Phoria are a Brighton 5-piece better described as an experience than a band. Their sound is a thoughtful and immersive mixture of synthetic and organic elements that appeal to multiple senses at once. Piecing together cinematic melodies, atmospheric electronics, and dulcet vocals akin to Sigur Ros, they create extrasensory sonic environments.
Their multifaceted approach to music is largely due to founding member Trewin Howard’s experiences with synaesthesia- a condition which links two separate senses such as sound and sight together. Their visceral approach to music evokes emotion before understanding rather than the other way around, allowing them to communicate complex abstract concepts in a simple way.
In 2010 they released their first EP Still Yourself, followed by Bloodworks in 2013 and Display the following year. Throughout their musical career, Phoria have gained support from local and international fans alike, landing their single “Red” a #2 spot on Hype Machine and garnering comparisons to prominent artists like Aphex Twin and Radiohead.
On June 3rd, the artist’s first amorphous full length burst forth: Volition. A true testament to the band’s growth over the years, it features massive new soundscapes as well as reimaginings of previous EP tracks. It’s got an impressive cohesion to it, with a rare kind of flow unique to the artist.
We got to ask them a few questions on the subject matter, sources of inspiration, and the future for Phoria. Prepare yourself for cheeky answers and brush up on your knowledge of astral projection before proceeding.
First of all, congratulations on the release of Volition! Is there a sense of relief or are you bracing yourselves for the next step?
The sense of relief lasted about 43 seconds before giving way to the inevitable surge of: “Oh sh*t, what the hell do we do now?” More because we’d spent so long nurturing this one thing that we didn’t know how to function without it as opposed to feeling an impending sense of whatever comes next. I’m sure cracking on with the next album will sooth our loss (pun intended).
From one EP to the next it seems there’s a natural growth that occurs. How does Volition differ from your previous releases (aside from length, of course)?
Height, breadth, weight, intensity, and of course girth.
Your music as a whole touches on some heavy universal truths: mortality, doubt, acceptance, etc. What’s the story behind the single “Evolve?”
It’s about people and our fear of what’s new. I think the fastest way to age is to become nervous of change or precious about tradition. Let’s all blast forth into a sparkling future of savage new emotions and dizzying magnitude…eh?
Though “Red,” “Undone,” and “Emanate” have been released previously, they fit very well with overall sonic theme of Volition. Why did you choose to include them?
Because we love them and want to share them with all the lovely people that might listen to our album but didn’t hear the EPs. And like you mentioned, they fit well. It’s an honest expression of the last few years of our lives and it really needed to be, for reasons I will annoyingly say I can’t go into now.
Additionally, “Saving Us A Riot” stands out from the rest of the album in it’s minimalism and use of acoustic guitar over electronic production. How did this track come about?
Once upon a time, something didn’t quite work out the way I’d expected it to. “Saving Us A Riot” was an attempt to make something permanent and meaningful out of something unshakably transitory. If you can make out the lyrics it’s all frightfully obvious.
Trewin, I read that you have synaesthesia. From my understanding this is a condition that links multiple senses together. How does this affect your music?
Wonderfully. I don’t know how I would write music if I weren’t chasing a vision of textural shape and colourful sounds and attempting to tame concepts I have no other way to explain. Many people experience synaesthesia to some extent and it’s an intriguing and powerful thing to embrace, wether you are creating art or consuming it.
What’s next for Phoria?
Unenthusiastic astral projection.
If your interest is piqued, you can find more information about Phoria on their website. Immerse yourself in the milky gorgeousness of Volition below.