Interview by Kanya Maliwan

I got to sit down with the “smart pop” band PHASES (formerly JJAMZ) for an interview on Wednesday before their acoustic set at Hotel Van Zandt during SXSW. PHASES are: Jason Boesel (previously Bright Eyes/Rilo Kiley), Alex Greenwald (previously Phantom Planet), Michael Runion, and Z Berg (previously The Like). This super group is lovely and we talked about various topics such as their latest album For Life and sauce-less pizza.

Courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist

(The responses to the interview questions are condensed in this blog for transcription purposes- you’re just missing some inside jokes.)

TOPPER RADIO: Hi everyone, thanks so much for doing this interview. You’ve had a pretty busy SXSW so far. You had a show earlier today at Waterloo, two more shows tonight, and then three more shows on Friday— do you all have any other plans for this week besides playing shows?


Z: We’ve actually been here since Saturday playing some shows and DJ sets, and we’re doing press all day tomorrow.

TR: Wow, it sounds like you all are doing the typical SXSW run. This is your first time doing Southby as PHASES, right?

Z: Yeah! This is what we signed up for and it’s been really fun for so far, but my plans for when we’re not playing is to sleep.

TR: I don't blame you. so now I want to talk about the formation of PHASES. You are all very well-versed in the music industry with all of your different backgrounds and experiences being in different bands. How was it coming together and forming the sound for PHASES?

Z: It was one of the most natural things ever. I’ve been friends with these guys for ages. Before we were called JJAMZ, so we still have that in the back of our minds because that was really influential for us, but this group really feels like what the band was supposed to be and we’re going to stay.

MICHAEL: We like to say that we’re like the Phoenix who rose from the ashes of JJAMZ.

TR: Are there any underlying themes on your latest album For Life?

Z: I would say Joy. Joy is something I’ve never really experienced in music before so there’s a lot of that. Love, heartbreak…your typical songwriting subjects.

TR: Okay so now it's time for some fun questions. I was trying to be creative with questions and this is what I came up with so bear with me: Did you go through any weird phases growing up, or are going through any right now?

M: I went through a Nirvana phase. I had Nirvana t-shirts for all 365 days a year that I would wear.

TR: That’s a lot of t-shirts.

M: Well, I had about seven to eight shirts that I would wash to wear every day.

Z: Do you still have that collection?

M: No, I don’t know what I did with them! I should’ve kept them.

JASON: I went through a yo-yo phase.

ALEX: I went through a Weezer phase…I’m still going through a Weezer phase.

JASON: Oh, I went through a phase where I only ate sauce-less pizza.
TR: That’s like, a sin.
J: Yeah…I don’t know why I did that.

Z:  I went through a phase where I only ate white rice and broccoli. I’ve been on paleo diet now for a few months.

TR: Staying on this topic of food, what is everyone's favorite breakfast food?

M: If I weren’t keeping my health in mind, I would eat French toast every day. I love French toast!

Z: I love granola with blueberries and chia.

J: I like huevos rancheros.

A: Coffee.


Z: Coffee is the ultimate breakfast necessity.

TR: Agreed. Well, guys I think that’s all I have for you all, I know that you’re on a tight schedule so I don’t want to keep you. Have a great show tonight and enjoy the rest of SXSW!

PHASES: Thanks for having us!

Check out the PHASES official website for their music (http://www.phasesmusic.com/album/phases-20846) and catch them on tour (http://www.phasesmusic.com/tour) !