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Friday, July 29, 2016

These Go to 11: interviewing Phosphene

Last interview before holidays! And what a great one! Because our guests answering the questionnaire this time are Phospheneone of our favourite music discoveries on this 2016 so far and, besides an exciting band, are a trio of wonderful people. These Go to 11!

Rachel, Matt and Kevin, seeking for the light among the haze
Haling from Oakland, CA, they started to play in 2008 when Rachel Frankel (vocals / guitar) and Matt Hemmerich (drums) met in class. Two years later the couple decided to start a music project together, launching a first EP that by now must be a rising collectors' item. But Phosphene needed a major factor to become what they are now (an ace band, that is): meeting Kevin Kaw (bassist/ guitarist) in a songwriting event featuring Aaron Dessner's from The National (a shared passion with this Blogger) in 2013. With Phosphene becoming a trio, they recorded s/t first LP in July 2014 followed by the terrific EP 'Breaker' this April (among the best of 2016 so far). A stunning blend of dreampop, indie-rock and shoegaze fated for great things to come. Here we go!

The millennial heartbreakers 
1.First record that you bought (be honest)
Matt:​­ 'Dookie' by Green Day.
Kevin: '​­Fountains Of Wayne' (s/­t album).
Rachel: ­'Millennium' by Backstreet Boys.

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
Matt​­: AFI in 2003, most recent: Low with Andy Shauf.
Rachel: Hanson in 1999 with my mom (SUPER COOL), most recent: Low with Andy Shauf.
Kevin​­: my sister took me to see Duran Duran in 1993, most recent: Treasure Island Music Festival.

3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Rachel:­ 'Transantlanticism' by Death Cab for Cutie (not all that embarrassing, but it’s a super sappy album and they’re a very mushy indie rock band).
Matt​­: 'If You're Reading This It's Too Late' by Drake.
Kevin:​­ 'Me&The Rhythm' by Selena Gomez.

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
Matt:​­ 20” Paiste Dimensions ride cymbal.
Kevin:​­ my Torino Red 2000 American Standard Stratocaster.
Rachel​­: my great­grandmother’s violin.
The "fucked up" song. The National during the durational performance of
'A Lot of Sorrow' by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. Photo: Charles Roussel
5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Matt​­: "You are my center when I spin away" ­ Radiohead, “Videotape”; "I'm a moth who just wants to share your light" Radiohead, “All I Need”; "I live in a city sorrow built. It's in my honey, it's in my milk" ­ The National, “Sorrow”; "I still owe money to the money to the money I owe" ­The National, “Bloodbuzz Ohio”.
Rachel: ​“I’m a modern girl, but I fold in half so easily” ­ Rilo Kiley, “Pictures of Success”; “Bored in a role, but he can't stop standing up to sit back down, and lose the one thing found. Spinning the world like a toy top 'till there's a ghost in every town.” ­ Elliott Smith, “Can’t Make A Sound”; “There’s always a siren singing you to shipwreck” ­ Radiohead, “There There”.
Kevin​­:No longer cradled in gravity’s memory...” ­ Pale Saints, “A Thousand Stars Burst Open”, “Over the moon and under the influence” ­ The Trash Can Sinatras, “Easy Read”.

Neko Case, a true original
6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Matt:​­ Neko Case, Thom Yorke, Carrie Brownstein, Killer Mike, El­P.
Rachel: ­ ​Neko Case, Elliott Smith, Alan Sparhawk, PJ Harvey, Rachel Goswell.
Kevin​­: Kurt Feldman, Jen Goma, Koji Nakamura, Robert Smith, Johan Duncanson, Jeremy Wrenn.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Matt​­: 'Unknown Pleasures' by Joy Division.
Rachel: ­​​'July Flame' by Laura Veirs, 'The Eraser' by Thom Yorke.
Kevin​­: 'Kid Games' by Airiel, 'I Love You, Honeybear' by Father John Misty.

'We got you, babe'... repeat ad eternum...
8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Matt​­: Movies because I’m illiterate. 'Carol' is one of the most evocative films I’ve seen in some time.
Rachel: ­books- 'Kafka On The Shore' by Haruki Murakami, 'All My Puny Sorrows' by Miriam Toews
Kevin​­: books- 'The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay' by Michael Chabon, 'Man V. Nature' by Diane Cook; movies- 'Groundhog Day'.

9. Song (of yours) you are most proud of
Matt​­: It’s a tie between 'Rogue' and 'Wire'. Both are dear for selfish reasons. 'Rogue' was the first song I ever wrote and sung a vocal melody on. 'Wire' is the first song I wrote in full on guitar.
Rachel:​­ I’ll pick one from our first album and one from our second. I was really happy with the way the melody turned out on 'Thief' and 'Be Mine' is probably my favorite child from Breaker.
Kevin​­: I’m quite fond of 'Wild Decay'.

10. What does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
Matt:​­ Indie is more of an ethos to me than a genre. There’s a huge community of musicians, bands that encompass it, so you can really stick “indie” in front of any sound. Being indie, however, doesn’t inform the music itself.
Rachel: ­I still don’t really know the answer here. At its core the term just represents “independent” music, but like Matt said it’s evolved into an entire scene. It’s actually pretty meaningless for me at this point.
Kevin​­: I think it involves making something for the sake of making it, and then sharing it with others, all on your own terms.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 
Matt:​­ residing in Portland, Oregon with Rachel. A black cat and corgi are mandatory in this house. Ideally, we’ll still be creating music with Kevin as Phosphene labels.
Rachel: ­ ​I’d love to keep playing music and gain a stronger following over time. I also hope to be living in the Pacific Northwest and continuing my work as a designer and illustrator, probably with lots of animal babies and a HUGE kitchen.
Kevin​­: I don’t know, but wherever I end up, I’m sure it’ll involve donuts.

 Zillion thanks Matt, Kevin and Rachel!

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