Band Development Program

“High school kids having fun with their friends…while occasionally writing hit songs!”

This is how Nik, Carson, Colin, Nate and Ethan playfully, but with a strong hint of seriousness describe the band they created and have grown together in…Flipside. They’ve just released their first single…Zero Gravity, available now and can’t wait for you to hear it!

But there really is so much more to the story. So, in anticipation of the exciting release of Zero Gravity, Passion Academy sat down with these boy wonders of the songwriting world, in order to give you a peek into the boys, the band, and of course their new breakout song!

Passion Academy: Hey guys, congrats on the single! How does it feel?

Flipside: A lot of excitement, but a lot of pressure at the same time. This is the first song we’ve ever formally introduced to others, our first real step, and really the first song we’ve all contributed towards together. We’ve worked hard on it so we’re excited to have people hear it!

Passion Academy: What was the writing process like for you guys?

Flipside: It was very formative for us, especially for Nate and Ethan who did a lot of the arranging. But we couldn’t have done it without the help of our mentors, especially Joel Woods. It was great that he allowed us the freedom to be creative while giving us great suggestions along the way and helping us put it all together.

Passion Academy: The song title, Zero Gravity is really catchy and creative. What is the song about?

Flipside: Well, it’s kind of hard to describe, but you know that feeling, like in a car, where you’re standing still, but everything else around you is going by really fast? Well that’s the idea behind Zero Gravity. It has a lot to do with feeling a little bit stuck…in limbo…you can’t decide which way you should go in life, even though it’s all moving so fast. You just don’t always know where to go or what to do. It’s about the search for how to get unstuck, because at the end of the day you have to move forward somehow. We just don’t always know how.

Passion Academy: Wow, that’s great stuff! What do you hope people will hear when they listen to it?

Flipside: We just hope will be able to relate to it, and we think that they will. We’ve all felt like stuck at some point, and we all have the desire to get unstuck. But, we also hope the song will come across as listenable too, that people will get a lot of enjoyment from listening to it both musically and lyrically.

Passion Academy: Well, I know that your mentors and Passion Academy have enjoyed helping you get this thing done. Can you share with us a little about what Passion has meant to you?

Flipside: We really couldn’t have done it without Passion Academy. They’ve made us feel comfortable creating it all, they’ve allowed us to get exposure by playing in different places, they’ve made sure we had equipment to use, and they were instrumental in putting us all together. Because of that we’ve all become good friends and have stayed that way. Even our parents have become friends through all of this. We definitely want to thank them too. They’ve supported us in so many ways.

Passion Academy: Well mom and dad…what do you have to say?

Flipside (parents): We’re just so grateful for the opportunity they are getting to be creative and to build good relationships. We’d love to see them stay together, continue to enjoy each other, and to enjoy the process. Plus we all like to go on campouts together, so we hope that continues!

Passion Academy: What do you think guys…more to come?

Flipside: We definitely would like to keep playing together, like we said, “just a bunch of high school kids having fun together…occasionally writing hit songs!” Plus you know our band name is Flipside; when you play a record on one side and then flip it over you’re going to get something different. In life we’re all searching for a center, but along the way there are lots of different and sometimes unexpected things that happen. We can’t wait to see what happens next for us.

Passion Academy: Well, we can’t wait to see what happens next either, but thanks for letting Passion Academy be a part of the process along the way!

Purchase/Listen to Flipside’s new single Zero Gravity here (Released November 2017)



Colin Richter

Colin has been singing and playing guitar since he was 10 and has performed at various events throughout the Richmond area, both with Flipside and as a solo artist. As a sophomore at Glen Allen High School he has also been heavily involved in the school chorus program. Colin loves music, but also enjoys playing on his school’s tennis team and really loves to ski. One of his favorite past times is skiing locally during the winter weekends. But he has also been able to take some trips to the slopes out West. “I feel so fortunate to be a part of Flipside. We all look forward to practicing and performing together so much. It has been a great experience.”

Nikolas Dore

Nik is 15 years old and plays guitar for Flipside. He started playing music when he was 7 years old by taking lessons at the YMCA before later coming to Passion Academy and is a fan of all types of music. He especially loves playing contemporary and alternative stuff. When he’s not practicing with the band he’s either spending time with friends and family, or of course doing school work, but he definitely has ambitions for the future regarding his music. “I’d really love to master music theory, as well as write songs like Zero Gravity that can be released on different platforms to a larger audience. I also really appreciate music as an outlet for the day-to-day stresses in life and I love the fact that Flipside is filled with people who aren’t just good at playing their instruments but who are also good friends of mine.”

Ethan Johnston

15-year old Ethan Johnston is the drummer for Flipside and currently attends Clover Hill High School. Music is definitely a great stress reliever for Ethan and he also enjoys playing trumpet, piano and admits he recently took up the French horn. In addition to video games, and of course playing with Flipside, he also likes to play soccer. He started with the band when he was just in fifth grade and is so grateful to be a part of it. “Playing in Flipside is great because we share and play music as a collective group and we’ve formed strong friendships over the past five years. It’s been fun and challenging writing our own stuff instead of always playing other people’s stuff. We’ve written five original songs together and we’re so proud of them.” Ethan has especially enjoyed his experience at Passion Academy and looks forward to his Thursday practices there with the group. “Playing at Passion Academy has provided us with many great opportunities to learn to play as a group, create our own music, and they’ve been real supportive with helping us play in public.”

Nate Sage

Nate is currently a 13-year old eighth grader and started playing piano when he was 7 years old. In addition to playing in Flipside, he also gets to play trombone in the school band at Liberty Middle School and really loves experimenting with electronic music, using programs like Ableton to test his creative limits. Nate has been in many school plays and other musical performances and often plays in church. He really hopes to make music a career. “I love music because I get a sense of accomplishment when I play well. I like the ability to be creative and to explore all the possibilities of what can be done artistically. I enjoy our band Flipside because we are all such great friends and work so well as a team. I am excited about putting the song out because I think it is the best song we’ve written and produced. We are all really proud of it.”

Carson Elliott

Carson is a freshman at Glen Allen High School.  In addition to playing bass guitar for Flipside, he also plays tenor saxophone, electric guitar, and ukulele.  Carson’s musical taste ranges from The Shins to Muse to The Beach Boys.  He enjoys playing volleyball for Glen Allen High School and Richmond Volleyball Club, swimming, playing VR and video games, and hanging out at the beach.  Carson loves travel and has been to 34 countries so far.  His favorite trip was to see the Moai on Easter Island.  Carson has been in the band since the summer of 2015.  “In Fiipside, I’ve found a group of talented friends.  I love to create music with them, but I also just love to spend time with them every week.”