Phangs makes music for a coming-of-age movie

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welcome to APRwhere we spotlight up-and-coming artists who will soon become your new favorite.

Jake Germany, who is best known for his solo work as Phang, had a prolific musical career for over a decade. After debuting on the thriving emo scene in Texas, Germany played with bands such as the secret handshake and Connect K, to name a few, before moving to Nashville and pursuing his emotionally transparent Phangs project full-time. Versatility has always been a constant for Phangs, who incorporates everything from pop, rock and EDM to create radio-ready anthems. On his latest album, I love everything you hate about yourself, Phangs has entered more guitar-focused territory. It fits his sound well, especially on catchy singles”my parents love you” and “Pixelated,” which both contain choruses that seem tailor-made for a coming-of-age movie soundtrack.

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Phangs is the embodiment of who Germany truly is as a person: effortlessly cool, a rabid consumer of the things he loves, and a positive, uplifting presence that’s needed in today’s modern music.

When did you start playing in bands from the local Dallas/Fort Worth music scene?

I ended up starring in Secret Handshake right after I graduated from high school. I skipped my high school graduation to play with them, and it was cool because I went from every show in high school to immediately being in one of these remarkable local bands within two years of my life. . I did it Distorted tour that summer and shared the same stage as Katy Perry, Chwayze, Maine and all these bands that were really great.

Why did you decide to go from playing in bands to being a full-fledged solo artist?

I’ve just had my hands on so many different things throughout my life. Phangs is more my baby and the project I can do whatever I want with. It’s just like an extension of myself.

Your previous material touched on so many different genres, from EDM and pop to hip-hop. With your last album, you adopted a more guitar-oriented sound. What caused this change in sound?

Phangs was never meant to be what he is. I made Phangs into a publishing entity to write songs for other people. Being in Nashville was something I already did a lot, and I thought it would just be cool to have a name for the project as a writer. I released a few songs and people latched onto them. Since then, I continue to write songs that I find funny. I was very lucky to have friends like Gibson Guitars, who let me build my own signature guitar, and that alone inspired me to play more. In turn, I started writing more guitar music, but it was still that authentic progression.

Speaking of the fun behind your music, there’s such a tangible sense of warm, playful energy with everything you create. Where does it come from?

When I decided that Phangs would be a real project, I knew I wanted to be completely transparent. These people will know everything about me, the name of my dog, the type of vehicle I drive. [I want to] be an open book. They’ll know that my favorite thing in the world is wrestling and that I love teen dramas. That’s what Phangs is: an open book of all the guilty pleasures that I love.

You have made various collaborations with artists such as Kellin Quinn, bowling for soup and Relient K. Why do you think co-writing is such a rewarding process for you?

Many sessions for Phangs have been with my friends. During quarantine, I was missing people, so I started texting my friends who I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with in the past, whether on tour, in the studio, or writing. With my song”A wound like this“, I texted Matt Thiessen [Relient K] and was like, “I got this song. It would be really fun if you jumped on it,” then he sent out a voice, which was the same thing that happened with Phoebe Ryan. The only one that wasn’t a genuine thing was the one with LFOs. I wrote this song called “The digital age,” and I thought it felt like a 90s summer, sitting by the pool, kind of banger. I was going back to memory and wondering what song would play at that time and I realized it would be “summer girlsby LFO. I Instagrammed LFO, and they loved the song, which was really crazy. I like to create with other people and it gives it a different life than I can give it myself.

[Photo by Ryan Carcia]

As husband and father, how does family inspire your composition?

I’ve always had the energy of a father, but I think having kids and an amazing wife supporting me changes things, but also makes me see the people who come to my shows differently. I see music as a service industry and try to figure out how to serve people as if it were a restaurant. How can I cook them the best meal that is nutritious, and will make them feel good and want to come back? As I write, I genuinely think of specific listeners I know who are fans of my music. In Des Moines, Iowa, if that particular person heard this song after coming home from a bad day at school and just wants to go to their room and put on a song, what can I tell them so that their life has more sense? This is how I approach songwriting as Phangs.

From your catalog of songs, which one are you most proud of?

Lately, and especially at my concerts, it’s a new song from the last album called “That’s enough.” What’s crazy is that I wrote the whole album but I felt like I needed one more song that summed it up a bit better. I went back and wrote the song where the whole premise is like, “You’re still here and still alive,” and sometimes that’s enough. It’s really touching people, and recently someone at the Charlotte and Atlanta shows on the tour got “That’s Enough” tattooed on their arm.

Recently, you collaborated with Vans for your own signature shoes and scored major TV placements on the island of love. How did it happen?

I’ve always wanted to design shoes, and it’s always fascinated me. Vans are the ultimate touring drummer, and you can wear them forever. Getting to do that has been crazy for me. We released two pairs of shoes and a backpack, with a third pair to come. I’m a real fan of the island of love. My wife and I put the kids to bed in time so I could watch it every night when I’m not on tour. We have three songs on this current season, and I never really write specifically for that kind of stuff, so it’s always fun whenever a music supervisor hears a song and thinks it’s perfect.

FOR FANS OF: The Band Camino, Maine, flower

SONG RECOMMENDATION: “My parents love you”

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