DFIUFEE, the band: How Flywheel’s in-house musical group came to be

DFIUFEE, the band: How Flywheel’s in-house musical group came to be

Brett Hicks's Layout avatar

Every January, Flywheel gathers for the annual Flywheelies, a soirée created for employees (and their significant others) to celebrate the previous year’s wins, drink signature Flywheel-themed cocktails, and award our company’s culture makers and department MVPs for an incredible job well done. Our favorite part of the evening, though, is halfway through the awards show when DFIUFEE, our in-house band, takes the stage!

Since the Flywheel band has become a fan favorite in two short years, we thought we’d pull up a chair and tell the story of how this funky idea turned into a full-fledged band and one of the most fabled aspects of Flywheel culture.

DFIUFEE performing Macklemore’s “Downtown”

Aside from being managed WordPress hosting experts, Flywheel is chock-full of musicians. We’ve got a Grammy-award winning Customer Success Account Manager, a Happiness Engineer who’s drummed at Coachella, a Front End Engineer who just dropped his first full-length record, and dozens of other musical artists across the company. So, when someone brought up the idea of creating a band, it wasn’t that far-fetched.

The conversation initially started during a casual chat over lunch between a few Flywheelers (myself included) in October 2017. That chat turned into a Slack group, and the ball was officially rolling!

The Slack channel where it all began…

As we all know, you aren’t a band without a name. So, we drew inspiration from Flywheel’s golden rule of DFIUFEE, or Don’t F*ck It Up For Everyone Else. Johnny (a Happiness Engineer, vocalist, and drummer) cleverly changed a certain four-letter word to ‘funk’, while Luke (Happiness Engineer and master of every instrument) swapped out ‘don’t’ for ‘do’. With our fresh new name, Do Funk It Up For Everyone Else, or DFIUFEE, The Band, was born.

Brandon, Josh, Andy, Johnny, Luke, and Brett at DFIUFEE’s first rehearsal

Now that the band was fully formed, we needed to decide on a setlist. Thankfully, our company already had plenty of options due to a ton of song-related inside jokes that we’ve created over the years. With absolutely no rhyme or reason, we decided on Smooth by Santana, Kiss from a Rose by Seal, All Star by Smashmouth, and Downtown by Macklemore for our first gig.

Equipped with all the mics, amps, and hookups needed, the band practiced out of Happiness Engineer and drummer Brandon’s basement every week for six weeks. We rehearsed in that little room late into the night to prepare for our first big show in January!

Less than two months later, the 2018 Flywheelies had finally arrived! The first half of the award show went off without a hitch, intermission began, and the band took the stage. (Oh, I forgot to mention, DFIUFEE was a complete and total surprise to the company!) The iconic opening of Smooth by Santana featuring Rob Thomas ripped through the room as Josh, a front-end engineer, stepped out with his guitar. Heads turned, jaws dropped, and cheers rang out; you could say our debut show was a success.

Not musically gifted? Scream from the top of your lungs in the audience!

Fast forward one year later, and the band lives on. The 2019 Flywheelies introduced five new songs from five different bands comprised of 19 individuals who range from our VP of Customer Experience to our design intern. There was also one amazing Flywheeler audio engineering the show, and hundreds of raving fans singing, rocking, and cheering from the audience. It may have only been DFIUFEE’s second gig to date, but trust me, we looked and sounded like seasoned superstars!

This year’s surprise? Our CTO, Tony Noecker, wrapped DFIUFEE’s set by belting out Toxic by Britney Spears and stealing the show.

“Don’t you know that you’re toxic?” -Tony

Although it takes lots of coordination and hours of rehearsal with people all over the world (seriously, we Zoomed Happiness Engineer and bassist Sam so he could join us from Sydney), getting to showcase Flywheelers’ talents while building culture is beyond worth it. After all, Flywheel’s mission statement is to helping creatives do their best work. And while creatives indeed refer to our fly customers, it also means Flywheel is an amazing company for creatives to work for (and boy do we have a lot of them)!

Brett, Kaitlin, and Rese singing the night away

If you want to join this weird and talented bunch of people, check out our openings here!

Bonus: DFIUFEE posters!

The phrase that started it all. Download your very own “Don’t f*ck it up for everyone else” posters! Save them as your phone screen, post ’em to your Instagram story, or physically print them out and hang them around the office (so 2005, we know).

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