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PHANGS Interview & Live Recap in Boston at The Middle East Upstairs 10.20.21

If the feeling of nostalgia had an album, it would be Phangs' music. From Nashville, Tennessee, the dream-pop, indie-punk artist also known as Jake Germany, came out to Boston to give us an electric show of all of his greatest hits. The artist has always been known for exuding an aura of cool. The best part about his music is that you always feel like you're endlessly young, no matter what age you're at. It's the music that makes you feel like you're in The Breakfast Club throwing your fist in the air, Ferris Bueller's Day Off playing hookie from school, or 10 Things I Hate About You blasting music to your high school crush during his/her practice. The magic of his music is the time capsule it creates transporting you to the past with synths and the guitar solos and up-tempo beats that both intoxicating and energizing.

In the past, Jake has been a touring keyboardist and backing vocalist for the American rock band Relient K since 2017. What a dream! The artist has since released 2 albums, an EP, and countless singles on his own and in collaboration with others.

The Boston show was everything I needed to get back into the swing of concerts. It was wholesome, it was exciting, and it was all good vibes. He jumped around the stage with his amazing blue, polka dot guitar, and it truly felt like we were all in our rooms jamming out together. The sporadic, colorful lights made the intimate space come alive as we all shook our heads and bounced our bodies up and down to the liberating tunes.

Not to mention, Jake is also one of the kindest souls you'll ever meet. Gracious, kind, and extremely humble, he makes you feel at home when you're at the venue, including you in his thought processes, his inspirations, and his world. I'm thankful to have had the chance to interview this genuine and talented human being.

Here is our interview:

Neelu Mohaghegh [NM]: How did you get started in music?

Phangs (J): "Well, all the way back to the beginning, my parents made me in middle school band. I played the saxophone and hated every second of it. But we didn’t have money for any other kind of music lesson, so I had to do it all 3 years and then was allowed to stop when I got to high school. So I immediately quit, but was super into emo/punk bands of that era and picked up the guitar on my own pretty quickly. Been doing it ever since." [NM]: How has being a dad maybe changed your perspective of life and has it at all changed you as an artist? (J): "Oh definitely! I love being a dad. The perspective shift has been amazing. It helps me sort what truly matters and what really is vapid." [NM]: How would you describe your music in one word or phrase? (J): "Nostalgic." [NM]: Tell me more about the Vans collaboration! That is so amazing and I am so happy for you. How did that partnership happen? Why Vans? What was the design process like and what inspired you for it? (J): "I’ve ALWAYS loved sneakers. I’m obsessed. When I was in high school I worked at a local sneaker store, where I was actually in charge of stock and orders on new releases and color-ways. But after high school, my first real tour I ever went on was the Vans Warped Tour. So it’s just always been a special company to me, especially as a musician. Getting to design my own custom pair was so cool! I’m very grateful to the Vans team for allowing me to express myself in that way." [NM]: Let me know about this upcoming project, how is it different from what you’ve done before, and what has the creative process been like for this? (J): "It’s different mostly because it’s full of features from my friends. It’s been a blast collaborating with other people and letting them into my world. Ultimately, at the core, it’s still the same emo Phangs in there haha. But I’m definitely just making songs that I personally love. " [NM]: Who is your new favorite artist find? (J): "I’m fully in now on Porter Robinson. Can’t get enough! Oh and the new Benny Sings record has literally been on repeat all year for me." [NM]: What is your goal for the rest of this year and hopes for the new year? (J): "Just writing even more music! And then going and playing it live for everyone in 2022!" [NM]: Any fun plans for Halloween? / Are you a Halloween guy? (J): "I never have been in the past, but I have kids now and they’re so into it. So yes, I am now haha." [NM]: What is your favorite concert memory from when you’ve performed in the past or on this tour? (J): "Oh man. That’s a tough one. I think it’s less about a specific moment, and more so just collective moments where I’m aware that a song that I’m playing has affected someone deeply and I see their demeanor change. I live for those moments. I love playing Good Now and seeing people hold hands to celebrate what they have together Or playing I Forgot You and soaking in the emotion and frustration that people let out. Music is so special in that way." [NM]: Who is someone you’d love to collaborate with at some point? (J): "Oh, so many. One in particular that I think would just be sonically cool is me and Lights. I just think our voices would be cool together." [NM]: What is something you do outside of music or something you’re into that fans may not know about you? (J): "I’m an open book. My fans are fully aware that I love sports, cheesy teen dramas, and wrestling. The Phangs trinity of fun." [NM]: If you had to choose a song from this upcoming album, which song would you say is the one you’re most strongly connected to (J): "I’d say A Hurt Like That. I just wrote it with great friends and had a childhood hero/friend get to sing on it, Matt Thiessen from Relient K. I never ever want to downplay that in my head. Teenage me would lose his mind if he knew that was gonna happen down the road."

Be sure to follow him on Instagram!

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