Catch up with funk group The Phryg and listen to their single, "Hello Miss", taken from The Phryg's forthcoming self-titled album set to drop this July.
What brought you guys together?
Bryan: Collin and myself went to college together. We went to the Manhattan School of Music up near Columbia together and we were actually both studying classical music while we were there and became pretty good friends. We were some of the only guys in that program who actually listened to a lot of different types of music and found ourselves going out to see a lot of shows together and stuff. Later down the road, we ended up living together and, after we graduated, Collin ended up going to grad school in Florida, I stayed here in New York, and when he came back into town, he was looking to start a funk band and knew that we had really similar taste in music. We started writing tunes together, the two of us, and then shortly thereafter, we found Mike here through Craigslist-
Collin: Bought him.
Bryan: Yeah, we purchased him off Craigslist [laughs] and it's history from there. The three of us played as a trio for almost a year and a half before we actually found a keyboard player, so that's kind of how it all began.
Where does your name, The Phryg, come from?
Collin: The Phryg originally came from a musical term called Phrygian, which is a type of scale, but really only studied, educated musicians - for the most part - know what the hell that is.
Bryan: It's a nerdy musician joke.
Collin: Yeah, so that's also why we use the refrigerator as our mascot, which hopefully makes it slightly easier to figure out how to say it.
Bryan: We actually have an antique refrigerator that we bring around to our shows and sits on our merch table and he's kind of our mascot. Little Phrygie we call him [laughs]. Our goofy little refrigerator mascot.
Collin: Yeah, I always thought that it was much easier to grasp onto something if there was a logo you could associate it with which, for us, is Phrygie.
Which musicians would you say you've been influenced by?
Bryan: Probably some of the big ones, as far as funk music goes, Parliament-Funkadelic with George Clinton, some more modern day funk bands like Lettuce. But, we span quite a gamut of musical taste; we all like a little heavier stuff, like metal and progressive rock as well. We actually were just listening to a bunch of Yes - which is a British progressive rock band - in the car a lot the other day. As far as current musicians, what would you guys say?
Mike: I mean, there's a ton in the music festival scene that we drive with a lot that we are influenced by and also would love to jam with someday. There's bands like Kung Fu; a little on the jazzier side like Snarky Puppy; bands like Primus; something more on the proggy side like Umphrey's McGee; then back to the more traditional classic rock kind of stuff. I feel like we all can agree that we love and grew up with classic rock like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, stuff like that.
Mike: Yeah, we love Prince [laughs], which we do play.
Bryan: Yeah, we play some covers here and there. Prince has been on that we've touched on a couple of times, for sure.
How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard you before?
Bryan: We like to label ourselves as progressive funk. It's definitely based in funk and rock & roll. It gets a little heavy and a little proggy at times, but it's always definitely rooted in funk music. We want people to be able to shake their booties at our shows and be able to still move to the music, but it definitely has a progressive fusion taste to it.
Could you tell us more about your single "Hello Miss"?
Bryan: Sure. "Hello Miss" was one of the tunes that I wrote. It stemmed out of just living in New York and being single and the whole funny nature of how that whole game goes down in the city, trying to meet people. You just see so many people in a day and there's a lot of very attractive women in New York, so it's just about trying to summon up your courage to talk to and approach women and how that can fall into these interesting relationships that fall into dating and falls out eventually throughout time, stuff like that. Just about beautiful but dangerous women in New York City would be the way I would sum it up.
Is that same sound indicative of what we can expect to hear on your forthcoming self-titled album?
Bryan: Yeah, that's the lead single, so I think it really encompasses the whole gamut of our style: it's pretty heavy hitting at the beginning versus a pretty funky, more progressive breakdown, and it's got a really epic guitar solo. Some of the other tunes dive a little deeper into the progressive rock territory. I would say there's a little more vocal harmony and group vocals that get a little bit deeper on some of the other tracks, we do some pretty exploratory ten minute long tracks, through composed stuff that really just brings you on a full funk-rock journey. What would you guys say?
Collin: Yes, that was pretty good [laughs]. Obviously, "Hello Miss" is a little bit on the less proggy side, being our single. We have another single coming out any day now, it's called "Turn You Out", that's a very captivating song - you wrote that one too.
Bryan: Yeah, it's more of electro-funk, I guess you could call it that. It gets pretty vibe-y, there's a pretty awesome synthesizer solo in it, so it definitely gets to a pretty heavy, vibe-y space. Something that we've heard quite a bit from listeners of our music is people saying that our music is pretty nonderivative. I've listened to a lot of bands recently where I get halfway through a record and all of the songs kind of start sounding the same and I get kind of bored and I would say that's pretty much the direct opposite of our music. We cover a lot of different things, stylistically, although it's still cohesive and you can always tell it's us. We're never really trying to stick with the same formula twice, so I think that's really some of the highlights of our music and what sets us out, keeps us different from things you are coming across today in the music scene.
Is there a song from The Phryg you're most excited for your fans to hear?
Bryan: That's a good question and a hard question to answer too.
Mike: Well, it kind of goes back to what Bryan was just saying. To me, it's a little hard to choose because there are elements in every song I like because they don't sound the same, so it's a little bit difficult to choose one. There are definitely reasons for every song that I'm excited about, which I know doesn't really help answer your question [laughs].
Bryan: Yeah, I guess, my opinion might be, we have a song on the record called "Supernova" that has some really nice vocal work and is one of the more lengthy songs, but I think it just has some really catchy vocal stuff happening. Also, it's pretty progressive speaking, as far as where it takes you throughout the sections, but also has some nice rockin' stuff as well. So that's a song that we don't really get to play live at every show, just because it has a different vibe than the others, but I think that's the one that's really going to - to me - really shine in the studio version. We'll really be able to showcase some of that vocal virtuosity as well as just the band's virtuostic nature, as well.
What do you hope your fans and listeners are able to take away from your music?
Mike: That they'll want to come see us live. They'll check us out, check out our album, follow us around on social media, and check us out when we come to town.
Collin: I think Mike's right. The main reaction we'd like to get is for people to hear us and think, 'holy shit, we gotta see this band live'.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Collin: Our album is coming out in early July.
Bryan: Be on the lookout for our CD release which will be happening in New York and we will be blasting that over all of our social media.
Collin: We're also in the process of recording a music video as well for "Hello Miss", so just keep your ears open.
Bryan: Keep your ears to the ground. That music video will be coming out in June.