Never heard of Britta Phillips? Phillips plays bass for Indie pop band Luna, once described by Rolling Stone as “the best band you’ve never heard of.”
Her first full studio album “Luck or Magic” is one you’ll want to explore. Its ten tracks are a delightful blend of old and new, most with synth-pop overtones.
A grand, suspenseful intro and sweeping synth touches make album opener “Daydream” a track not to miss. A musical journey with a commanding presence, it’s an original written by Phillips. Have a listen:
We had a chance to talk to Britta – currently touring with Luna in England – about the new album via email.
PRP: “Love your opening track ‘Daydream.’ Can you tell us a little about what inspired it and who the musicians are?”
BP: “This is the oldest song on the album. I wrote it shortly after I joined Luna and had a huge crush on Dean. I was having very “dangerous daydreams” as we were both seriously attached to other people at the time.”
“Vocally, I was inspired by Dusty Springfield and Nancy Sinatra. Musically, I was inspired by John Barry’s James Bond themes…. especially the intro, which I wrote much later than the rest of the song.”
“My husband, Dean Wareham, plays guitar and Jeff Brodsky plays drums. I played everything else. I used Logic Pro to record and arrange the strings and the horns, using Logic’s samples and midi. My co-producer, Eric Broucek, re-voiced what I’d recorded in midi with better orchestral sounds and really brought out the “Bond theme” feel, especially with the horns.”
“I recorded the mellotron with my Nord and we used Eric’s cs60 analog synth to double the ascending melody in the chorus – played by flute, piccolo and celesta. But all the parts were on my original demo, recorded very naively in 2000 (except the intro).”
PRP: “Did you have any formal musical training?”
BP: “I took some voice lessons back in the 80s. Before that, the only training I had was playing the clarinet in band in elementary and middle school. And I had a guitar coach on the set of the movie “Satisfaction.”
PRP: “Your cover of “Drive” is exceptional. What inspired you to include it, were you a big Cars fan?”
BP: “My friend Scott Hardkiss suggested it as a cover. I was a fan of the first couple of Cars albums when they came out, but I never would have chosen it as cover as I usually pick obscure songs. I trusted Scott and recorded it with just piano and vocals. I wasn’t too excited about it until Scott sent me a mix of the track with the ARP synth on it. That really made me love it.”
PRP: “Are you on tour promoting the new album now?”
BP: “I’m not doing my own tour, but I am opening shows for Luna. I’m opening in London tonight! I also played my first headline show ever at (le) poisson rouge in NYC last week. And I’m opening for Keren Ann in Paris next week.”
PRP: “Where do you make your home, you moved from New York to Los Angeles, is that right?”
BP: “Yeah, we moved to L.A. almost 4 years ago to be near my step-son. We live in a tiny neighborhood called the Hollywood Dell. It’s east Hollywood at the foot of the hills…it’s very exotic to have a backyard.”
PRP: “Any shows you’re particularly looking forward to, and do you have any Oregon shows planned?”
BP: “I’m looking forward to any and all solo shows! I’m always terribly worried and nervous before shows but once I start singing it’s pure pleasure for me. I don’t have any west coast shows planned, but now that I’m living in L.A. I hope to make it up there at some point.”
You’ll love Phillips’ cover of Brian Wilson’s effusive, uplifting “Fallin’ In Love” – a track PRP recently added to our playlist. Showcasing layered vocals, this choice arrangement lavishly honors the original with synth and orchestral touches in all the right places.
Is there a vinyl version on the horizon?
Fallin’ in Love
Other highlights? Relax and chill to the atmospheric vibes of “Do It Last” or enjoy rocking out to harder-edged “Million Dollar Doll” – it’s more indie-rock than indie-pop, and is another great arrangement that satisfies.
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