I remember sitting down to watch Memento for the first time. I put it off for years and years because I assumed the whole "tells the story" backwards thing would be a lazy gimmick to shore up deficiencies in storytelling. I was wrong. It's a film noir masterpiece & the "gimmick" is key to everything that makes Memento's thematic core -- of the nature of memory & our rationalizations for our behavior -- work. And in their new video for "I'm In Love With My Life," PHASES (former JJAMZ) use that reverse-linear equation to wonderful effect.
PHASES have changed their name but they haven't abandoned their sound, and their jazzy electro-80s pop is on full display in the effervescent video for "I'm In Love With My Life." Feeling like a fun version of The Man From The Other Place from Twin Peaks (as opposed to the usual creepy version), the video spills out entirely backwards although you might not necessarily realize it at first.
PHASES have a new album, For Life, due out on 9/18, and we had the chance to chat with the band about the new video and their upcoming music.
"I'm in Love With my Life" is getting serious buzz; what do you think it is about your particular brand of pop music that so many people relate to?
PHASES: I think our music, especially IILWML, has an immediacy that is quite engaging for people. I think it's unique and "new" sounding, but familiar and highly accessible at the same time. There's a deep primal joy in hearing a bass line for the first time and thinking, "Oh, that's sick!".
The music video is incredibly enthusiastic & creative. Who came up with the idea of shooting the video in reverse?
Ethan Tobman, the director of the video, came up with the entire concept. He's an incredibly talented creative force. We did what he told us to do and floated along the path that ended at our wonderful video. Thanks, Ethan!
There's a part in the video with an obvious "disco" theme. The song itself has a lot of disco/70's vibes to it; were there any specific retro influences for "I'm in Love With My Life" and the video?
Disco has gotten a bad rap through the years, but it can be incredibly expressive and beautiful music. Chic is probably the biggest disco influence on our band. Nile Rodgers (guitar) and Bernard Edwards (bass) made disco music that was dense with emotion and humanity. Very inspiring.
What's it like being in a band based on close friendship? Does bickering or joking around ever get in the way of writing and recording your music?
We laugh a lot and probably fuck around more than most bands in the studio, but that's why our music sounds like it does. We have a good time, and I think you can hear that in our record.
"Betty Blue" and "Cooler" follow your signature synth-pop style, but is there anything that we won't expect coming from your newest LP?
The only unexpected thing about our record might be that all of it is of a rather high quality. I think a lot of records have some "duds" or filler tracks, which is understandable. We ain't got no duds on this record. Surprise!
Be sure to check out our sessions with PHASES when they were still JJAMZ below as well as the band's upcoming tour dates.
7/31 San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop
8/1 Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theater
8/2 Seattle, WA - Barboza
8/7 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
8/8 Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
8/9 Colorado Springs, CO - The Black Sheep
8/11 Scottsdale, AZ - Pub Rock Live
11/4 Austin, TX - Emo's w/ LIGHTS
11/6 New Orleans, LA - Republic w/ LIGHTS
11/8 Houston, TX - Warehouse w/ LIGHTS
11/10 Pensacola, FL - Vinyl Music Hall
11/11 Lake Buena Vista, FL - House of Blues w/ LIGHTS
11/12 Atlanta, GA - Masquerade w/ LIGHTS
11/13 Nashville, TN - Cannery Ballroom w/ LIGHTS
11/14 Newport, KY - Thompson House w/ LIGHTS
11/15 Louisville, KY - Mercury Ballroom w/ LIGHTS
11/18 New York, NY - Irving Plaza w/ LIGHTS
11/20 Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of the Living Arts w/ LIGHTS
11/21 Boston, MA - Paradise w/ LIGHTS