Phia in interview – catch her live Friday 13th with Mez Medallion

-How would you explain your music to a deaf person?

Well if someone who couldn’t hear saw my show, they’d probably wonder why I was dancing around on the stage all by myself. I’d tell them that I sing songs about life and living, and create kaleidoscopic soundscapes by layering my african kalimba, voice, finger clicks, hand claps and beat boxing with my loop pedal that’s on the ground in front of me. Hence my foot stamping!

– What questions are you most often asked in interviews?

Well I’ve never been asked that previous question before! Probably “where are you playing next” which is always a good one, good to plug upcoming shows!

– What is your vision for the band, if you have one?


Being able to travel and play my music is such an amazing thing to do. I’d love for that to continue on a larger and larger scale. Connecting with people via the songs I write is a wonderful thing in my life. On a more concrete level, I’ve just started collaboration with contemporary artist Ooi. We did a show together recently where she created projections for each of my songs live while I performed. It was really incredible, and felt wonderful to be creating an experience that was telling stories you could watch as well as hear. We talked a lot about trying to create an visual and aural performance that you could be totally immersed in. Lots of fun! She’ll be joining me at my gig at St. Gaudy Cafe (see below). I’d really like more of this type of collaboration to be a part of what I do in the future.

– With which other bands would you like to go on tour or to play
together with?

Well on an “I wish” list would definitely be tune-yards or Feist. I’d love the opportunity to watch their music from side of stage every night and be able to learn from the way those two creative women navigate their music and the world!

– How do you write your songs?

My songs are very lyric-based. I generally get the basic idea for a song really randomly, when I’m engaging in some activity that doesn’t require too much thinking, like riding my bike, or washing the dishes, or just walking down the street. I write some ideas down in a notebook, without putting too much constraint on whether it’s a ‘chorus’ or a ‘verse’ or whatever. Then as it begins to take shape I move onto the kalimba and loop pedal and start experimenting. There’s a lot of playing around! It’s fun.

– Are there differences between audiences in Germany and those in Australia?

Coming from Australia, I’ve found audiences in Germany to be so welcoming and encouraging. They want you to succeed! They’re open to so many things, it’s such an inviting atmosphere to experiment and try things out. I love it. It’s a wonderful place to develop as an artist.

– Which band would you like to interview if you could?

I’d love to interview Paul McCartney. Being able to ask him questions about his songwriting and creative process, how it has changed over the years and what he has learnt. And about the people he’s met and worked with. I’d better get famous quick so I can make this happen!

– What is music to you?

Music is a tool that allows me to do so many things I’d only dreamt of when I was young. Music allows me to travel, meet heaps of interesting people. It allows me to process the way I feel and turn it into something creative, a song, a performance. It allows me to connect with people and express myself. I feel very lucky music is such a big part of my life.

– Tell us something about your new release and when we can see you play live?

I’ve just released a live EP “Live in Berlin”. You can stream it on my SoundCloud. I am currently in the middle of a tour around the beautiful city of Berlin (full dates below). My next two shows are with two other Aussie artists, on Friday 13 I play at Intersoup in Prenzlauerberg with Mez Medallion, and on Thursday 19 I’m at St Gaudy Cafe with Aluka. At the beginning of August I head into the studio to start recording an album.

Upcoming dates…

Friday 13 July – PRENZLAUERBERG with Mez Medallion
D.I.Y Melbourne exports Phia and Mez Medallion are bringing their individual blends of pop music to the cosy stage of Prenzlauerberg’s Intersoup on Friday 13th.

Thursday 19 July – PRENZLAUERBERG with ALUKA

Thursday July 19 sees Aluka and Phia – two of Australia’s most exciting upcoming acts – on stage together for a night of vocal looping, layering and harmonising.
St Gaudys Cafe

Saturday 21 July – KREUZBERG

Madame Claude
with Helmut

July 27-29 – Am Ende Der Wald Festival

This is what some other people have had to say about Phia’s music:

“…it is her quirky, story-like lyrics that really sets [Phia] apart from the pack.” FASTERLOUDER

Phia is the entrancing DIY-art-pop music project of multi-instrumentalist songwriter and composer Sophia Exiner.


interview by Noel Maurice

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