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Floating near the western shores of the Persian Gulf is the Kingdom of Bahrain, the desert country where Charles Prest, Sam Rowe, Craig Doporto and Kamal Rasool grew up together, joining forces on various musical projects and detangling myriad influences from other lands and times. At the same time Karthik Poduval, unknown to them as of yet, was being familiarised to a life similarly sated with a rich pick & mix culture only 500 km away, in the city of Dubai, and previously Saudi Arabia, Italy and Albania.
Kamal started a bedroom project in 2009 in which he attempted to make experimental music that captured the imagery and spirituality of far flung cultures. He recorde the first Flamingods tracks in his room, occasionally jamming and recording with other soon-to-be members. Having no specific scheme in place for the long term life of Flamingods, the next few years would see the eventual members relocating to the UK whereupon Karthik was discovered and quickly assimilated into the fray.
A band identity had not yet formed but one fateful 8-hour chalet jam at the Animal Collective curated ATP Festival in 2010 later and Flamingods had officially graduated from its initial solo bedroom project in Bahrain to a fully-fledged band.
Kamal said of it in an interview with Loud and Quiet, “We did actually start the band at ATP in 2010. We brought some instruments down to just jam with in our room, and then people walking past would be like, ‘oh, we want to play too,’ and it was just incredible because people were climbing in through our window, and I gave them pots and pans to play… it was just insane. We had 60 people crammed into our chalet and people dancing outside. It got a bit out of control and turned a bit dark. All the lights went off” with Sam adding “It was like a constantly changing band. People would leave but others would then come in. We couldn’t stop it and it turned into a monster of its own. It went on for eight hours.”
Flamingods recorded their first studio album in 2012 in Sound Savers Recording Studio in Homerton, London, and soon after teamed up with Art is Hard Records to release the album in January of 2013. The lead single “Quesso” featured former Ponytail and Ecstatic Sunshine guitarist Dustin Wong. “Sun” received positive reviews from Line of Best Fit who wrote “It is an album that deserves your attention. The complex and dense interplay of all the instruments create beautiful substrata of harmony and rhythm that makes each new listen as rewarding as the last” as well as from The 405 who in describing the band wrote “They are a five-piece based out of the UK, fusing together Asian polyphonic textures, African rhythms, and the occasional pop sensibility into something of a freak-folk blush”.While being informed by the imagery, music and concepts of far-flung cultures, experimental, psych, rock and pop acts also inspired much of the early works of Flamingods. Bands such as Boredoms, Animal Collective, Sun Araw, Sun City Girls and Deerhunter have been cited as early influences.
When visa laws changed in the UK two months before Kamal was due to graduate from university, he was required to leave upon graduation. He first moved back t Bahrain before taking up a job in Dubai. Charles would soon also move to Dubai to live and work. Instead of splitting up, the members started writing the music for their next project using their computers with all communication and ideas being shared over the internet.
This eventually became their second album release titled “Hyperborea” (2014) - released on Welsh indie label Shape Records - and received many positive reviews, earning a 8/10 by NME, a spot as The Guardian’s “Band of the Week” and receiving praise from Dazed who wrote “This kind of global-minded psychedelia, created by musicians living across the world from one another, could only have been made in 2014 – and yet Flamingods sound like nothing else right now.” In the wake of Hyperborea’s release Flamingods performed at music festivals including Milhões de Festa, Glastonbury Festival, Latitude and many others.
In 2015, Flamingods released a remix follow up to 2013’s “Sun” via Portuguese label Lovers and Lollypops. Titled “Moon”, the album featured remixes by Dustin Wong, My Panda Shall Fly, Hypnotized, Shinamo Moki, Happy Cat, Kuro BC and Zequals amongst others.
In January 2016, Flamingods announced their signing with Soundway Records and soon after released a single titled “Rhama” along with the announcement of their third studio album “Majesty” (3 June 2016).
Flamingods are: Kamal Rasool, Craig Doporto, Charles Prest, Sam Rowe and Karthik Poduval
“An explosion of instruments from all over the world and genres that shouldn’t quite go together… Flamingods sound like nothing else right now”. DAZED
“The five artists experiment with instruments sourced across the world and never fail to impress us with their exotic, and at times trippy, wonder music” i-D
“Eastern and African flavours sieved through psychedelic prisms of pulsating neon and flickering campfires, think Goat meets Tinariwen at Hawkwind’s BBQ” West Holts Stage, Glastonbury
“Prepare to be bombarded by bliss… Out of this world music.” The Guardian