BLACK ROCKERS UNITED MEDIA

#BRUTALK: THE PHOEBES

Nicole Kali and #BRU crew are overjoyed for our 1st 2022 interview: North Carolina's (The) Phoebes (Acisse Jay, April Renee, Edwin Peters II, Megan Maloney and Nikki Benton)!

The band shared some exclusive Black history insight, tips on music ownership and especially their cool origin story. This is a 10-minute excerpt.

INTRO | KEEP YOUR HEAD UP | ORIGIN STORY

INTRODUCTION

Nicole Kali: Black Rockers United (founded by Nate Oakley) thanks you out there for tuning in and our esteemed guests, North Carolina band The Phoebes!

Welcome! Happy New Year. It's good to talk on #BRUTV and share your story. How's everybody been this winter?

Acisse Jay: Good, good. How about yourself?

NK: Doin' awesome, even better now that you're here! Thanks for coming! [Laughs]

Megan Maloney: [Laughs too] Thank you so much for having us! We're so excited!

NK: Absolutely, the pleasure is mine, fam. For real. What have the last two years been like in the pandemic, the panini?

What has quarantine been like and how have you been taking care of yourself—The Phoebes—as a whole, you know? I think about y'all, I worry about y'all out there.

Megan: Well, thank you so much for worrying about us! We started out playing during the pandemic so it wasn't that bad for us...but we took this last year to start writing as a group and kind of find our sound. Umm, we're fine-tuning it right now!

We're working on it to see, you know, where it's gonna take us and what we're going to be in the future. But so far, so good, we're doing well. We're getting ready to play out again. And we are really excited!

NK: Exciting, that's good news, Megan! Right on. Okay, so the pandemic has had some upsides. You know, you started like, basically the band during the pandemic at a time that it was kind of uncertain: a rollercoaster of creativity, and setbacks and shows.

Shows like The Cave, yes, I follow y'all, in the Zebulon and Arcana (Durham), too, right? How was that by the way?

Acisse: It's been like everything else, you know? Even in regular times and a pandemic is not going on, you have missed shows...you have cancellations, weathers not agreeing. So you know, it's not—it's uh, other than the pandemic, it's not like any—you know, it's not different than any other time.

It's like 'Oh, okay, this particular gig fell through. Next gig!' You're never in there like 'Oh, my goodness, no gig?' You're like 'This gig fell through, next gig'. What do you think, April?

April: Performing during the pandemic? Gosh, yeah! We've, we've been doin' it umm, safely. It is a little awkward wearing the masks everywhere but ummm, fortunately we're vaccinated. We're all vaccinated, we stay safe. But it's fun! It's been fun.

NK: That's proof, y'all: we can do this thang safely. We can rock out together. Pandemic's not gonna stop The Phoebes, tell ya that! [rock horns] Aye. That's awesome.

KEEP YOUR HEAD UP

NK: All right, so like, before we get into who y'all are as a band, what's one way to keep your head up as like, a Black creative, as a Black person right now? That is one question that I had for y'all.

Megan: For me, personally, if you guys don't mind, I'm just gonna say just being together as a group. I feel like we not only represent something: being not only Black, but most of us female. Hopefully [we] are kind of something for somebody to look up to, you know, other kids who are like us...

Hopefully they're looking up to us and saying, you know, "It's okay to be a rocker. It's okay to like The Ramones" or you know, any sort of metal band and be Black, or to be female and play guitar...be female and sing like you know, a rock-her.

Hopefully we are inspiring people to be themselves and realize that it's okay to be a cool and to be a rocker, and Black (and female). It's okay!

Acisse: I agree! And hopefully that's, you know, that's what we're doin' because you know, like many before us, we're just here continuing on the same path. And you know, maybe people will see us and want to continue. I agree.

NK: Yeah, sound is a legacy and it's something my family talks about. It is something that I think artists in general talk about the time. It's an ongoing thing, you know?

And we are inspired by each other. Absolutely yeah, generations see you and then they will continue the trend. Absolutely. What do you think, April? What's keepin' your head up as a Black creative, as a Black person?

April: I mean, I just like to do it! I like to make music. I like to sing, I like to write! It's just...I mean, it's hard to get my head down when I know I could always create some music.

NK: [Laughs] Well, that's real and I felt that in the heart. Thanks, April. Yes indeed, music is the healer. It's gonna get us all through.

Acisse: I didn't ask you before but what's your instrument?

NK: I'm a percussionist, yeah, and I sing as well. Singin' and things [laughs].

Acisse: Niiice, oh gosh, stop! You—Megan, go ahead.

Megan: WHAT? Okay, I just wanted to say ah, that's awesome! Female drummers are just ugh, y'all are just sick so I'm just like [bow down]. That's amazing. That is so—go ahead. Continue! [Laughs]

Acisse: Yes!

NK: [Laughs] No, that was it! That was it.

Acisse: That's crazy. Are you, are you in a band?

NK: I am not, I'm just kind of doin' my solo darkwave thing for now but I'm trying to get some stuff together. You know.

Acisse: Okay!

NK: I'm tryna make a whole group out of it 'cause I'm, I'm so inspired by the whole ensemble thing. There is only so much that you can do as a solo musician (I personally feel).

Acisse: Look, I agree! I 100% agree. It's like, you know, you can do a little stuff—somethin' but you know. You gotta get people, you get that bigger, fuller energy when it's more.

And then especially if you're your group and you can settle into the whole groove thing and get it worked out, and y'all know each other in and out? Ooh!

Megan: Mm-hmm!

NK: Yeah. The true synergy of being in a band, you know, it's magic. It's magic, I'm telling you.

Acisse: Yeah! Yeah.

Megan: I'm excited to hear your new band and your new album coming out. I'm ready, let's go! Ready for it.

Acisse: Make sure you drop us the links, make sure you drop us the links!

Megan: Absolutely.

NK: Yes! All right, now I'm like...I'm challenged. I have to do it now because The Phoebes put me up to it.

Megan: Yuuup!

Acisse: You have to do it now because we're waiting. We're waiting...we're gonna put that pressure on you. We're gonna sit here waiting.

Megan: We're gonna hype it up too. We're gonna be like 'Check out this new band', y'know...we're gonna go on tour together! Let's go! Let's go.

Acisse: Yes, yes.

NK: Aww, right on. And likewise for y'all debut album which we're gonna talk about a little bit later 'cause uh, things are in the works for Phoebes, yo: 2022.

Acisse: Gotta get into it. Edwin, did you want to add too?

Edwin Peters II: Keeping your head up as a Black creator, it's been interesting. Ummm...I just think you just have to have faith in what you choose to do for music: the style you choose, believe in yourself, keep pushing forward.

And umm, you know you're gonna get slapped down. You know you're going to get knocked down. Umm, people are gonna compare you to other people. They're gonna compare your styles before you even start playing and they're gonna think that you do somethin' else.

And you just gotta believe in yourself and the folks that you choose to work with. Just keep movin' forward and movin' forward and know that you are doing the right thing—and let it hit when it hits!

NK: That's a whole word, Edwin. Thank you [laughs]. Yes, roll with it. Progress is like a wave. You have to keep it moving, you know, regardless of the feedback you get.

...Because you know: people will compare you and you might not feel comfortable with it but you gotta know that it's your own vibe. Doin' your own thing.

Edwin: Correct.

NK: Respeeect.

Edwin: Well, I mean it's tough as a Black artist because you know. You show up and they think you're gonna start playing R&B or rap, or hip-hop or soul. And you know, what if you like to play rock? It was our music to begin with. Why can't we own it again?

And so that's what I love about working with these ladies. The range is just, so much we can do and there is influences from all over. And we are trying to bring it back to where it used to be!

And it's just a lot of fun.

NK: Yes! The Phoebes are bringin' it back to where it used to be: blues and rock, right? Like that kind of, that fusion together. It's a very hard-hitting style...which you gotta love.

Acisse: I would like to say Edwin was rockin' out before we THOUGHT about rockin' out. So Edwin has been doing this for a minute! So let's start there, okay?

I don't know if you wanna graze over his resume but he was out here rockin' BEFORE we were like 'Ah, we should probably start rockin'.

ORIGINS

Edwin: Umm, I've been doing this for about 35 years professionally way back in the day. I started a rock and rap band before anybody else was doing that, back in the early '80's. The producer from Aerosmith—he ended up hooking up with us.

And we got to all the major labels, they loved it but there was no way to sell it at that point in time 'cause nobody was doin' it! So again you have a Black bass player showing up and what do I get? Compared to Hendrix and I'm like, not even the same instrument. But I appreciate it.

Umm, and then I have always, this has been my life story. Like I said, I've been doing this for about 30 years, worked with a bunch of great bands. Umm, signed a few times, got to tour the country and make music.

And then I remember one day my niece was just starting to play music and realizing she had a talent that's just natural. And I just got to watch Megan grow, always wanted to play in a band with her.

But I was always doing my stuff or across the country on tour, and she was always working in her bands. So when she gave me the call and said she had an idea for this band, there was no way I wasn't going to do it!

Watch their #BRUTalk from here! Thank you for supporting us.

The Phoebes are on  , , and their merch is here!

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