Recently I had the pleasure of doing an interview with a friend and fellow musician, Phil Spiess. We met when Burd and I played a show back when lots of things were different. Empire was open and was not Empire but Jaxx, Two Canadians was not Two Canadians but Union Street, and A Note Two Self was not that but The Offset. We ended up playing music with them quite a bit through the years and formed a pretty solid friendship with all of the musicians. You can check out Phil’s recent works with another member of Union Street, Joe, up above.
Their music really reminds me of old school gritty but meaningful good old fashioned rock n’ roll. With hints of The Doors and Bob Dylan the Two Canadians have found an equation that mixes grungy sounding guitars with profound and beautiful lyrics.
To start, a bio….
Philip Spiess has worked as a live sound and recording engineer since 2005, beginning with the Marine Corps Band, Air Force Band, Navy Band, and as the head sound engineer for Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Philip has worked and understudied with Jim Bienemann and Mike Atherton at Common Ground on the Hill since his arrival in 2006, mixing sound on various festival stages since 2009. He has done sound mixing and engineering for Taylor Swift, Carbon Leaf, State Radio, Red Jump Suit Apparatus, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Sierra Hull, Tony Trischka, and Walt Michael and Company. Currently he is a fire fighter in Woodbridge, Virginia, and is recording his first solo album.
Phil opted for the written interview. I shot him a message on Facebook and the questions began!
An2S: So Phil, What got you guys started on this project?
Phil: I started writing and working in various bands and I wanted something that was my own. I felt acoustic left it the most raw and most open to personal interaction with the people I was playing for and found it more fun for everyone. Right now it’s just me playing as me so Joe isn’t with me anymore, he’s currently serving in the Marine Corp.
An2S: What influences… artists, life, anything… gives you the drive to continue making the music you do?
The biggest influences are actually my friends who are doing it professionally, Josh Hisle, Dan Collins, and poet Blaine Martin. I’ve worked a lot with them and toured with Dan and Josh. We met at Common Ground on the hill and they have taken me under their wings in the business.
An2S: What do you like more? Performing live for an audience, or working it behind the scenes?
Phil: Doing audio work vs performing… I love both. You can’t really compare them or put them up against each other. It’s two completely different disciplines and mind sets.
An2S: I really dig the song Boston Harbor. What is the premise and some of the meanings behind the words?
Phil: Boston harbor is an old song haha. I don’t really write happy music. It’s about being in love with someone but you never know if they love you or the idea of you until obviously it’s too late and your hearts broken. If you think it’s normally the way it really is.
An2S: How long have you an Joe been playing together and when can we expect more music from the two of you?
Phil: Me and Joe played together in high school and through part of college. We split up back in 2011 so until he gets out of the military probably no bass lines from Joe sadly.
It was great being able to interview Phil and revisit the music I first heard years ago with The Offset.To find more from Phil Spiess and Two Canadians check out their stuff on ReverbNation
Stay tuned for next weeks What’s on the L.O.W.?! When I interview Chris Carrigan of The Fem Doms
and showcase their album Thump.