Turning Us Upside Down
by Ally Abramson
Phase Five is based in Los Angeles, but the band includes members from all over the world. The group was originally brought together through their mutual love of creating and sharing music. Members include Jeremiah Neil, Alex Odon, Nelson Gabriel, Jay C. and Lee Brown. Phase Five has just released a video for their latest single “Upside Down” and are preparing to release an EP soon, thanks to the support and dedication of many fans who even funded the bands efforts through an IndieGoGo campaign.
Recently, the members of Phase Five sat down and talked to us about their fans, their music and what’s next for them.
How would you describe your music and your sound?
Jeremiah Neil: I would say it’s urban pop. It’s sort of a newer Justin Bieber album, Chris Brown sound inspired by urban pop artists – Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Usher.
So you guys just released a single and you have a video coming out. What can you tell me about that?
Jay C.: We shot the video about a month ago, actually. We came up with this concept. It’s basically two parts. One part is a performance scene in a warehouse, where we’re showing off our performance skills. Then there is the storyline. That’s us and our love interests. If you’ve heard the song “Upside Down,” then it correlates to that. We had to get our acting on a bit, which was fun. We shot at some beautiful locations in Malibu, so it was really exciting.
Did you guys have any experiences that stand out to you so far?
Nelson Gabriel: The best reaction we ever had from a crowd was when we opened for Kalin and Myles. It was a great moment. There was a mutual attraction between the crowd and us on stage. We looked out and it was just amazing.
Jay C.: It makes us feel like we’re doing our job well, you know? We couldn’t even hear ourselves through the monitors, because people were screaming so loudly.
Well that’s good, if you messed up then nobody would know! How do you think social media has affected your ability to get out there and get a fan base?
Alex Odon: Social media is a great thing for new artists like us, because it gives us a platform to reach a lot of people.
Jeremiah Neil: It’s helped us connect with people all around the world. I don’t think that we would have the support that we have if this were ten or fifteen years ago, the time when there were the Backstreet Boys, N’SYNC, etc. We would have had to start from scratch. Right now we’ve got all these crazy countries and loyal fans behind us because of social media. It’s the best feeling to know that our music is reaching out all over the world.
Nelson Gabriel: It’s pretty awesome when we don’t know who is going to show up to our performances. Then they’re like “Hey, I’m so and so from Twitter, and we’re like ‘Oh my gosh!’” We put the face to the name. We get excited because we’ve connected with them so much online that it’s very exciting to meet them in person.
If you guys could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Nelson Gabriel: Oh there are so many! I’ll say Fifth Harmony definitely, because there are five people and then I feel like I’m choosing five.
Alex Odon: Yeah that would be fun. I don’t think a boy band has ever collaborated with a girl band before, so it’d be new!
Who would you say inspires you then?
Jeremiah Neil: Well are you ready for a long list of people then?
Alex Odon: As a band, I would say definitely N’SYNC, Backstreet Boys, and more recently One Direction. Also solo artists like, obviously Beyoncé, Michael Jackson and Chris Brown.
Nelson Gabriel: I think a lot of our inspiration comes from other groups, just because we look up to them and study them. We see what they did to make it and we compare and see what we need to do for our next steps. Individually, I grew up in Puerto Rico which is a Latin community so most of my inspirations are Latin artists; Ricky Martin especially.
Where do you guys see your band going next?
Jeremiah Neil: After the EP, our goal is to market the hell out of this music, so this summer our goal is to travel, travel, travel and do as many shows as possible, meeting as many fans as possible. We really want to get our message out there, especially after we took three months to buckle down on our music. Now it’s time to put it out there.
Tell me about your docu-series “On The Rise”.
Jay C.: It’s pretty much a bunch of clips edited together to show a behind the scenes look at creating the EP. It’s the stuff people don’t normally get to see. We even showed the hard times, as well as the great ones, too.
Jeremiah Neil: It’s the least we can do. We owe everything to our fans. We started this journey thanks to them. We had an IndieGoGo account for it. They went above and beyond, and fully funded our EP. The least we can do is give them what they want and hype them up.
Nelson Gabriel: I also feel like it’s cool because growing up on MTV there were shows like Diary and Behind the Music where the artist got to be more personable and relatable. When you hear the final product the songs are amazing, but in the studio it takes a lot of work, dedication and persistence to get the sound you want. I feel like it makes us seem more normal. We all struggled and persisted and we get to showcase the amazing producers we worked with, which is really awesome. We hope they get some exposure from that too. We’ve got a few more left that we hope everyone enjoys!
Do you guys have anything to say to the fans who have supported you and funded your EP?
Alex Odon: A big thank you first of all. None of it would be possible without them.
Jeremiah Neil: I think the cool thing about us is that we don’t call our fans “fans.” We call them family and supporters, because we have such a strong bond. If they only knew how much we talk about them by name every day, it’s crazy. It’s because we spend so much time interacting with them on social media. There are fans who donated thousands of dollars so we could get out there now, instead of having to wait until our persistence paid off. We really appreciate their support. Thank you!
How do you guys think that having such a diverse group of people in your band has affected your sound?
Jay C.: If you listen to our music it’s pretty easy to identify the individuality in each of our voices. We sing very differently and have different tones, etc. Yet it works together.
Nelson Gabriel: We’re even surprised. Sometimes we’re like “Oh wow, that sounds amazing!” It’s kind of surreal. It’s a bit of a learning curve as well.
Alex Odon: The thing is we all five have different styles and ways that we sing. So at first it was kind of hard, but once we got it, we really got it. The sound has really come together.
Jeremiah Neil: It makes us different as a group, because in the past there are groups that have one or two lead singers. They pick the people out who have the most commercial sounding voices. In Phase Five on the EP all five of us have been featured and it really works. Everyone gets a chance to shine. That’s what makes us stand out.
Copyright ©2015 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 28, 2015.
Photos ©2015 Nikki Parimore. Courtesy of Parimore Management. All rights reserved