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Local artist spotlight: Flatsound

Imagine being so scared of the outside world, that you trap yourself in your house for 10 years. What do you do with your time? Do you paint, write, or just watch time go by? For Mitch Welling, he spent his time making music in his bedroom.

Mitch Welling, a San Diego native hailing from Fallbrook, has made a name for himself by making music in his house. He uses the name “flatsound”, and has released multiple albums and EPs since 2009. Welling has been very open about his fear, which is called agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that makes the person fearful or anxious in places or situations that they are unfamiliar with.

Flatsound fits perfectly into the spoken word, lo-fi genre that has had a huge surge in popularity within the past few years. His music was first posted on the SoundCloud app, where users can post their own music and content without the trouble of going through services like Spotify and Apple Music. In 2014, he posted a song called “You Said Okay”, which has since seen over 1 million listens. It went viral on social media sites like Twitter and Tumblr, and it has brought a lot of attention to his music.

Since 2014, he has released multiple EPs and 5 albums, and has almost 200,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. His soft, spoken word music has become popular in the scene, and he’s done it all from his bedroom.

Welling has also dabbled in photography and art, and has created album and EP covers all on his own. In 2017, he released his most recent album “Hummingbird” and the cover of the album is a black and white picture of the stairs leading up to his old bedroom, where he spent years making and recording music. It was also the last music he recorded before moving out and relocating to Carlsbad.

“The house that my agoraphobia confined me to for so long. But, more positively, the house that I had built a music career from nothing in. I made a very conscious effort to record the songs in the manner that I would record very early flatsound songs. I even used a lot of the same equipment. Stand-alone multi-track recorders and microphones that I had used when I was a teenager,” he told Criss Cross Magazine last December.

Since his work has taken off, the demand for merchandise has come. Since Welling works completely independent, he had to figure out a way to do it himself. And that’s exactly what he did. Welling runs his own merch store, printing his own t-shirts and pressing his own vinyl, packing and shipping everything himself.

His new music is arguably some of his most refined work yet, and there’s no stopping him. He has confronted his phobia and left his childhood home, and is exploring the world further beyond, drawing even more influence, and fans look forward to new content from flatsound.

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