INTERVIEW: Phillip Brooks

Hi Phillip, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi, thank you so much for having me! I’ve been okay, life feels a bit up and down, I moved three times this year and I’ll do another move this month. But I’m working on a lot of music so I feel very fulfilled.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “I’m So In Love With All My Friends”?

It’s a song about being a bit too in love with everyone and a bit too afraid to lose them. Sometimes life just goes full haywire and it’s hard to hold on to people. And sometimes feelings get messy and make things unnecessarily complicated. It’s about that. It’s a love song to my friends but also to a person.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

The song was written at two different times of my life. I wrote the initial demo early 2019, just before I decided to move across the ocean to London, to be able to do this music thing more seriously. Everything was changing so so rapidly in mine and my friends’ lives and it was quite hard to hold on to them. I felt very alone in the tumultuousness of everything shifting so rapidly. So that’s where the bridge and the song title come from, it really was the base of the song and the first thing I wrote down. I put the recorded demo away until I revisited it earlier this year and the way I felt the song had changed for me. I was thinking a lot about the how thin the line between platonic and romantic love can be and how often I thought I was in love with my friends when I was just platonically very fond of them. I only really realised this ‘cause I started liking one of my best friends and ended up moving to Germany to be able to see her. Which also makes me feel very scared ‘cause I don’t want to lose her as a friend by telling her I like her, you know? So that really is the event that it’s about.

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

Yes! In July, whilst making a bagel (that tends to be when I get creative ideas) I thought of wanting to bring as many people together and have them all share a tiny bit of how they’re experiencing and spending lockdown. I put a call to send in videos on my Instagram Story and thought “oh, if we get like 40 to send in videos that would be amazing, then we’d have the video”. In the end 167 people sent in videos and everyone made such an effort to be creative with it, which I’m just so so grateful for. I still do cry a bit sometimes when I watch the video.

How was the recording and writing process?

Quite chaotic to be honest. Because of COVID and moving around so much it was recorded in so many places. I used a lot of the original demo I recorded in my childhood bedroom in Germany. The drums were done by my amazing live drummer Joe Cooper at noatune studios in London. The guitars I recorded on my friend’s floor in Brighton ‘cause I was crashing at his place after my London flat contract ended. The rest was done back in Germany with the equipment I left behind when I moved to London. But I like that it was done like that. It’s a song about a chaotic life situation so it might as well be a bit chaotic too.

What role does London play in your music?

I’d like to say that my music itself exists separate from any place. It’s always been more about moving through places and taking tiny parts of them along. I also more take inspiration from the friends I’m around and the experiences I have. London more just brought certain people into my life and sadly also took some out of it. And I love being able to go to small shows all the time, take in so much art, meet people and just feel that energy of something happening in the air. But it can really try to swallow you up sometimes and this winter it almost got me. I’m moving to Brighton this month which hopefully will bring some new changes to things and inspire more music.

You brought a series of upcoming talent to lend you a hand – did you handpick them or how did they come on board?

They are all good friends of mine! I love making music with my friends but cause of COVID haven’t been able to do that in some time. So I wanted to get all of them to be on the track. I just send them the latest version and they sent me their recorded bits for me to add into the song. I miss them a lot so having them with me on it means a lot to me and feels very special.

What did they bring to the table?

A lot of collective magic.

Do you tend to take a different approach when collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?

Yeah definitely! If I do a song alone I have a very introspective but also perfectionist way of working. When I work and write with other people it is more playful and free, it’s good to have someone else to keep you from getting too much up in your head sometimes haha. It’s still a new process to me ‘cause I didn’t have friends that also make music until like two years ago and I really want to work more collaborative in the future.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Right now I’m doing a big writing phase. I’m set myself the challenge of writing at least one song a day whilst I’m in Germany. So I’m just collecting a lot of material to chose from and release when I’m back home.

What else is happening next in Phillip Brooks’ world?

During COVID lockdown I had a lot of time to think and went through a bit of an identity crisis in music, gender and personality. I recently came out as non-binary and I feel like I’m able to express myself fully for the first time in my life. I just want to be more true to myself in the music I make and in how I interact with people. I also really started to value collaborating and doing a lot of things with my friends, from designs to the music to the videos. And I want to put a lot more energy in the communication with the people who listen to my music.

Listen to ‘I’m So In Love With All Of My Friends’ here

Follow:  Philip Brooks Instagram / Spotify

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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