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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

Thirsty Thursday Featuring Phatt James

Thank you for chatting with us! How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?

Chris Wilson: Between an album release and playing some of the biggest shows on record for Phatt James, I have really loved this last year. But I am excited to see what this year holds for us and to continue to grow.

Matt James:  The last year has been huge for us as a band. When I think back on what we’ve accomplished this year, I am proud. We released our album, made the video, and have been finding a home at Park City Music Hall in Bridgeport, CT, for our original music and our recent Incubus tribute. Our debut tribute show was a huge cap to the year, and was an incredible experience to connect with people over Incubus. To sing and play those songs I’ve admired for so long was a bucket list experience. Also, the people we have met this year have been crucial, like our publicist, Erica; our photographer, Cam; all the bands and fans of the local Connecticut music scene. And we definitely have a lot of phans to thank as well this year for coming out to our shows and supporting us from afar. Thank you.

Matt Christoforo: Matty J and Chris summed it up pretty good if you ask me. 2023 is going to be a hard year to top between all the Park City shows and the album we put out. I’m excited to work on some new music and play some more shows with the boys this year, though, and really keep the energy going.

How was it filming the video for "Seven Days"?

Chris: The guys from Kicker Pictures, who shot and edited the video, made the process so much fun and stress free. We all loved the days where we spent time shooting, whether for the sections where actors were involved, or the scenes with us playing. I can’t wait to work with those guys again

Matty J: Filming the video for “Seven Days” was a great time. I love this part of the music because we get to do something more with it, like tell a story. It is also such a team thing working with Kicker Pictures and the whole band and actors, and it makes it feel bigger than just writing a song. It was a blast to wake up and work on Phatt James in this way. Connor and Matt from Kicker Pictures really took the lead and I like seeing other people’s visions play out. I enjoyed this other kind of art form and I look forward to doing more with them, and maybe some acting myself. We had a great group of actors that helped us and they were all wonderful. Much love to them as well.

Matty C: This was actually my first music video experience! It was awesome to be there to give some creative input and watch the idea come to life right in front of me. Very cool stuff. Also the live band shots were so much fun to shoot. Location wise, I don’t think we could have picked a better spot. The graffiti and abandoned industrial vibe was perfect for this video. Kicker Pictures really nailed it, I think.

Who have been some of your biggest musical influences growing up and do the same artists currently continue to influence you now?

Chris: Dream Theater is number one for me. Mike Portnoy is and will always be my favorite drummer, and I think there are some elements of his that have rubbed off onto my playing style.

Matty J: Some of my biggest influences include Alice In Chains, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus, Pearl Jam, John Butler Trio, Jeff Buckley, and John Mayer. I also had an early appreciation for artists like Eminem and Mac Miller. I feel that those were a staple for my foundation as a songwriter, guitar player, and lyricist. Those artists definitely still influence me now, even if I don’t listen to them as much as I used to.

Matty C: There are too many to list. I'll be typing for days if I were to really try and name them all. Early on, I was enthralled with the bluesy side of bands like Zeppelin and the Stones. In high school, I discovered Blind Melon, and that band really changed me. Everything they did was interesting, and from a musician stand point, listening to and learning all their songs taught me a lot. I still go back to these bands for some inspiration all the time.

Since every project has a story, what’s the story behind your debut album “Just Begun?"

Chris: As soon as the Covid-19 pandemic shut down live music, we converted my parents’ basement into a recording studio and began tracking the album. After about 3 years, we finally had a product that we were proud to share.

Matty J: The story behind “Just Begun” is that Chris, Matty C, and I really wanted to make an album. Chris went in on building an amazing vocal booth and studio for us to record in his parents’ basement. We bought mics to make it sound proper and sent our tracks to our good friend Trevor Buckingham of Cydeways and Law Records. He’s an incredibly talented producer that we’ve been so lucky to work with. He really has been a HUGE part of Phatt James and all of our releases. Covid hit and we were just hitting our stride playing live in NYC and had our best show yet booked for Toad’s Place on a Friday night, which happened to be the weekend everything was shut down because of the pandemic. We had released “Circle Bent” but had more songs ready to be recorded. We did a cover of Highly Suspect’s “Vanity” and after releasing that, we decided to go for it making an album. We spent the next 2 and ½ years with the project being a huge focus of our lives. The story behind the songs goes back to probably 2015. I think “Just Begun” is the earliest song on the album, but maybe “Subpar.” All written in New Hampshire while I was in school at the University of New Hampshire, graduated and living a couple more years up there till we came back to CT, so they have traveled with us.

Matty C: “Just Begun” was by far the most fun I’ve had working on an album. The pandemic really put a damper on playing live, but the idea of being able to do an album at home with no time restraint really opened all of us up to get creative with the sounds we were getting for this album. There wasn’t any pressure with this one. It was a very organic process.

At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?

Chris: For me, I hope that my energy as a person comes through in my playing and will eventually inspire others to find their passion in music. I love performing and recording more than anything in the world, so I think if you see us live, that is very apparent to the fans.

Matty J: I hope the message of our music is authenticity and humble understandings and passion and depth, and that people feel good when they listen to it. Just to vibe to it, even just the music and sonic quality of it.

I hope that people can find the light in my lyrics and take them as their own as well. The lyrics are often quite personal, but I do like leaving that door open for the listener. “Seven Days” might not be the greatest set of lyrics to relate to, but it could be a warning for those paying attention. I’d be happy if I helped someone learn something I wish I would’ve sooner. So, I hope to share some knowledge lyrically and that lessons can be pulled from our music as well. There are some that slip into my lyrics when you pay attention, but I like to find the light, so I hope our fans can too.

Matty C: I think everyone will interpret an album differently and that’s one of the beautiful things about music. That being said, I think it’s up to the listener to really create their own message and meaning behind these songs. There are songs on here for every kind of vibe you might be feeling day to day. Matty J paints some awesome imagery lyric wise, and the album itself is very colorful sonically, so I think the listener has a lot to draw from with this one.

What is your favorite dish to cook?

Chris Wilson: I’d have to say that I love cooking some delicious chicken broccoli pasta with alfredo sauce.

Matt James: Something extra, like steak or even crab legs over the fire next to the river in the Catskills.

Matt Christoforo: Cheffing up some burgers and dogs on the grill at a summer cookout with good friends is unmatched haha. I’ll have to agree with Matty J on the steak, though. Who doesn’t love grilling up a good steak?

Favorite music to listen to while you cook?

Chris: If I’m cooking, I NEED some classical music on, preferably something from Chopin or Tchaikovsky.

Matty J: Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Jim Croce, Kacey Musgraves–could go a lot of ways with this. The kitchen is a great place to explore music and food. Discovering a new artist while cooking is my favorite.

Matty C: Sinatra and Martin in the kitchen, classic rock on the grill. Just feels right that way.

What is your favorite breakfast?

Chris: A double egg and cheese scrambled from Country Cow Deli in Fairfield, CT. Best breakfast sandwich in the world hands down.

Matty J: Omelette with red peppers, onions, spinach, pepper jack, cilantro, some avocado and salsa, maybe some home fries on the side and some rye toast. Superb coffee needed as well.

Matty C: Bacon Egg and Cheese sandwich and an iced coffee.

What is the best dish you ever had?

Chris: I think I’d have to say that I had the best piece of steak I’ve ever had at Harry Caray’s steakhouse in Chicago.

Matty J: Penne vodka with scallops and lobster from Lassie’s in Milford, CT.

Matty C: I’m a New Haven guy and we take our apizza very seriously here, so I’ll say a pie from Sally’s… Pretty hard to beat!

Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why?

Chris: I’d have to be sponsored by Kraft, absolutely.

Matty J: Sponsor me, Duchess!!!! Please. I wanna be the ambassador for the buffalo chicken combo #3 with the house dressing.

Matty C: Dunkin’ and Bud Light, hit me up! Let's get something going here!

Instagram: @phattjamesmusic 


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