We spoke with Ricky Dana (guitar and vocals) and Wyn Barnum (guitar and vocals) about their amazing band, Phoneboy. Unfortunately James Fusco (bassist) was unavaliable at the time of the interview. Based out of Hoboken, New Jersey, the band is comprised of three talented college students who have used music as a medium to express themselves in a manner that makes their songs relatable and interesting to listen to. The realm of indie-rock lets the band show their many sides through the ever changing definition of the genre. They have recently released their EP, Handheld, so be sure to check it out here!
WCBG: Please introduce yourselves and tell us a fun fact about you!
Wyn: Hi, I'm Wyn and I'm a vegetarian.
Ricky: Hi, I'm Ricky and I have never been skiing or snowboarding
WCBG: What's the local scene like in Hoboken?
Phoneboy: Wyn and James are from San Francisco, and Ricky is from Toms River, New Jersey. We are based out of Hoboken [New Jersey]. Wyn and Ricky attend Stevens Institute of Technology and James goes to Fordham University. We never realized how big the Jersey scene was until we joined it.
WCBG: How did you guys become a group?
Ricky: Wyn and I met the first day of school. Wyn saw that I had a guitar and we found out that we listened to the same things. We went to a show together. We actually met again at a fraternity rush event, we are in that fraternity now, and after rush we started to jam together. We wrote a lot of chord progressions and melodies together. The band got together in February 2018, and we wrote some more stuff.
Wyn: I knew James from home and since he goes to Fordham I invited him to jam together and it worked immediately. I write a lot of the choruses, Ricky writes the verses, and James writes a killer bassline.
WCBG: What's your writing process like?
Phoneboy: One of us will come up with an idea. Like one night at 3am we met in a park and started working off a voice memo that was previously recorded and start to write the guitar riffs and work with lyrics we wrote previously.
WCBG: What is your favorite part of a song you've written?
Wyn: The bridge of "1987."
Oh, I just want your lips to taste
Ricky: It has to be off our latest single, "FOMO."
Everybody's winning super-bowls
WCBG: What is your favorite venue that you've played in?
Phoneboy: 4333 at Rowan University. A lot of people came out and we love doing house shows. This was the first mosh pit we saw to our music from people we didn't know.
WCBG: What are you currently listening to?
Ricky: A lot of pop-punk, like Free Throw, "Two Beers In" has been on repeat, it's so angsty.
Wyn: Wallows and Oliver Tree.
WCBG: What is your opinion of streaming services like Spotify?
Phoneboy: It is definitely a big debate. Yeah we are paid less but the algorithms are so good. It's great that independent bands can get exposure to thousands of people. Spotify is definitely positive for independent artists, it is great for growth through the Discover Weekly and the Release Radar.
WCBG: Describe your sound in three words.
Phoneboy: Can we each do three words?
WCBG: Of course!
Phoneboy: Energetic, Witty, and Catchy... Not that bad.
WCBG: What artists inspire you to be a better musician?
Wyn: Blink-182. Their hook writing is amazing.
Ricky: We are both big Remo Drive fans so the mid-west emo sound is catchy especially with tempo switches. Rex Orange County is huge for me for verse writing since they come from specific influences. Also, Frank Ocean since his words have a lot of double meanings.
Wyn: The District and Hippocampus as well.
WCBG: How did you pick your respective instruments?
Wyn: I was in elementary school and I wanted to figure out which instrument to pick. I picked out a Yamaha guitar and it's been mine ever since. In 6th grade I went through a metal phase, which is kinda random-- the best part about playing is playing with other musicians.
Ricky: When I was younger my mom taught be how to play the twelve string so I took lessons until middle school. Then I played the viola. Guitar seemed like a natural progression.
WCBG: How did you come up with the name Phoneboy?
Ricky: So I was staring at my phone like a zombie and Wyn was trying to engage us in conversation and he said get off your phone you phoneboy. It became a vocal term we used and we started using that to release our music.
WCBG: What are you plans for the new decade of 2020?
Phoneboy: To release our new EP, Handheld. We also dropped our single "FOMO," the music video was filmed in Ikea. We are going to start working on an album and record it at Lakehouse in Asbury Park. We also have some shows coming up.
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Check out their music here