Today, we catch up with the hard-hitting Cincinnati duo Mr. Phylzzz. The band features former Killtones’ members Clinton Vearil on guitar/vocals, as well as Ray Redmon on drums, and this pair definitely knows how to serve up a freaky brand of loud and raw rock! The guys have a killer, self-released EP called Sound Like Everybody Else that just came out this past March, and they are currently working on a new one called Apartment. This week we caught up with Clinton to talk about how he and Ray started the new project, as well as their open, no-frills approach to creating music. You can read our conversation below, and while you’re at it, give Sound Like Everybody Else a spin…
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LETV: Thanks Clinton for taking some time to answer questions about the band and your recent EP Sound Like Everybody Else. Before we discuss the new record, can you talk about when you and Ray started playing music together and how you decided to perform as the duo, Mr. Phylzz? I know you guys played together in The Killtones, but tell us a little bit about how you first met and finally formed the new band.
CV: Myself and Ray Redmon started playing music together during the Killtones, really just met Ray by chance dropping off a friend’s brother. He had a huge drum set and off the bat he was a slammer–and for the Killtones that’s what we needed. During Killtones, we would always sorta play around in-between practices with heavier riffs that didn’t fit, and really just to be annoying. After the Killtones we still hung out and played around together but really started putting the band together when I brought him the song “Flyzzz”. We always had a want to be heavy and weirder with the last band and Phylzzz became the outlet for that. We never really wanted to be a two piece, it just happened. We wanted a bass player but we click so well together that we wanted to immediately jump into it hard and start playing shows. When we booked our first show we didn’t even have a complete set list. We sorta have been making it up for half a year now and when things stick we just go with it. It’s very free flow and more of an art piece and it can all change at the drop of a hat–which I’ve never had in a band. No rules, no guidelines, we just do whatever feels right.
LETV: Right on Clinton, sounds like a winning formula to me! So things galvanized around the song “Flyzzz”–which is a really rad track by the way. Have you done most of the writing so far, or do you and Ray take a collaborative approach? What can you tell us about the creative process for you guys so far….
CV: Thanks man! That was the track that really started it all! I brought “Flyzzz” to Ray and had a good idea where I wanted it to go, but once getting with Ray, I kinda let it go the direction it wanted to go. We just do what feels natural and don’t over-think anything. When it comes to writing, it can happen multiple ways. I would rather have a pretty solid idea, riff, or just a simple line. Then once I get with Ray, we just start playing it and kinda let it flow into whatever direction it wants to go. It’s really free flow. Most of the songs were ideas I recorded on my phone and then we would spend a few hours together at Ray’s house–because he lived an hour away then–and we would record and track it all in one sitting. So there was no time to really think about it. It stayed organic and that’s what we went with–which I think gives the band a special in the moment feeling.
LETV: You mention that you would record and track “in one sitting”. What was the recording process like for the EP? Looks like you worked in a studio with both you and Ray having a hand in production. Is that true?
CV: Yes, for demos and for the studio work! We recorded the EP at a studio in Cincinnati, Ohio called Diamonds Studio which is owned by Brian Olive (Soledad Brothers/The Greenhornes/Brian Olive Band). We didn’t wanna actually do a studio album at first but we were persuaded by our friend–local engineer, madman Eric Cronstien–who really understood the fact that we wanted a heavy, raw, wild approach to the EP. He really understood our work ethic which is quick and not over thinking. We tracked and recorded it all in 10 hours, everything all in one day. He really grasped what we wanted and was very much in tune with us–even when we wanted to have a really fucked up out of time part, he just got it. I think Ray suggested on “NO PLANZZZ” to cut a whole section out–so it didn’t even make sense–and it sounded awesome and worked! I think most engineers would have laughed or said “no” to half the shit we wanted to do but Eric wanted us to just be us–and he was 100% in on all of it. We went in knowing what we wanted and Eric Cronstien kept that true as hell!
LETV: So, with the EP recorded, what’s next? Will you guys be touring in support of it? Is there a full length in the works yet?
CV: I think what’s next is really touring more. We been planning a 12 day run in June that’s a mix of house shows and venues–and then we are hoping to be out for 30 days in late September thru October. So yes, touring and more recording. We really are so weird with the recording process that I don’t know where it will end up. We are currently working on another EP called Apartment, which is gonna feature a lot of different people, and then probably tackle a full-length album. We already have a catalogue of material. It’s just figuring out where to begin with it–but that usually and always shows itself.
LETV: That sounds like a pretty busy schedule! Have you begun recording Apartment yet? You mention that you will have additional players on the upcoming EP. Has it always been your intention to add musicians to the project?
CV: Yeah it’s pretty intense and hoping to do double shows those days out too–like daytime shows anywhere that won’t shut us down or call the cops (haha)–which tends to happen a lot.
Yes, we started recording Apartment and it’s been mostly when we have time with shows and all. So far, it sounds really cool and we are using shit we find in my apartment for added layers of texture–like we recorded the shower and a kettle recently to add a swelling sound to a song called “Pull” that we are working on. We are gonna have some friends and guests play on that EP just for fun but no new permanent members or anything like that. I don’t really see that happening at all, honestly. Me and Ray work so well off each other that it would have to be someone we really connect with–but me and Ray also don’t get out much, so it will probably always be just us two boyzzz.
LETV: That’s the tough thing about trying to put a band together that people sometimes forget. It’s crucial to find that person or people that you can work and be creative with, and that’s not always easy! Sounds like you guys have found that. Regarding the EP that’s under work, and the addition of sonic elements like running water, etc., seems like a really open and experimental approach to building songs. Has this always been a part of your process with Ray?
CV: Yeah, it definitely is! And yes, we are really open to how songs are written! Even with this EP we just did and the EP coming up. We like doing whatever. The whole idea for some of the songs starts with something totally random. I think for “lay.it.on.me”, we just were making a bunch of noise and thrashing as loud and hard as we can–and both stopped and said “well that was fun–that could be cool as a song”. So yeah, we are really open to the process and let whatever happens, happen. Like we aren’t a traditional band by the slightest. We don’t follow any guidelines for songs or writing or anything really. I think to the real world of the “industry” we are doing everything wrong–but it’s working so we are gonna keep going with it.
Thanks to Clinton for taking the time to answer questions about Mr. Phylzzz. You can grab a copy of Sound Like Everybody Else via the duo’s Bandcamp page, so we suggest you do just that!