Doom Flamingo: Under One Sky, No Matter the Weather 

Alex H. Krinsky on January 31, 2023
Doom Flamingo: Under One Sky, No Matter the Weather 

photo: Paul Chelmis


“There’s something about being connected in the rain at music festivals, being outside, being part of the elements— you’re in it as a team,” says Doom Flamingo bassist Ryan Stasik, while calling from the band’s home base of Charleston, S.C., fresh off a recording session with keyboardist Ross Bogan. “That means all of the workers, all of the fans, all of the bands, the entire production team, the entire crew—everyone. When rain or a storm or mother nature hits, you’re all part of it, and that storm is going to dictate what’s going to happen next.”

The realization that a storm is coming— the smell of petrichor, electricity in the air—can be a truly uniting experience. And the synth-wave band attempts to capture that feeling, like lightning in a bottle, on their first live album, In the Rain (Live).

This past August, while seeking shelter in the SeatGeek Arena during a storm that impacted the Sacred Rose Festival just outside Chicago, Bogan was taking in the situation and admiring the silence when he began to think about a few recent shows that had the “extra variable that comes in and changes the performance.” At the time, he had a lot to look back on.


Before the pandemic, Doom Flamingo had just started to gain traction. In certain ways, they were a concept band from the start. “We had a little bit of a storyline going for ‘Domingo,’ the Doom Flamingo character. You didn’t know if he was a good guy or a bad guy. Everybody had a superpower, and we were a team—we had drawings, sketches and ideas for comic books. So we dug in deep,” Stasik says.

Sadly, some of the ensemble’s immersive ideas seemed to get lost in the shuffle of pandemic-related cancellations, but, like a storm at a festival, Doom Flamingo still took action during the unrest and pivoted in other areas. The founding members of Doom Flamingo— Bogan, Umphrey’s McGee co-founder Stasik, singer Kanika Moore, guitarist Thomas Kenney and saxophonist Mike Quinn—were all living in the Charleston area during those cloudy days, but they found some light by being able to record together and, often times, even surf together.

When the time came to reemerge, they had unwittingly locked into their sound—one based in guttural emotion, creative freedom and a demand for human response.

“The core of what we do is we want to make everybody dance and feel good and have a good time. But, we’re also artists, and we all just went through a pandemic together. We all live these crazy lives full of different struggles—and that always needs to be expressed. And if you can dance while we’re expressing all of that, then even better,” Bogan says with a laugh.

Kenney seconds his bandmate’s sentiment: “Pro musicians are always trying to play to the room, and sometimes you gotta play to the sky, too. They can then hop on the astral plane and come back with whatever ancestral knowledge they find and, hopefully, make this life a little easier. Wherever they go—who knows. The trance state that one can slip into—the out-of-body, purely experiential state of mind and body—we’ve all been there. To me, this is music’s most sacred function, instead of being pure entertainment. Dance music from all over the world is designed to be hypnotic and trance-inducing, and that’s what I’m going for in any band I play in. That’s where the healing is. Music binds individuals to communities, ancestors, nature and whatever is beyond nature. Music is also a tool. You can use it to cause chaos, or you can use it to heal.”

The ability to walk the line between chaos and healing is one of Doom Flamingo’s biggest draws. “I like that we have both ‘Doom’ and ‘Flamingo’ in our name because it allows us to really vary from both sides of the spectrum,” says Stasik, who helped form the group upon connecting with his new local musical community after relocating to the Charleston area, in part, to have a different outlet than a traditional jamband. “It can be dark like a vampire in a strip club with a switchblade or it can be very flamingo, very beachy with palm trees and sunsets. I like that we’re able to channel that vibe nightly, depending on the room, the song or just where we’re playing. It’s fun to not be pigeonholed to just one little genre. The dark and light, the ying and the yang is a fun thing to write with.”

“I think the dark stuff most immediately and readily elicits emotion, so we are often drawn to it,” Quinn says. “It is more difficult to conjure raw emotions with happier music. It’s also quite fun to dip into the dark side—it serves the soul in a primal way that certainly lends itself to great performance, [including visual elements like Moore wearing wings and rolling around on the stage]. There is something animal and awesome about it.”

That trademark mix is on full display on their cover of Tears for Fear’s “Mad World” on In The Rain (Live). Bogan’s experimental and inventive synthesizers open the door to the “Doom,” while Stasik’s vast experience playing heavier music removes any fear about going through it. (In addition to Umphrey’s McGee’s heavier moments, Stasik is able to express his punky metal inclinations with his side-project Death Kings.)

Most of the members of Doom Flamingo were staples on the Charleston music circuit long before their current project coalesced and, within the band’s defined parameters, they are still able to channel the energy of the loose jam sessions they regularly participate in at venues like the Pour House. Kenney adds some funk to the mix, Quinn’s saxophone often has a jazzy touch and percussionist Sean Bing, who joined the ensemble more recently, maintains a driving groove. Through this live exploration, they get so high off the ground that one can’t separate the Doom from the Flamingo, light from the dark or the members from each other. It’s a true jam—a collective expression of oneness that pulls crowds in like a black hole with a neon halo.

“Kanika is able to just own a song in general—her singing can totally make a song sound very different. I think that palpable chaos is us expressing our own chaos and the chaos of the world coming together,” says Bogan of the cover of “Mad World.” “Music is something that brings us together during this crazy time, and I love those moments when we play live where it is chaos. But, in that song, we hit a moment where we can play anything, any note—any sound—and it would still work because it’s the ultimate expression of chaos.”

In the Rain (Live) serves as an introduction to Doom Flamingo’s onstage sound while documenting their return to the fray, equipped with dynamic versatility and a deep desire to connect through music. All of the performances on the 11-track live album–which were mixed by Coast Records’ Matthew Zutell and mastered by For The Record’s Matt Garber—shine with the ensemble’s collaborative ethos. Road-tested live staples like “F-16” and “Runaway” have felt reborn since Doom Flamingo returned to the road while newer songs like “Lux Noir” expand on their dark and sensual pathos.

“The Queen set [May 27, 2022, at Summer Camp Music Festival] was really special for us because, when listening to Queen initially, we were all intimidated by doing an entire Queen set, and I’m sure Kanika definitely was too, especially ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ [which is featured on the live album]. That is definitely the song that proves to be the most difficult to cover. If I could think of just any popular rock song or classic song it’s Mount Everest,” Bogan says with a laugh. “I think after we pulled that off, I really don’t feel intimidated by covering anything else. The sky’s the limit.”


With their summer tour behind them, and In The Rain (Live) mixed, mastered and streaming, Doom Flamingo have gravitated back the studio, furthering their exploration of a “pop-oriented, sexual, synth-wave, ‘80s sound for the future.” The first taste of the record, Peaches & Bobbi—which will be released on January 13, 2023—comes in the form of “Evil,” the title of which Stasik feels, “might make you think of darkness or something like that, but the song itself is very much a bop.”

He continues, “It’s not scary, it’s not frightening. There’s a little twist. I’m very proud of the upcoming record. It does have darker undertones, but that is not everything. I wish I could speak in colors, like purple, dark blue or black—it has more than just that vibe and essence, and there’s some fun in there. There’s some darkness, and then there’s some Flamingo, too.”

There is a substantial difference between Doom Flamingo’s live album and this first cut, but it’s easy to see how one feeds the other. Their forthcoming effort will also be their first studio album with Bing on percussion, and all the members of the band are excited to document their current lineup.

“[The studio] is so fun that I can’t even describe it,” Kenney says. “I rarely laugh as hard as I do when hanging with the Doom family. Everyone is way too funny for their own good. We’re all super happy to be playing, so the buzz is just good energy. The live feel bleeds into the studio in a direct way.”

On the upcoming LP, “Kanika’s got a theme about these two characters that she’s writing through,” Bogan says, while keeping the details under wraps. “As a band, we’ve written conceptually, but we inject a lot of ourselves into it as well. I think that’s something that we’ve always done a lot of.”

Until they inevitably return to outdoor festival stages in the coming months, Doom Flamingo are spending time on the home front and with other collaborations—Kanika is currently touring with TAUK, Stasik will celebrate Umphrey’s McGee’s silver anniversary in January and Bogan is focusing on his new project Wolf Mask. Yet, Doom Flamingo remains a priority for each member of the ensemble. As Bogan says, “This album is our biggest form of self-expression yet.”