Day Wave, a solo project curated by Jackson Phillips, is making a name for himself in the indie rock scene. With some serious radio play from Sirius XM’s Alt Nation, Phillip’s lo-fi singles “Drag” and “Gone” each boast over 4 million streams on Spotify.
The guitar-based genre is a new step for the former jazz drummer, who studied at Berklee College of Music and was one half of the synth-heavy duo Carousel. Phillips crafts all of Day Wave’s music himself and recruits his good friends to complete the project in live settings.
We stopped by his show at The Troubadour Los Angeles to chat about his brand new track, “Wasting Time,” his upcoming full-length album, and his Ones To Watch artists.
OTW: You were a jazz drummer at Berklee College of Music, part of the electro-pop duo Carousel, and now you’re working on your solo project, Day Wave. Did you always know that you wanted to pursue music as a career?
DW: Yeah, I always knew that music was the thing I liked the most but I didn’t know how it was going to work out. I just naturally gravitated towards it.
OTW: Your electro-pop duo Carousel was pretty successful. What was the moment where you said “I want to go off and do another project?”
DW: It just wasn’t really my thing, musically. It was just kind of experimenting, and then I was like, “I don’t really want to do this. I want to make less synth-pop and more guitar music.”
OTW: When you started your career as Day Wave, you moved from Oakland to LA. What was your thought process behind that?
DW: I wanted to be somewhere where I wasn’t going to be distracted or anything. Like something just low-key, away from all of the action.
OTW: You make all of your music yourself. What’s the biggest pro and con to that process?
DW: The pro is having all of the control; complete control. The con is that there’s kind of a ceiling that you hit.
OTW: How do you translate being a solo artist to having a band when you perform live?
DW: It’s actually really easy. My band are just my friends, and they’re all really good musicians. When we rehearse, I just show them the song broken down–each element that I recorded. Then we try to figure out how we can consolidate it all into a five-piece band. They pick it up pretty easily. I’m pretty strict about how everything is played, but they’re pretty good at it.
OTW: For those who haven’t heard your music yet, what’s one song that you think represents your style the most?
DW: I’ve always liked the song, “Headcase.” That’s always been my favorite one. There’s something about the way the recording turned out. I’ve just always liked it.
OTW: You’re releasing a new song on Friday. Can you describe it?
DW: Up-beat. (laughs) I’m bad at these but it’s definitely a progression from the other stuff.
OTW: In what way?
DW; Sonically, it’s a little less lo-fi and it’s kind of expanding musically with different sounds. It’s the next step.
OTW: You’re working on your full length-album. Does it circle around a theme?
DW: I’m not sure what the theme is exactly because it’s not 100% completed. I wanted to take what I had been doing and just sonically grow it and take it to a new place, but in the same vein. A lot of the music was written around the time of my EP so it’s still in the same place. Sonically, it’s a little different and the way it’s produced, as well.
OTW: Who is on your Ones To Watch list?
DW: I haven’t been listening to any music. The only thing I’ve been listening to recently is the new Frank Ocean album and old music. Carseat Head Rest, that might be a little old now. Amber Mark. I’ve been busy but I saw that Oasis documentary so I’ve just been listening to Oasis. Hopefully they’ll come out with a tour so they are technically Ones To Watch.
OTW: If your music was a color, what would it be?
DW: A hazy blue.