Say "Au Revoir" to Your Ex with PHANGS' Synth-Pop Anthem [PREMIERE + Q&A]
If you've never heard of PHANGS before, you're most definitely in for a savory treat from Nashville, Tennessee. Born and raised in the early 90s, PHANGS' Jake Germany is not only known for his loving relationship with his infant son, but also blessing the wonderful world of synth-pop with his alternative tunes. After playing a string of sold out shows across North America, PHANGS is now celebrating his recent signing to Alex Da Kid's record label, KIDinaKORNER, with his luscious new single, "Au Revoir."
While the ultimate cràªpe recipe may be disputable, PHANGS' "Au Revoir" is the perfect concoction of mesmerizing vocals and captivating synths from one musical genius. What boils down to a breakup song, "Au Revoir" is PHANGS' declaration of empowerment and a plea for us to move on from past relationships that may be stopping us from enjoying our futures. Because of his undeniable talent for crafting synthy goodness, we're convinced that PHANGS is certainly an artist to keep your eyes on.
On "Au Revoir," PHANGS exclusively shared with us,
"'Au Revoir' is essentially a breakup song. But it feels like more to me. It's a song about taking control of a situation and moving forward without allowing yourself to look back. It's about empowerment. It was such a fun song to write because my friend, Jon Santana, sent me a snippet of just the guitar part in the chorus saying that he worked on it with Smallpools, and they didn't end up using it. And on the second listen to it, I mumbled the 'So long, Au Revoir' hook and then finished the chorus on the third listen through. It just naturally came together. I went to my producer, Brett Truitt, in Nashville and finished the rest of the song the next day."
Ones To Watch has your first listen of "Au Revoir" below:
In anticipation of his first single release with KIDinaKORNER, we chatted with PHANGS about his mellow signature sound, impressive shoe collection, and "Au Revoir."
OTW: PHANGS is definitely an intriguing name that makes us wonder what exactly you're about... How did you come up with the name, "PHANGS?"
PHANGS: It's honestly so dorky. The name PHANGS is actually from my favorite comic book called SAGA. And there's a comet planet that one of the characters is from called Phang. I started making these songs and didn't know what to call myself, so I decided to just go back and look through things that I personally love, which led me to rereading the entire SAGA series and stumbling upon that name.
OTW: Although you've only released one studio album as PHANGS, you have a plethora of singles and EPs under your belt. What's your favorite song you've ever written?
PHANGS: Oh man... That's such a hard one to answer. I think my favorite song that I've written will come out later this year actually. But of the tunes that are out, I'd probably go with "Nothing To Do With You." That song just poured out naturally and super quickly. I wrote and recorded the song in about 35 minutes, bounced it, and that's what is out there streaming now. It just feels super honest for where I was in that exact moment.
OTW: Taking your existing discography into consideration, your soundscape incorporates captivating synthesizers and mellow lyricism. How did you decide that this is what you wanted PHANGS to sound like?
PHANGS: Really, I never made that decision. It just kind of happened. I was raised in the early 90s, watching MTV with my mom, who was very young. So the synths and pop melodies are just naturally a part of me. I'd say that 90s pop is my earliest memory of music; however, my earliest impact by music was the early 2000s emo scene. So I guess PHANGS was just destined to be a mix of the two worlds.
OTW: Your first single with KIDinaKORNER, "Au Revoir" is a breakup song about empowerment at its core. What inspired this incredible track?
PHANGS: I've been told (by every one of my exes) that I over-romanticize everything in my life. And it's true. But I like to lean into that when songwriting. With "Au Revoir," I just wanted to make a breakup song that didn't end with sadness, like most of my earlier songs. I liked the idea of being able to recognize a shitty situation and then making moves forward without even desiring to look back or allowing it a space to creep back up.
OTW: With "Au Revoir," a snippet of the chorus' guitar part was presented to you, and you quickly crafted that into your own project. What does your creative process typically look like?
PHANGS: Yeah! My buddy from Nashville, Jon Santana, sent me a piece of the chorus instrumental with that guitar that Smallpools recorded, and I was obsessed. I was driving from Texas to Nashville at the time. On the second listen through, I mumbled, "So long, au revoir, there's the door, get goin," and then, by the third listen, I had written the entire chorus. As soon as I got to Nashville, I went straight into the studio with my friend/producer, Brett Tuitt, and recorded the entire song.
OTW: Between your recent tour with Nightly and upcoming string of summer shows with Mystery Skulls, you have a few months to decompress and spend time at home with family and friends. What do you like most about life on the road?
PHANGS: I just love traveling. I didn't have much growing up in Texas with young parents, so touring was my only chance to see the world. I'm very lucky to call it my job. PHANGS, from day one though, is about connection. I stay at the venue every night, until they have to kick us out, meeting and getting to know every single person that supports what we're all making together. That's the most important part to me.
OTW: You recently tweeted: "Procrastination is the assassination of motivation." How do you avoid procrastination and keep yourself motivated on a daily basis?
PHANGS: No joke, I think I've mumbled that phrase to myself nearly every day since I was like 13. A mentor of mine told me that back then and it stuck with me. I guess my way of staying motivated is to literally just look for inspiration every single day. Whether that's inspiration for songwriting, art, love, nature, whatever. I genuinely don't even consider wasting time, when I'm continually so inspired by the world.
OTW: Before you began releasing music as PHANGS, you were the lead vocalist of Cardboard Kids, a dynamic rock band you formed with your friends in 2013. Now that you're performing as a solo act, how has your perspective changed on the creative process?
PHANGS: Woah, you did homework! Cardboard Kids was a very fun time where I got to learn a lot about who I was and who I wanted to be. As far as the creative process though, it still starts with me in my room mumbling random syllables into random melodies until something strikes me. The only difference is the voicing of the instruments, really. It's still all from the same place. Cardboard Kids will always be a part of me as PHANGS.
OTW: Rumor has it you're a die-hard shoe collector... Tell us more!
PHANGS: Oh man, yeah, I have a lot of shoes. I've been into sneakers since I was a kid. Since we didn't have much money growing up, I used to trade random stuff that I had to kids in school with cool shoes. On an artistic level, I just like collecting them and admiring how they're designed and constructed. I don't even wear most of them. I tend to wear ratty shoes on tour, so it's truly not about flexing that I have cool or limited-edition sneakers. It really is just that I love shoes as pieces of art.
OTW: Who are your current Ones To Watch?
Catch PHANGS on tour with Mystery Skulls this summer!