Interview: Meet The “Mod God” Phlo Finister + “Hotel Miami” RMXFeatured, Music — By JGM Staff on January 21, 2013 at 2:53 am
After it only being four weeks since Jungle Gym had reviewed Phlo Finister’s EP “Poster Girl”, we have had the honor of having a phone interview with Phlo herself about her previous EP “Crown Gold” as well as her more recent EP “Poster Girl”. During this interview we also get the chance to go in dept to learn about her inspiration and influences for not only her music, but style as well, and what we should expect from her this year.
Interview by India Henriquez
Starting off with the basics of who Phlo Finister is…
IH: For the Jungle Gym Readers, can you summarize who Phlo and Elijah Finister are, and what separates them from each other?
Phlo Finister: “Phlo is all about the Youthquaker /Mod movement, the entertainer of the two. All things Mod! Elijah is the normal girl who was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Oakland, CA that holds the back story of who Phlo Finister is.”
IH: How did you start singing?
Phlo Finister: “I grew up singing in the Church, my Grandfather was a Pastor and they always had me singing during the Sunday services, and I just kinda did that growing up. It helped me get over stage fright and other things that come along with singing publicly, and by the time I was 17 I started singing professionally.”
IH: And how did that come to you at the age of 17? Did you book gigs locally?
Phlo Finister: “No, I was picked up by Def Jam to do wardrobe styling. From the transition of modeling, to wardrobe styling, I realized that I wanted to do music; and through music I could incorporate modeling and styling while pursuing my musical career.”
IH: So this position at Def Jam, really clarified that you wanted to establish a musical career?
Phlo Finister: “Yeah, as I was styling and working with artist I realized that I could do this for myself, and build my own career from it. The motivation behind the music was definitely the styling and modeling.”
Moving along within the interview, Phlo compares and contrasts “Poster Girl” and “Crown Gold” breaking down the influences of the two, and the inspiration behind the lyrics on both, as well as her inspiration as the artist she is becoming and molding herself into, as well…
IH: “Poster Girl” and “Crown Gold” are completely different from each other lyrically; “Poster Girl” defines a specific lifestyle of call-girls, hit-women, drugs, etc. and “Crown Gold” is more about love and relationships. How did you make the transition to make the two EP’s?
Phlo Finister: “Well to me, “Crown Gold” was like a mash-up of all of my favorite styles of music. I didn’t have any original work on this EP, and the tracks were just my own covers of my favorite artists. I was like “Okay, let me put The Doors with a Dr. Dre beat.” Basically, just taking a lot of the classics I grew up listening to and creating a juxtaposition of the ‘60’s and classic Hip Hop, and this became basis of “Crown Gold”. “
“For “Poster Girl” it was more of my original pieces of work, and all of my influences put together among my original songs. It was definitely a cinematic process for me, because as I was writing “Poster Girl” I was really trying to create a world around this girl that was a fashion model with a ‘60’s/mod style, but at the same time making it Hip Hop because of the references I made. For example, “Dopeman”; you think about that, and think about NWA, with their own “Dopeman” track.”
IH: So there weren’t any first hand experiences with the stories that were depicted in the music on “Poster Girl”?
Phlo Finister: “No, I just put together more Hip Hop influences, and created a screen play style of writing so it would feel like a movie.”
IH: Sounds kind of like the female-version of how male rappers rap.
Phlo Finister: “Yeahhh! Like storytelling, and using fashion as a muse as well.”
IH: What are your other influences, what are you inspired by to create the music that you are creating?
Phlo Finister: “I listen to a lot of Portishead, a lot of UK music like Ellie Goulding, and Marina and the Diamonds. I don’t think they necessarily influences, but I was listening to them a lot while I was recording “Poster Girl”. Mainly, my influences are from the ‘60’s and the Edie Sedgwick era. That time held the image I was trying to portray each, I wanted to embody each Youthquaker in every way at that time while colliding two different worlds together lyrically (Hip Hop and the ‘60’s).
IH: You talked about the “Youthquaker” movement, can you explain to the Jungle Gym Magazine readers what exactly that is?
Phlo Finister: “Well the term was coined by the editor of Vogue in the 1960’s, Diana Vreeland which incorporated fashion and music and influential people during that time, like Andy Warhol. She took the art scene of that time, and created a movement from it.”
IH: Would you like to inspire others to follow along and be inspired by this movement as well?
Phlo Finister: “That has been my own personal influences; I took the art of that time, and created music around it. Often when I’m writing I’ll watch films like “Chelsea Girls”, and use the colors, the unfocused lenses that created scenes within the films, etc. and wanted to use that as the basis of creating my own version of it. So in essence with more modern day influences, the sound becomes futuristic and the image is vintage.”
IH: That’s very innovative, it’s hard in this day and age to gain recognition and stay relevant as an innovator because many people may not understand, nor accept the challenge of something new.
Phlo Finister: “Yeah, where we are in music there are a few other innovators, but it just hard to break through the sounds of others because people may not understand what you do. I just want to be a pioneer within my own, so I can inspire and expose people so they can understand what I’m really doing.”
IH: We’re only a week into 2013, what can we expect from you musically and what do you expect from yourself this year?
Phlo Finister: “I’ve already been working on my debut album, which will probably be pushed by a major label since I’m already signed with Warner/Chappell for publishing. From that it should lead into a deal with Warner Brothers. I’m also working in the UK/overseas and actually have my debut show over there, coming up in London. I’m also working on my line, which will be inspired by the Youthquaker movement and mod dresses.
IH: Wow, so you have a lot going on and lined up.
Phlo Finister: “Yeah, like you said, we’re only a week in but I have a lot of people interested in investing in my brand and what I’m about.”
IH: Besides the lucky ones overseas that get to have the experience of a live performance by you, do you have any stateside shows coming up?
Phlo Finister: “As time progresses, I think New York would be the first venue for a show, but right now it’s overseas. I have a lot of fans in Russia, Paris, and London.”
IH: Yeah, that’s cool to start overseas and then make your way over to the States.
Phlo Finister: “Exactly, I’ll probably get a UK deal, remaster “Poster Girl” and then have my debut album, “Youth Quaker”, pushed in the States.”
IH: On your debut album, do you have any collaborations, featured artist, or producers we can anticipate seeing?
Phlo Finister: “I can’t really say right now, because I’m just getting into the studio and writing. I have been writing with some of the original old school writers from the ‘60’s, so as far as collaborations and features, they’ll probably come within the production of the album. I’ve also been working with Andrew Dawson as well, he mixed Kanye West’s “808’s and Heartbreaks” and “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” so with him, I’m hoping to create a specific sound for my own album.
IH: Well, I think we can wrap this up! Do you have any last words for Jungle Gym Magazine?
Phlo Finister:“No, (laughter) just STAY MOD!”
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