Hailing from Weimar, Germany, PHOSPHENES, a visual arts collective and band, was founded by composer and producer, Harry Starbuck, and vocalist/lyricist, Julee Bee. Although the band was not formed until 2017, they met accidentally many years ago when Julee, a former freelance journalist, interviewed Harry about his previous band for a music magazine. They realized throughout the course of the interview that they had striking similarities in their tastes in music, and PHOSPHENES is the result of a friendship that was cultivated with care in the following years. Named after one of Julee’s internationally published and exhibited Polaroids, PHOSPHENES is a collection of the choicest fruits from electro, rock, pop, and wave influences.
For their first project, PHOSPHENES has decided to hit the ground running and start 2018 strong as they release Find Us Where We’re Hiding (May 25) via FAYZ. The album was mastered by Rob Murray whose past work includes Sia, Miike Snow and Odesza. On Find Us Where We’re Hiding, the duo is supported by guitarist Florian Walther, who (among other commitments) is a member of the live band on “The Voice.”
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with the band to discuss the album, German music and more.
When did you first begin writing the material for Find Us Where We’re Hiding?
Julee: I can’t really state a starting date as it was kind of a fluid process. The first drafts of the songs are already a few years old, I think. But it was last year that we specifically worked on the songs, recorded vocals, started the actual production.
Our favorite track is “People You Love Become Ghosts.” It’s so powerful, especially coming after the pop vibe of “Girls Trip.” Was it intentional to put those songs back to back, to showcase the many sounds of the band?
Harry: Yeah, the songs of the album varies a lot and of course, this is intentional. I always love to play with different sounds and emotions, it really bores me when I hear an album and all songs transport the same kind of volume, same kind of emotion. I try to create different atmospheres with every song, it’s like a soundtrack of my mind.
The video for “Girls Trip” features actors performing as the band. What inspired that idea? Might we see them again in another video?
Julee: It was Harry who came up with the idea and I totally embraced it. The girls are just awesome and wonderful, I was amazed by their lack of shyness and their candor – the total opposite of me. They perfectly represent what we want to convey with our music, so it is no question that you will see them again.
Harry: Yes, we will see them again in our clip “Where Forever Is,” which contains the songs “People You Love Become Ghosts” and “Heaven Looks Alright.”
What artists are you listening to these days? Any German faves we should know about in the states?
Julee: German faves… not really to be honest. Nowadays German music is a lot about cheesy harmonies with German lyrics and I am not really into this at all. The only German artists that I would recommend are Laura Carbone, Claire and Children. Apart from this, I am into a lot of shoegaze/indie stuff like Slowdive, Holygram, Actors and Drab Majesty, just to name a few.
Harry. At the moment I am into Bon Iver, really love his music.
What’s next for PHOSPHENES? Touring the states, maybe?
Julee: We definitely would be up for this! I’d say we’re open for all possibilities!
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