WQHS Talks to Z Berg of PHASES

phases

With their debut record, For Life, out on Warner Bros Records, a set of “I’m In Love With My Life” remixes by JR JR, Big Data, and Joywave, and an upcoming tour with Maroon 5, PHASES is soon to be an indie-rock force to be reckoned with.

WQHS: What’s your story?

Z Berg: We’ve all been friends for about 15 years, and we were all in other bands before this. We met through playing shows together in our earlier bands, and 7 or 8 years ago decided to play music together for fun as a side project. Basically, we would hang out all the time anyway, so we realized we could make music out of it and stop wasting time. We made our first record as Jjamz, basically with whatever spare time we had when we were home from tours. Our band broke up, and we all started going our separate ways, so we just had PHASES as a side project for fun, and that’s how PHASES was born.

WQHS: Do you prefer smaller venues or larger venues, and why?

Z: It really depends on the show; we can play for 5 people and it can be the best show in the world. Sometimes, even with 10,000 people, no one cares and it’s awful. It all depends if you can make that connection with the audience. When the show is great and everyone is really present it’s so euphoric it’s addicting. But really it depends on the show and the audience and the vibe.

WQHS: Which of your songs would you recommend to new listeners?

Z: My current favorite song on our record is “Silhouette”. It really gives a good blueprint for what we sound like – it’s super upbeat and poppy but there’s tragic loss underlying in the lyrics. I also really love “Spark” – different tonality to it – and “Betty Blue” which is a bit more fun and the most dance-y track from For Life.

WQHS: Who wears the pants in your band?

Z: It’s the most incredibly democratic and collaborative band; there’s no leader of this band, no one who calls the shots and no one who is bossy. We all write, we all play and we all agree. It’s hard to find that in a band but right now we’re in a great place where it’s all for one and one for all.

WQHS: How did you get the nickname Z Berg?

Z: Since the day I was born I was named Z and my parents put a real name on my birth certificate in case I got a real job (but alas I never did).

WQHS: Excited for Maroon 5 tour?

Z: I can’t wait, we’ve known the Maroon 5 guys for a million years (James used to be in our band) so it will certainly be very fun. To play for those audiences will be pretty insane – they have fun and huge crowds so it’ll be exciting!

WQHS: How did you develop your live sound since you use a lot of electronic stuff in your recorded stuff?

Z: We made the record in the studio and wrote all the songs without ever playing them live. It’s a lot of electronic stuff so it was difficult to figure out. We painstakingly took the time to sample every sound on our record so when we play it live we play every sound from the record. It turned out cool between the way the record sounds and the way we are able to play it live.

For Life is available now. PHASES will be playing Coachella this April, before a short tour with Saint Motel in May and a tour with Maroon 5 beginning in October.

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