Breaking Band

With their debut album, the pop group Phases finds their identity.

PHASESto credit-vincent-perini

This week, the electro-pop quartet PHASES released their first album FOR LIFE. But it’s hardly their first rodeo. The band, which consists of drummer Jason Boesel (formerly of Rilo Kiley and Bright Eyes), Alex Greenwald (the former lead singer of Phantom Planet), Z Berg (former lead singer of The Like) and singer-songwriter Michael Runion, were all still in their respective bands when they hatched the idea to join forces in 2009. “We were all out having fun one karaoke night in Hollywood, when we figured we should go home and start our own band,” says Berg. “So we recorded a song, and put it on Myspace.” The quartet soon began releasing songs under the name JJAMZ, until 2014, when they regrouped to record their first full-length album. “We recorded the album in Alex’s living room,” says Berg. “We would sit and talk for hours, and project movies, and play Mario Kart. For every 2 hours of work, there were 10 hours of talking and hanging around.” The band, which changed their name to PHASES in 2014 to reflect their new sound, counts Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Whitney Houston, and Dr. Dre’s The Chronic 2001 as key influences in their new album. “There’s definitely an air of nostalgia.”