Thirty-year-old Philip Cogley is took to the road with his one-man beatboxing band, The Saturday Giant, last month for a five-and-a-half week tour. And while he’s already made his way through Des Moines (we hope you made it!), he is definitely a musician worth giving a listen. We took a few minutes to chat with this Ohio-based musician about his local music scene, a venue that houses secret famous people, and he gives us an awesome three-word description of his music.
BB: Give our readers a feel for your music–describe your sound in three words that all begin with a B.
SG: A bombastic, beautiful barrage.
BB: What other musicians have you been compared to in the past? I got a Death Cab for Cutie feel with some of your intros.
SG: I get a lot of Radiohead and Pinback comparisons. Others I’ve heard more than once are WHY?, The Antlers, and Explosions in the Sky. That’s the first Death Cab comparison I’ve heard I think, but as long as we’re talking earlier Death Cab (Transatlanticism is the last good album they made, in my opinion), I’m totally cool with that.
BB: Do you do your own beat-boxing?
SG: Of course! I do my own everything. Haha.
BB: Where did you play your best show and who was it with?
SG: Hm. I don’t know that I have a “best” show, but one of the more memorable shows of the last tour was at a place called The Cloud Club in Boston. It’s an arts commune of sorts, an old house converted into a majestic living sculpture. A few famous people live there, but I’m not allowed to talk about that. One of the folks I played with there was Tristan Allen, who has toured with Amanda Palmer (of Dresden Dolls fame). That was a fun show.
BB: If you could tour with any musician in the world, who would it be and why?
SG: That’s a tough question to answer, because so much of the touring experience is about what happens when you’re not on stage. So I’d need to know more about the personal lives of my favorite artists to answer that intelligently. From a purely musical standpoint, I guess I’d choose Radiohead, because I feel like I’d have the most potential to learn from those guys. They’re so smart with technology.
BB: Do you have a favorite venue to play? Where is it and why is it so flippin’ awesome?
SG: My home venue is Kobo, in Columbus. It’s a really comfortable venue because just about everyone who works there is or has once been a touring musician, so they know how to take care of folks on the road.
BB: What’s your favorite song and what was the inspiration?
SG: I can’t choose a favorite, I don’t think. All of my songs are meaningful to me in different ways. One song I’m really happy with lyrically is “The Fix,” because the entire song is an extended metaphor. I use lots of drug imagery to try to evoke one aspect of the way being in love can feel—the part with all the desperation and yearning. Drug addiction and love are very similar in a lot of ways, including the ways in which they affect brain chemistry, so I’m happy with the way that one came out.
BB: What was your local music scene like growing up?
SG: I came up playing in a post-hardcore kind of band in high school. Our scene was mostly suburban kids–really pissed off, but not all of us were quite sure why. We’d play these huge shows with 6-10 bands on the bill at the local Armory, or some other space we could rent out on the cheap and hold all ages shows. We also played a lot of shows in basements and garages. Like a lot of youth-oriented music scenes, the shows were usually pretty loud, violent and sweaty. Not many of the bands were very accomplished musically speaking, but we made up for it (or tried to, anyway) with tons of energy.
I’m a much better musician these days, but I have to say that sometimes I miss the energy of those shows. It’s more fun playing music in that kind of environment than it is playing to a bunch of people standing in a bar with their arms crossed.