Hailing from ATL, Phil Jones’ name became known when he joined Washed Out, the band that will forever be associated with “chillwave,” on tour. We caught up with Jones at The Buzz Mill before his show with Wild Belle and Toro y Moi, to talk more about Dog Bite.
Jones was born and mostly raised in Jersey but attended high school and a part of college in Atlanta. Unfortunately, his time at Savannah College of Art and Design was cut short due to the lack of funds, but his misfortune would only lead to good things. After dropping out of college, Jones decided to turn to music.
“I wasn’t trying to do anything with it,” Jones said. “I was just bored and having fun with my new laptop. Yeah, just kind of worked out. People started listening, I guess.”
When Jones said people, it wasn’t just any people. London’s Young Turks record label caught wind of Jones’ music through MySpace. Jones had started uploading the things he had been messing around with onto his page and with almost no self-promotion, he was being flown out to London to record.
“It just kind of made me…got me a little excited about making music and like going into that world,” Jones said. “I didn’t know a thing about it before that, but it was just exciting that someone was interested and wanted to put out something I made.”
“I was knee-deep into some MySpace,” Jones said with a laugh. “Those were good days for music.”
While Jones was in London recording with Young Turks, he exchanged messages with Greene and they both expressed interest in each other’s music. Around this same time, Greene’s project, Washed Out, blew up. Jones didn’t hear from Greene for about a year until he released his Gold Rings Last EP through Young Turks. Like most dudes, it was a pretty simple arrangement. Greene hit Jones up because he was putting a band together and he asked him to join; so Jones did just that.
From there on out, Jones has been on an adventure. He claims that touring with Washed Out and Yeasayer back in 2010, “spoiled the shit out of me.” Jones wasn’t aware of the process of how a band gets to that point but now that he is doing it himself, he gets it. Touring wasn’t the only thing he learned about while on the road. While he was playing keys/percussion for Washed Out, Jones admitted he had never really made a full song on a guitar. But fortunately, he had the opportunity to play guitar during his free time on tour and played keys every day.
Throughout his first tour, the only thing Jones could say was bad was the ridiculous drives you had to do every day. He said that you kind of start to go crazy in the van after seeing the same four people every day. For that to the be the worst part, you know that everything else was great. Jones chuckles as he recalls the best moments on the trip.
“Australia or Japan definitely,” Jones said. “I just think…how is this..I’m just a kid from Jersey and I’m going to Japan.”
And that kid from Jersey is now on tour with his own project in support of the recent release of his full-length album, Velvet Changes, and working on so much more. Jones describes his music as your basic “meat and potatoes” pop music. From a fan’s standpoint, it’s more than just that. His style is not that easy to pinpoint, but that is what makes it stand out. Velvet Changes is much more complex than his other work.
“That stuff was a lot more like…I can’t really listen to that stuff anymore,” Jones said. “I’m all for repetitive, but, like, I don’t know what I was doing at that point. I guess I was just having fun. When I think of those songs, I think ridiculously simple. I think Velvet Changes has a lot more thought.”
Jones believes that with each release that he has, his music will always have a new sound. Exploring different things helps him evolve his tunes and he claims, “that you can’t really ever stop discovering what you can do unless you’re like, ‘I’m not gonna play guitar ever again!’”
In 2013, you can look forward to Dog Bite’s second album release and many more projects from Phil Jones. From a possible album release with his band Acid Flashback, a new sludge-psych band called Stoned and the start-up of a “hip-hop thing.” Like the rest of our interview, Jones keeps it simple.
“I just enjoy playing for people every night.”
Watch the official video for “Prettiest Pills,” the lead sing from Dog Bite’s Velvet Changes below.