I have a lot of respect for the one-man band. I love that we live in an age where we can create music from the safety and comfort of our bedrooms. You don’t have to deal with annoying band mates or restrictions on your creative control; you can smoke weed alone and get lost in your reverb pedal and headphones for however damn long you please.
Musical creation can exist for years, but if it doesn’t leave your room it can easily stay a secret forever. Enter Phil Jones, a one-man band who put his project Dog Bite into the light after cruising with it in the private prisms of home life since 2008.
Phil Jones, however, hasn’t been in hiding this whole time by any means. His past musical involvement was with “chillwave” Washed Out, also once a bedroom project of Georgia native Ernest Greene and one of the first musical entities to reach crazy popularity through Internet word-of-mouth. Phil has since amicably moved on from Washed Out, recently embarking on a shared short 10 day tour with Dog Bite.
Even though Dog Bite has existed in part for a while, within the past few months a transition happened that produced a cohesive and actualized output of new material while Phil was living in Alpharetta with no transpo. When he moved on from his supporting role playing keys in Washed Out, he soon after took up residence in East ATL, freed up from frequent touring and in an environment that allowed him the opportunity to solidify his sound with a live band of his own.
Away from the solitude of his room and out into the open air, Dog Bite now coexists with 4 other dudes all in their own ethereal indie projects (Will Fussell of Moodrings, Stephen Luscre of Red Sea, ex-Balkans Woody Shortridge and Washed Out’s drummer Cameron Gardner). Dog Bite’s live shows are full of lights and transcendent breakdowns, and they have appropriately opened for acclaimed acts like Grimes. Phil is embarking on sounds similar to the projects of his live band mates, part of a collective consciousness that is happening in Atlanta right now.
Getting out in front of a fan base he’s performed for previously has helped to solidify the idea that live shows and touring make a band feel more real. With an upcoming full-length, completely recorded in his bedroom and mixed by the talented recent ATL transplant/engineer Patrick Canady of Moons, a dreamier musical landscape is forming in the pit of our southeastern hub.
Once joked as “Phil Wave” by peers in the burgeoning but tiny “chillwave” scene, Dog Bite’s sound is less pure electronic reverberation and more within the traditional setup of a pop-based new wave gig. Granted the music is still steeped with synth and drum tracks made via Reason, a pretty blend of catchiness and coolness, similar to the kind of dude Phil is. Dreampop is undergoing a revival, coming from boys who only have a YouTube wormhole context of 80s and early 90s music, yet harbor an inherent understanding of these past sounds. Both the past and the present are combined within Dog Bite, weaving the antiquity of shoegaze, 80s Goth, synthpop and applying it to the modern mode of music.
His interpretations include dark bass lines and nonchalant synth smoothness tied together with beats you can most certainly dance to. Phil is a mysterious sort of guy, though polite, unpretentious, comfortable, fun. It’s weird how all of the elements of his personality are included in his sound, but that’s the way it should be. Music is there for our personal expression and Phil’s is genre-less. Once upon a time there was barely an outlet for dreamy music in the ATL besides some DJ’s occasional “witchhaus” segues, but with the addition of Dog Bite we have more starry sparkles of sound within a sea of garage rock dudes and hardcore house shows. Thanks for expanding our horizons a bit, Phil. You’re a neat dude.
What are some songs or bands you remember listening to as a kid that brought you to the place you are now musically?
Growing up I mostly listened to whatever my parents were listening to, like Stevie Wonder, Prince, Miles Davis, Isaac Hayes, a bunch of Motown and calypso music. I hated hearing most of it when I was younger, but now that stuff is really resonating with me. I also remember borrowing In Utero from a friend in eigth grade and that set me off on my own music searching adventure.
What are some of your favorite current musics?
I’ve been really into Tame Impala, Cocteau Twins, Connan Mockasin and Portishead recently.
Did your time playing keyboards with Washed Out encourage you to bring your music into the open with a live band and more public exposure online?
Playing with Washed Out definitely made me feel a lot more comfortable playing live. Before that I had never really thought about playing with other people to make the transition to a live setting.
I really like your Tumblr. You have a very specific aesthetic that I think works well with what you’re doing. It’s kind of a mix between the new age aesthetic people are into now and 70s chicks. Super ethereal. What’s your inspiration for your aesthetic?
All of those images are collages I had made from National Geographic and random photos or ads from around 1960-1975. The images from that time period have a certain vibe that I, for some reason, really identify with. I’m all about making eye candy. Most of my inspiration stems from magazine ads and show posters. Graphic design really interests me
Do you feel connected to a scene in Atlanta in regards to other musicians with similar soundscapes? How do you feel about Atlanta as your creative home base?
I would like to think that I am part of a certain scene in Atlanta. I’m gonna call it the dream scene. Right now, I think that a large majority of us are just trying to make good music and have fun, which is refreshing. Everyone wants to help make shit happen. I feel like it’s a good time to be making music in Atlanta.
Photo Credit: Tim Song