Moscow music fans just cant seem to get enough of the German group De-Phazz. After two visits to the Russian capital in quick succession one in November 2001 and another in March 2002 the band is coming back, to the delight of its Moscow fans, to promote its new album "Daily Lama."
Founded by producer Pit Baumgartner as an "open-band concept" in 1997, De-Phazz now also includes Karl Frierson, Otto Engelhardt and vocalist Pat Appleton. The groups style contains many influences, with saxophones, mild trip-hop, Latino, drum and bass or whatever catches the groups fancy getting mixed in always on a positive note. Their music has been hailed as a refreshing change to the current jaded music scene, and is described as "perfect for parties and to wind down with your loved ones, friends or just on your own."
The group reached cult status in Moscow after the release of their album "Death By Chocolate" in late 2001, and their popularity skyrocketed after their two concerts here. LifeStyle caught up with De-Phazz vocalist Appleton via e-mail while the group was touring Greece.
De-Phazzs concert in Moscow this month will be the groups third show in the last 15 months in the Russian capital. What brings you back to the city so often, and what are you impressions of your fans here?
The demand brings us back. There are many people in Russia who love our music and we like to come to Russia because we feel very welcome here, and we have a chance to get to know the people here. We are an international band, although we are based in Germany, and we love intercultural interaction, and thats why we travel so much.
Your music has been compared to the work of bossa nova legend Antonio Carlos Jobim and electronic group Thievery Corporation, among others. How do you regard these comparisons, and what are some of your own personal influences and inspirations?
We feel very honored about these comparisons, but we hope that we have developed our own style, which is hopefully noticeable in our work. Personal influences include of course old jazz masters like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, but also Meshell Ndegeocello and Bjork.
When did you start singing, and how did you first get noticed as a singer?
I started singing when I was a little girl, and I voiced very early in my life that I wanted to be a singer. My parents wanted me to become a politician, but I realized while studying that I did not want to use my voice to stress political ideas, but to please people with it instead. I quit my political studies, took voice lessons and today I have a job that makes me happy and hopefully many others as well.
How did De Phazz come together as a group?
In 1997, when Pit Baumgartner invited some friends into his studio and made the first album, "Detunized Gravity."
Tell me a little about your new album, "Daily Lama." How does it compare to your hit album "Death By Chocolate," and how far have you strayed from your earlier sound?
We didnt really stray much from our style, but we did want to make an album that concentrated more on the singers that are usually blended to melt in with the De-Phazz sound. Karl Frierson, Otto Engelhardt and I had the opportunity to realize our ideas more than usual, and so the album has more of a personal note than the albums before. We are always taking up new influences and feel nothing would be more boring than copying our old style again and again.
Your earlier albums came out on the Mole label, and the new one is on Boutique. Why did you switch labels? Do you see yourself moving to a major label in the future, or do you want to stay on an independent label?
We switched labels basically because of the dishonesty of our earlier record company, Undercover Music (Mole). We did not have much of a choice, so we decided to give a major label a chance, Boutique being a sub-label of Universal. However, we have now been given the opportunity of creating our own label, Phazzadelic, under which we will be able to produce more different artists, as well as solo albums for the De-Phazz members.
What does the rest of 2003 have in store for De-Phazz? What do you hope to accomplish this year?
We will be touring a lot all over Europe and hopefully Canada, and maybe even take the leap to Asia or South America. We are so happy that so many people are fans all over the world and we would like to play for them and get to know their cultures.