Introducing Project Twolights
- the new musical brainchild powered by long-time friend, Will Phillips [who actually moved to Seattle from Albuquerque shortly after I did]. Will has been working really hard to produce captivating beats, which he describes as bassmusic, electronic, and sound design. Check out tracks from his project + the playlist
of his musical inspirations below.
Give us a little background about yourself. What got you interested in making music?
I was raised in a bit of a bubble actually. I looked back and saw that our family had a sort of gypsy thing going on after my mom left my dad. I think that was by design so we’d be living in abandoned mansions one summer… then guarding the entrance to caves in an old airsteam or camping in yurts on hippie communes… mostly in Arizona, and mostly through the state parks my mom worked for. I dont know if music was a way in or a way out, but I can’t remember a point when I wasn’t making it in some capacity.
I fell into drums in the 4th grade in our school’s rock ensemble, and then jazz in high school and college. I started writing things on guitars with 4-tracks until I bought my first MC-505, and I think that’s when I saw an opportunity to fully realize some of the things in my head… so that and having the bands Coma Recovery
and Cherry Tempo
be central parts of my life in New Mexico until very recently.
What is the inspiration behind your name “Project Twolights?”
That comes from a lot of stuff I’ve been reading about Dogon tribal mythology in Mali. They have a totally different creation story, and apparently went to great lengths to preserve it, escaping from Egypt to Mali a long time ago. But they have a very astute sense of the cosmos, and it went with a sort of theme I’d been presented with over the past year where the answers to a lot of questions I had increasingly wandered off earth.
What inspires you most to make music? What keeps your gears running?
I think music is as much a component to biology as electro-magnetism or minerals and proteins… to matter and structure itself. You know, the lyrics might go one way or another sometimes, but the melodies, bass, and drums, etc. might as well be about any organic process or naturally occurring phenomenon like tides or galactic precession - but for humans it’s all a matter of scale. We have 100 years tops usually to get this thing sorted and we never really do, but humanity as a species continues somehow - at least for now. It’s maybe a little confused with its actual role here, and split into any number of ridiculous ideologies, so we have these proxy edifices that seem to sort of work. We’re just sort of bumbling around pretending we’ve got it together as long as everyone else agrees on the standards for a few years at a time - all of this being considered normal when it’s fantastically at odds with itself - I feel like I want to narrate that all the time. In music and in words. I know it’s a pretty negligible piece, but it’s just empathy. It’s just saying, “Okay, you are alive, and that in itself is totally insane and unquantifiable at any level. And that’s okay, so don’t waste your time trying to prop up someone else’s brand of reality if you don’t like it.” Some of its reactionary too - like, the whole using ukuleles to endorse bank loans and such - whatever that represents.
What are your hopes + plans for the future of your music?
I’m just finishing the last couple tracks on the album. It doesn’t have a name yet, and it’s all being mixed and mastered for live audio. So, now I’ve been looking at how it’ll work with the APC40 - what’s going to go live and what’s staying in the computer. Things are definitely turning toward the live performance end of the spectrum, and I want to make sure it’s able to come across. There’s talk to conceive of artistic/live/video things, but it should go live in around two months, and the album will be released sooner than that. I hope. Writing has been a long process, and I’m excited to switch gears and have the mental space to do other stuff. I don’t know what’s going to happen with it, but touring and playing live is where it’s always been for me, so these things will definitely be part of it. I’ve been getting away from the initial learning curve I had with a lot of the software and hardware I started using, so I’m just opening up little pockets of space here and there. It’s getting a little less structured as far as I can tell, but then again I’m a drummer.
If you could do a collab with anyone in the world [alive or dead], who would it be and why?
. So many artists are pretending to be something and she just let go and plugged into something else entirely.
Now for the Project Twolights Playlist:
1. Cyndi Lauper ∆ Time After Time
This song is the absolute shit. It’s not trying to get in your face. It’s just trying to say something real about relationships.
2. Aphex Twin ∆ Rhubarb [ambient mix]
…just cause it’s not really a song and it doesn’t do much but when you’re just staring out a bus window it works 110% and makes you think of places that might only exist in your head.
3. Bob Dylan ∆ Girl From the North Country
Another one I’m not sure why. Really simple. Repetitive clangy clumsy early Dylan. The harmonica comes in like “shit! really!?” Perfect. I need Dylan cuz I need reminders.
4. Air ∆ Playground Love
I don’t know exactly what air does so something sounds like a track was put in a time machine in 1976, sent to the future and remixed and mastered in 20-whatever but yes.
5. Amon Tobin ∆ Back From Space
I don’t know who comes close to Amon Tobin. Even if some stuff is just whaaa? There should be an Amon Tobin class somewhere. Not for producers, but a 101 course that’s like “Ok, there’s top 40 and that’s cool, and there’s also this…”
6. Tom Waits ∆ Clap Hands
A friend loaned me Beautiful Maladies at some point. It’s like when you just didn’t know music could go a certain way before and then you go ‘Aha! Maybe I can get away with being myself too…”
7. Sonic Youth ∆ Drunken Butterfly
That’s brilliant to me. I don’t like bands that are trying to show you how well they can finger-pick and harmonize and blah blah. I’d rather hear something totally spot-on-spooky like this.
8. PJ Harvey ∆ The Sky Lit Up
It’s not even 2 minutes long. But it’s realer than real. She’s just like that. Really really real. That’s rock. I don’t know how else to describe it.
9.) Clair De Lune by Debussy. It’s just a gorgeous work of art. Its the real reason Tony Robins gets up in the morning.
10. Prefuse 73 ∆ Perverted Undertone
This song takes multiples listens in multiple cars and multiple headphones. There’s not a ton going on musically, but emotionally there’s this barely hinged spring-loaded thing going on.
More from Project Twolights:
Soundcloud // Twitter
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