Small Talk: PHIL WILLIAMS

Who are you and what do you do:
I am Phil Williams and I do lots. I play guitar and sing in The Inflation Kills, rave about food in my spare time, and then live an entirely alter ego of a professional life where I use words like “networking” and “externship” and “leverage partnerships” and care endlessly about growing opportunities. I play video games, almost exclusively basketball video games, and almost exclusively on general manager mode where I always try to draft for potential.

Current obsessions:
I am currently obsessed with real estate. I’m watching houses in Hamilton sell for dozens of thousands over asking price to people from Toronto who start bidding wars! It’s hilariously sad to me. I’m wondering where everyone from my generation will live as the baby boomers continue to cash in on our misfortune. I’m obsessed with trying to predict where all the displaced people will go. Will I be displaced? Will you?

A song or a record that will always put you in a good mood, without fail:
Oh, good! A positive vibes question! I really dig Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings by Father John Misty. I was late to that record because I was the school principal in a rural northwestern Mennonite town in Alberta. To say the least, they weren’t too media savvy up there. Anyway, my good friend Adam Barnes (of From Fiction) blew my mind one day when I was visiting Toronto and that record has actually now destroyed my life. In a positive vibes kinda way.

Tell us about an album or artist you think is really under-appreciated, and why they are deserving of more praise:
The band WEED from out Vancouver way is ridiculous! I’m blown away that in this 90s obsessed era they aren’t charting out east. I think their DIY nature, their willingness to think outside the box (well, not the bento box–they’ve played a sushi restaurant) and their sludge of melody should reign in hundreds of likes on your preferred social media platform. WTCHS from Hamilton tug on the ol’ heart strings with a style that is so reminiscent of 1990-1992 Midwestern experimental indie rock, and that is essentially all I listened to in my formative years. I would probably draft Tori for potential if the music scene were a video game on GM mode. She hammers those toms… Classic Hamilton drumming, really.

Most played track on your iTunes:
This month? The Night Marchers — And I Keep Holding On.

Most cherished musical object:
I have considered purchasing a new guitar… But I just can’t imagine parting with the “old” guitar. I play a solid SG standard, mahogany with a sunburst. I’ve been carting it around with me since I was 17! That’s my longest relationship, outside of my friend Carl who I visited in the hospital as an infant… I don’t even care that it’s corroded from tour sweat, bent out of shape from extreme temperature changes, and just cuts out whenever the fuck it wants to even though everything’s right tight! It is my most cherished musical object. That and an old OXES shirt I’ve worn for probably a year cumulatively that is just shredded but indicative of an era in my life when I was so carefree. Not free, but carefree. Who knew a shirt could do that to you? Tommy Hilfiger and Fred Perry, that’s who.

Proudest moment:
I proposed on TV because I wanted to be a complete asshole and do something really cliche. My proudest moment was when she said yes. Very close second was recently when my mom completed her PhD after years of trials and tribulations, divorce, retirement, disability, and it was all just a sign of my family character. Just do it. Just like the Nike guy, yeah. Just quit complaining, or do it more quietly so that your in-laws don’t hear you, and get’r done… Whatever it is.

Most vulnerable moment:
Every time I have been on stage. There is this powerful affect that I experience every time I consider playing a song for someone else. The truth is, I’ve been filled with stage fright for my whole life, which is really strange because I’m such a ham (ask Oliver from O’s Clothes #HamOnt — great underwear, men). Every moment I listen to a track on playback, share a demo, get on stage… Those are my most vulnerable moments. Luckily, that is why humans invented alcohol. Kidding. Or am I? *poof* — I magically disappear into the type of cloud of dust you can’t see because it only existed in a pre-emoticon era. EDIT Julia (my really smart and funny partner) just made fun of my “joke” for not being clear at all. #earlyIRCjoke #fail

If you could score a film for anyone, who would it be any why:
I write some pretty dark ambient stuff that nobody would ever want to play with me. I think I would probably score a film for anyone. I mean, I know I’m supposed to identify a director here so you can get a better sense of my aesthetic preferences! But, really, who would turn down the chance to score any film? That’s been a chronic problem of mine. I’ve never wanted to roll in one specific circle, so I’m not going to say “oh I wish I could do a Kubrick or Coppola film” just to be cool in circle x. It’s like when I went to see a rockets red glare show in 2001 and I wore a bright yellow fuzzy sweater and, knowing we were scheduled to play a couple dates with them in the near future, I went up to Evan and he just looked at my sweater in complete disgust. Haha, it was hilarious to me! Actually, I even had a writer in the university newspaper recant her positive review of our record based on that sweater! A SWEATER! There is no greater marginalizing power than the white arts scene. I would score a film for anyone who was dumb enough to ask me and give me complete creative control. And I would do it wearing a giant fuzzy yellow sweater. I’d rather make a scene than be a part of one.

Your favourite use of a song in a film:
Ironically, Cities In Dust was featured in the movie Superbad. Hahahahaha, just kidding Zachary et al, I love you peeps and you know it. Whys I even apologize, everyone knows Zachary doesn’t read. He works in TV. Wow, these answers really turned into an exercise in alienation!

Favourite venue to play in:
I always used to love playing at Amigo’s in Saskatoon, because you’d get these great burritos before you played and then burp and fart your way through Bend Sinister’s set. I honestly feel like every time I’ve played there it’s been with Bend Sinister. Hey, that’s another band that should get more attention. So technically proficient, so difficult to pin down. Pretty interesting, but probably too confusing for most people because they merge so many different styles.

Dream venue to play in and why:
I would love to play the ACC, but just because I want to be closer to all the Raptor sweat. Seriously, there are few greater Raptors fans than me. Drake is nothing compared to my fandom. People know that Drake loves the raptors, right?

First band t-shirt you ever purchased from a merch table:
The first piece of merch I ever bought was Golden Lake Diner merch. I have no recollection as to whether that was a shirt or a tape cassette.

Band you’d leave your bandmates for:
Fleet Foxes. It’s just so much easier to play in quiet bands, plus then everyone would sing together. There is just something so communal feeling about group harmonies, as compared to gang vocals a la tough guy hardcore. Not that we’re tough guy hardcore, but we’re definitely square in the middle of those two poles, and I’d like to move further toward the side that the tough guy hardcore gangs would call the pussy side.

Album you want to expose your kin to whilst in the womb:
Rachmaninov. Seriously, that is some pianist. I think womb music has to be really interesting and complex. That’s good for babies, right? I would love to experiment with my kids and play only 5/4 tunes for one and 4/4 tunes for the other… Then see which ones turns out to be more boring/dumber. I’ve already placed my bets. Is that child abuse?

If for some reason you lost the ability to make and play music, what would fill that gap:
Working with kids who want to play music but can’t afford instruments.

What was your last dream about:
Everyone was happy. We all live happy and productive lives, the State did its job of keeping us safe and caring for us, and life was great. The environment wasn’t on the verge of collapse, extinction wasn’t threatening every species, and clean fresh air was plentiful.