Today (November 11), Flowerkid has released his six-track debut EP ‘Everyone Has A Breaking Point’, via Warner Music Australia.
Since introducing himself in 2018 with the sparse, gripping ballad ‘Boy with the Windfields and the Wild Heart’, the now 20-year-old Flowerkid – aka Western Sydney artist Flynn Sant – has established himself as one of Australia’s most lyrically fearless pop artists.
On his EP, Sant dives deep into his experiences with sexual assault (‘I Met The Devil At 4 Years Old’), mental health and gender dysphoria as a trans man. Sonically, ‘Everyone Has A Breaking Point’ shifts between folk confessionals, Auto-Tuned trap (‘I Met The Devil…’), and drum ’n’ bass breakdowns, as on standout and opening track ‘It’s Happening Again’ featuring Perth’s Kučka, where skittering waves evoke an impending crash. Inviting repeat listens, the EP’s wide scope is unified by Sant’s sheer openness, transforming fragility into his greatest strength.
Read on for NME’s chat with Sant about his own breaking point, the compulsion to be understood, and the importance of accepting people’s growth.
The EP title is ‘Everyone Has A Breaking Point’: I was curious whether you’ve discovered yours.
“I chose ‘Everyone Has A Breaking Point’ as a title as I compiled [in the EP] all of these hardships in my life and how I neglected them for such a long time, which led to my breaking point this year.
“I had a psychosis: I completely lost my marbles for a good period of time. The neglect of my mental health brought me up to this point – I was on top of the world in a weird way, it was a manic type of psychosis. I thought I knew the answer to absolutely everything, [I was] trying to be everyone and everything at once. It was a very bad time for me.”
Your lyrics are pretty visceral: even when you’ve heard the track before, they can really just hit you. Were there any that you considered cutting, because they were a bit too intense or personal?
“I had a couple of those. Like in ‘Vodka Orange Juice’, I just openly say I’ve tried to commit suicide, and in ‘I Met The Devil At 4 Years Old’, there’s the mention of suicide again, quite graphically. I was really afraid of a couple of lyrics just because of how brutally honest they were. It was stripping me apart. But I’d say ‘I Met The Devil…’ was the one I was most afraid of – it spoke about religion and abuse that happened to me when I was little.”
Is part of the compulsion to be so honest in your music that you don’t want to leave any room to be misunderstood, given the weight of the topics?
“For sure. I’m scared of being misinterpreted. I don’t want to say something that’s gonna offend people, which was really tricky with all of the songs having such sensitive topics. If I’m not straight to the point, it’s washing over the topics that I want to talk about specifically – I just decided, ‘no, you’re going to be fucking honest about this’. And when it feels the most vulnerable, where I’m sick to my stomach and scared of the release, it means that I’ve done the most honest thing I can do. And that just makes me fulfilled, to be honest.”
You’ve spoken about going the negatives of going to a Catholic school and leaving in Year 10. Now that it’s been four years, has anybody from that past reached out to you?
“I’ve run into a few teachers that just say they’re proud of me, and that they knew I’d go far, la di da…. But a couple of the boys did message me and say, ‘congratulations on what you’re doing, you’re doing great and, you know, good job’. The ones that did talk to me were lovely, and the ones that probably didn’t want to be lovely [are] talking behind my back because they’re scared to come and do it to my face. [laughs]”
How does it feel to hear those things now: is it too little too late, or is it still something that you appreciate?
“I appreciate anyone that takes the time to say ‘good job’. I believe in second chances and that people can grow and change, especially when they leave high school. High school is just a zoo of hormonal people forced to see each other every single day, and some people are horrible in that circumstance.”
The song ‘It’s Happening Again’ almost evokes a mantra, with its D’n’B waves crashing in repeatedly. Are you telling yourself that since you’ve been through these feelings before, they’ll pass again?
“‘It’s Happening Again’ originally started on the feeling of ‘this depression and my mental health is spiking again’, then having the circumstance of being in a relationship where I wasn’t supported, and trying to plead that this is happening to me.
“The music video shows the different sections of my mind and how it feels – like drowning, like I’m in a car with no control. Just experiencing the whiplash of these emotions and all of these different circumstances whilst not being supported, and plummeting back to the low that I know. I’ve already experienced it once before, I don’t want to experience it again.”
Coming back to your psychotic episode, how did that change your EP?
“It changed a lot of things in terms of scheduling. I couldn’t do my work for a while, a lot of the songs that were going to be on the EP were put on pause. It was really hard to transition back to reality, and it did put a lot of stress on my career and myself and how I function. But I’m a lot better now. I got a good support network with lots of doctors and at home with my girlfriend, my auntie, my mum. I’m in the healing process.”
Flowerkid’s ‘Everyone Has A Breaking Point’ is out now via Warner Music Australia