Initially forming under the name JJAMZ, the members of PHASES, Z Berg (The Like), Jason Boesel (Rilo Kiley/Bright Eyes), Alex Greenwald (Phantom Planet), and Michael Runion have over a decade of playing together in a number of iterations before they released their debut effort in 2012. After touring to support their debut effort, the members of the band felt extremely uncertain of their next step; however, Greenwald, Runion and Boesel continued to carry on writing upbeat pop songs, heavily influenced by Greenwald’s experimental solo recordings and demos made in his Laurel Canyon living room on an outdated version of GarageBand.
Eventually these recordings made their way to Z Berg, who was considering a move to Nashville, and at the time Berg was so intrigued by what the trio of Greenwald, Runion and Boesel were doing that she decided she should just go on and do it. As Berg explains, “It sounded like weird, future spaceship music, from a very old spaceship. I thought, ‘Alright, whatever happens, let’s at least work on this and make songs for fun, without thinking where they go or who they’re for.“
The quartet went into the studio for what they all considered extremely collaborative recording sessions that yielded six songs that blended several decades and influences from each member. Interestingly, their latest single “I’m In Love With My Life” reminds me of 80s New Wave and dance pop – in particular, The Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club and others, as the song consists of a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-inspired guitar, blasts of arching and ethereal synths and a playful, upbeat chorus. Listening to the song should just make you want to smile and then dance – even out in public.