One of the things that strike you immediately about Austin is its vibrant music scene. It honestly to the outsider seems to be an intrinsic part of most Austinites daily lives. That said, the out-and-out numbers of up–and-coming musicians with talent that frequent Austin’s concert halls, live music venues, festivals and dive bars is not only heartening to see, but incredible.
One of those amazing bright talents that I allude to, is Megan Flechaus, a jazz, blues, and folk-influenced singer-songwriter, who began writing and playing guitar when she was 15 years old. Of course, ever since those early days, Megan took it upon herself to keenly develop her love for music, which eventually saw her release her debut album New, in 2014. A year later, she moved to Austin, TX, where she embarked on a musical odyssey, playing in a number of bands, before forming her own band FlecHaus in 2017, a talented quintet that has to date recorded six singles.
A mutual friend introduced me to Megan late last year, but more recently I was thrilled to finally catch up with her. I was immediately impressed by her enthusiasm and love for music that I couldn’t let this chance slip by without us having a chat. Here are some of the things we talked about.
What was the inspiration behind why you wanted to play music?
Generally, I’ve always loved music and singing, but what got me motivated to really start learning to play guitar and set out on my songwriting adventure was a YouTube video from back when YouTube was just turning into a thing. It was an artist named Terra Naomi and her song, “Say It’s Possible,” that blew my mind and made me decide, “I want to do that!” That night, I dug my father’s old guitar out of the basement and started learning.
Is it fair to say that as an artist, you are always looking to create something new or different? I don’t think I’ve really heard you cover over old ground yet?
Yes! Perhaps to a fault. I try really hard to not write any two songs that are too similar, it sometimes gets in my way and blocks me up. I definitely have some material that mulls over similar topics or has a similar feel to a previously written song. There are only so many notes, so it’s unavoidable. I also find beauty in classic sounds. I have a great deal of unreleased material that follows a bluegrass-gospel style. There’s something about it that just feels so good to write and sing within. It’s such an open sound with lots of room for jamming and harmony which I love. I tend not to release that material, though, because there is so much of it already out there and has been for such a long time.
What do you see in your minds eye when you sit down to write a song? Are you thinking about how it might best sound live or is it a little more personal than that?
I wouldn’t say I see anything in my minds eye, but rather hear it in my mind’s ear. Sometimes, when I write a song, I can hear the whole production right off the bat, it all comes out at once. Other times I am focused mainly on the lyrical content and they way it is conveyed through sound. Words are so powerful, sounds are so powerful, put the two together and a message can transform into something greater.
What was the first real important album that you listen to growing up that inspired you? And why?
I come from a playlist generation, so it’s hard to credit a single album. I can tell you that my parents listened to a great deal of Bruce Springsteen as I was growing up, and I feel his influence in my work a lot. The main influence was his poetry. He has a knack for making the mundane shine in a sort of gilded light. On top of that, I find his productions are often impactful and, I don’t think I even need to mention his performance energy.
Megan, can you please tell me about how you went about developing your abilities as a guitarists? I also understand you love the upright bass?
I spent A LOT of time playing, especially in later high school and early college. I was constantly writing new material and playing around until I found a chord voicing that I liked. Then I would just let my freak flag fly and try out all kind of timing changes and strange pick patterns. Take those things and add time, and that’s how I got here. I am now retroactively trying to learn more about music theory to enhance my writing. The upright, YES! I am obsessed. I have been playing it for a little over a year now and I can’t get enough. A lot of my new theory knowledge has come through learning the bass and playing in the two groups I play bass for, Sunshiner and Light Meets Mind. Between my bass instructor and my bandmates, I feel I’ve come so far in this one year.
Can you tell me something surprising about your early beginnings as a musician?
I think the most fun fact about my early musicianship is that I learned in secret for about 6 months before telling my family that I was a musician. I would come home from school and be the first one home. I would run straight up to my room and practice until I saw a car in my driveway, at which point, I would hide the guitar under my bed. My first performance was for my parents in my living room and it remains, to this day, the most terrifying performance of my life. When I finished, they were so excited. My parents are still my biggest fans, biggest critics, and business partners as co-owners of my LLC. I’m so grateful!
Tell me about the formidable bond you have created around your new band FlecHaus? How did you all meet?
I am so fortunate for the musicians and friends I have found here in Austin. FlecHaus started when I met Dominick Chaillot (our bassist) at a friend’s party. He was jamming on his bass in the corner and I was a few sheets to the wind, so I started scatting over his bass line and surprisingly, he still wanted to play music with me. Later on, we asked our friend Kenzie Slottow (our flutist) to join as she is just an astounding musician and flutist. Then, I approached Sara (our supporting vocalist) to join next. She and I had played in a band called Lady Jams together for some time before that, so I knew she had a special skill for harmony, a beautiful and powerful voice, and such a sense of humor. Nathan Smith, the drummer you hear on our recordings, joined shortly after that. We met him through Kenzie. That was the crew for several months until Nathan got accepted to Berkley in Spain for a masters program in marimba performance! We went through several iterations after he left and finally found Daniel Robertson. I met him through a group I used to play bass for. He has been a wonderful addition to the band family!
Previously Megan, you haven’t been shy in releasing an EP and an album back in 2014. I guess what I’m interested in understanding is why you guys chose to release a series of six singles, individually and not as an EP this time around. Can you elaborate on this briefly?
Of course! This has been my first year as a full time musician and business woman. I’m doing lots of trial and error trying to build my career. One of the main reasons I decided to release them all separately was to test different release and marketing strategies on each one and not have to pay for a whole record every time I wanted to try a new idea. (Those are pretty pricey). I also noticed that when I released my record in 2014 that sales spiked, and then died. I wanted to see the effect of a more gradual release on those stats.
Recently I interviewed Molly Burch who is based in Austin, Texas. You are also based in Austin. What is it about this amazing city that makes most musicians attracted to it like a magnet?
The most amazing thing is the plethora of insanely talented people who all want to collaborate. I personally know countless musicians who blow minds. You can go out and see music whenever you want, or you can just have your friends over for a jam or a house concert. No matter where you go, you’re watching a killer performance.
Finally, it feels like FlecHaus are on the cusp of something big. What are your hopes for 2018?
In 2018, we hope to gain some more local following and just keep that train a-chuggin! We’re going to keep playing shows and putting ourselves out there! I’d love to see about starting a new set of recordings and maybe even a short tour this year as well!
FlecHaus’ latest single Tell Me Something, including all their previous releases are available through cdbaby and iTunes. Megan Flechaus solo album New is also available through cdbaby and iTunes.
You can connect with Megan Flechaus via her Facebook page or twitter feed @mflecmusic. You can also visit or contact Megan via her website. Watch her on You Tube.
Photo credit: The header image is courtesy of Megan Flechaus and photographed by Stacy Miller. It cannot be used without their expressed permission. I am not the uploader of You Tube clips embedded.