PHOP #100

Our new AA Single has the honour of being the 100th release by Wakefield record label Philophobia Music. Given that we also appeared on PHOP002 it’s fair to say we have grown up / old together.

The new single is our 9th appearance on a Philophobia release, so despite the potential embarrassment involved, here is a retrospective of those releases and our attached memories.

PHOP002 – Do You Suffer From Philophobia – September 2008

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The second PHOP release was this four track compilation. I’m pretty sure we were the minnows on there, with Pavillion being the key band on there in terms of the one people expected to do something / get somewhere. Needless to say we’re the only ones left standing.

Our song was ‘A New Low’ which isn’t as god awful as some of the stuff given over to the public back then and there’s potentially something decent in there, but true to the DIY roots of the label, it was recorded in my bedroom with one microphone and no production skills or tools. For the much better second half of this 8 minute plus debut appearance on the label I actually packed up my whole tower PC and went down to a friends house to record the piano, so a lot of effort was put in. Apart from the melody, which rips off a Low song, hence the joke title.

It doesn’t matter that it was shite, it was just brilliant that a label would accept us, and allow us to work through the process of being shite in the hope we might one day be good. Also, the packaging of this was really cool.

PHOP#007 – Some Things Still Matter – August 2009

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The first ‘full’ label compilation, this has some really early work by future label heroes and like our first appearance, it was really cool to be involved in. The track was ‘Simple Life Equations’ which persisted in live sets for much longer, though not in the glockenspiel led version here. It’s kinda embarrassing I suppose, but fuck it, it felt good at the time. Back then it was the best thing we had and being invited to be on the upcoming comp always helped focus your energies and push yourself, so once again, although it may be cringeworthy, without the outlet the progression wouldn’t happen.

PHOP#016 – Under The Bus Station Clock – August 2010

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This was such a good album. And our third compilation release. We had started to produce our own super short run of EPs and stuff at this point (mostly awful) but I never would have felt confident enough to ask PHOP to release a full record. But this comp is super important for me, with regards to the history of PHOP.

It was a great time; around it in the calender you have significant step ups from The Spills, Runaround Kids, Imp and Piskie Sits. This comp is the first one that I felt defined what was going on in Wakefield, and stood head and shoulders above everything else in the city.

Our song was ‘A Billion Parallels, Crashing’ which I still kinda like. It was our last song released which was recorded in the bedroom / 1 mic setup with no idea and my crappy drumming. It was good fun to play live, and I remember the iteration of the band which had a Kaos Pad and sampler instead of a drummer did a nice extended outro on it with ‘Breathe…..’ being looped round and round. ODAS was still way behind the curve but like the rest of Wakefield, we were at least stepping up a bit, as were Philophobia.

PHOP030 – The Future Is Not Ours, Comrade – February 2012

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Eventually we felt ready to do our own fully fledged release, after doing our own hand-made sleeve thing with Geek Pie Records. Spotify may tell you this is an album, but is definitely an EP, albeit one longer than some albums on PHOP.

I don’t really remember the conversation with Rob but I think it was kind of “you’re ready now”. It was recorded in a very short time at Greenmount Studios with Rob Slater (The Spills). I was pleased at the time, then less so but as time has passed, I kind of like it again. There are lots of ideas in there, both musical and lyrical. Probably too many. I wanted it to be dense and noisy. At the time the live band setup was two guitars and two bass’ which really suited my preference for writing on the bass guitar. I could write the high-lines but still beef it out with some root notes. A song like ‘Waves Of Fatalism’ was written purely on a bass, picking all four strings, then deconstructing those strings to different guitars and instruments.

I think it took us four years to pay off the costs but at least we did in the end. It arrived at the arse end of music being released in a jewel case format, so it doesn’t feel or look great now, but I really liked the artwork by CopyPasteRepeat. For the first time it felt like we’d released something that, however rough around the edges, was a proper thing.

Beyond that, it began my belief that records should represent moments in time, for the creators at least. With the visuals, songs and sound, it reminds me of 2011/2, which I think is great.

PHOP047 – We Phopped Something In The Water – July 2013

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The last full comp that Philophobia has done and a true belter. The song we included was C-Beam which was kind of an in between song, finished a little too late for the first EP and ending up on the second, albeit in a re-recorded form. I don’t like this version too much – it was recorded in a home studio and it kinda shows. The song is fine though and once again a compilation allowed us to experiment. Comps are cool places for those odds and sods that don’t belong anywhere else. Why didn’t PHOP do anymore?

PHOP061 – U-Boat – July 2014

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The theory behind this EP was to escape our live issues. The five piece version of the band had become difficult to sustain due to people getting a little older and thus having less free time. I had got into the power-trio version of the band and as such wanted simpler, shorter, noisy songs that were easy to play and learn.

I also kinda hoped it might be easier for Philophobia to flog a few copies if the songs were around 3 minutes long and had hooks. So this is probably our catchiest record, but there isn’t much competition. I was also into ripping off Chris Charlton (Protectors, Shake Your Halo Down) at this point. Or more to the point, trying to write and employ hooks like he did. ‘Closing’ was written directly after he revealed his songwriting secrets to me in an interview, and I got him to appear on the last track ‘Between The Vapours’ too.

I like the songs, I just don’t think the EP as a whole shouts ‘wow’. And it’s weird because although it was a bit of a fresh start by stripping everything back, by the time our next was released, this would be unrecognisable as ODAS.

I also remember for this release we tried to do a proper weekend of shows. Four in three days, including one in Barnsley, with a proper poster and everything. We learn slow in this band, isn’t it lucky the label are so supportive? We also paid this EP off in 2016 too. Yes!

PHOP076 – Somasphere – September 2015

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Our first single I suppose. This was a taster of the upcoming new EP, though I chose the song from the EP that sounded nothing like the rest of it. This wasn’t to be obtuse; the single was a release in aid of mental health charity Mind and this song is about a mental breakdown.

It actually dates back to 2009 and was played alot around that time. I’m not sure why i brought it back for the EP, it had’t lived in the set that long. It kind of fit in with the concept of the EP though.

Anyway, a digital only single release, to put us on the radar ahead of our upcoming EP. Almost competent promotional campaign right there…

PHOP080 – In Skeletal – January 2016

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And now our most recent record. In total opposition to U-Boat, this was an EP built around just doing what on earth I wanted, with no thought given to the live show. As mentioned previously, I was into the idea of releasing an EP a year, one that simply reflected my interests, ideas and thoughts. Like a diary of progression. With that in mind, I didn’t want to release 3 minute pop-punky songs (like U-Boat) and stumbled on the idea of creating music I might actually like.

It also coincided with the realisation that working in a good studio and spending time on things would also help, and that my actual favourite part of music making is that creative process. So, back in Greenmount Studios with Lee and Jamie, I built this record with their wisdom guiding me and had a brilliant time. Being in the studio is my holiday and I was very pleased to have produced this, and really pleased by the positive response it got. Only took us 8 years to get that positive reinforcement…

And so…

Compared to everything previous, that last EP may as well have been a new band. And part of me would like to delete all the history I’ve discussed here. I have no desire for you lot to delve into my musical adventures prior to The Future Is Not Ours, Comrade but the important thing is that without that nonsense at the start, and without Philophobia Music helping me find my way be releasing it and encouraging creative reflection and feedback, I wouldn’t have got to the point of releasing things I can actually be proud of.

PHOP100 – When I Loved Music, When Everything Was New / Footprints On The Ceiling

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The new single is released on October 15th. Funnily enough it is about nostalgia, fading faith and references a gig in Wakefield that predates Philophobia and was part of a period of time that perhaps inspired it’s creation. I didn’t plan that, honest.

Here’s to the next 100 PHOPs.

 

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