where It’s Warm, and single, “Honey,” the four met keyboardist Jess Grant in an unconventional way in the spring of 2021.
“We met her because she put business cards with her social media info under our door,” Beehler said.
And they weren’t alone.
While school had returned, social interaction was limited at the time, leading Grant to get creative, sliding the cards under every door in her building.
“I just wanted friends,” the Napoleon, Ohio, native said. “With COVID going on, there wasn’t much going on to meet any friends. So, I was like, ‘Here’s a way I can meet people,’ and they were the only ones that replied and asked to hang out with me.”
After a couple weeks, the group realized Grant was a piano major and could sing, so they asked her to stop by one day to ask if she’d be interested in joining. Instead of being amped to stop by, Grant says she was pretty nervous: “I thought they were going to say they didn’t want to hang out anymore,” she said.
Instead, she was able to take over keyboard duties at live shows, which Man of the Flood wasn’t able to do before that since Heiking had played the instrument on the recordings.
“We were interested in having a female vocal, because it pairs nicely with harmonies,” Heiking said. “We also needed someone to play keys, because it’s a shame to play shows with all the synth solos, but not have anyone to play those.”
With Grant in the fold, the group recorded another single, “Lights Out,” and released their Vessel EP on June 18, 2021.
Signing with PFW label
After playing at The Clyde Theatre in November 2021, the group released a live version of “Sin” on their new record label, PFW’s Gold Top Music Group.
“They had been pretty active in the Fort Wayne area before they signed,” said Jason Lundgren, a PFW professor and member of the label’s executive group. “We had heard them at an event, and were pretty impressed. We saw a lot of potential in them, and they’ve continued to get better and better.”
And if that improvement does continue, Lundgren foresees Gold Top Music Group being a valuable teaching tool.
“(Before signing the contract), they sat down in a room with all of us, including lawyers, but my role was kind of to facilitate what exactly is the deal you’re going to be signing, what’s normal and what are we giving you, and just kind of walking them through that,” he said. “Hopefully, someday down the road, they make it big and want to get signed by some massive record company out of Nashville or L.A., or someplace like that, and they have a strong understanding of what a good deal should actually look like.”
Along with getting experience, signing with the label also gives Man of the Flood time at the PFW Sweetwater Music Center.
“The best benefit is getting the studio time,” Beehler said.
Recording the first two EPs in Heiking’s dorm room under the label name “dorm tunes,” the band now has a professional setting, but Heiking admits to missing the spontaneity of recording in his room.
“I’m pretty comfortable in that (Music Center) studio, so the comfort level hasn’t changed a whole lot, but there’s definitely something to be said for waking up, and saying, ‘Oh, I’m going to go to my desk and work on it,’ instead of going to the studio, which is like 15 minutes away, and you have to schedule a time,” he said. “That’s changed things a bit, but it’s fun.”
While studio time is nice, Heiking said creative freedom was the biggest sticking point before signing.
“We’ve had a lot of freedom to do things our own way,” he said. “When we were talking with them about signing, it was like, ‘We’re down to sign and we’d love to be a part of this, but we still want to be making it ourselves, guiding the art and branding in-house, and letting the label be more of a support.’ ”
Working in the studio, the band began working on their first full-length album, releasing singles “Shotgun” in April, “Clouds” in May, and “Crystal Bawl” in late June. The final single to be released was “A Light On in the Window,” which just hitting streaming services on Aug. 19.
Saying they draw inspiration from bands like Hippo Campus and Djo, Man of the Flood said this album will be a bit different than their previous releases.
“There’s more funk in it,” Beehler said. “You can hear that in ‘Clouds’ already, but there’s also another song that’s almost all funk.”
To celebrate the release of the album, Gold Top Music Group is hosting a free concert on campus near Student Housing with Man of the Flood joined by Secondhand Denim and Jackie Verna. There will also be food trucks.
“We’re going to be doing a lot of marketing with it,” Lundgren said, mentioning physical copies of the album will be available at the show.