The musician, who performs as STRICKLAND, hopes his tracks’ memorable choruses will resonate with listeners and help him to make his mark in the industry.
“It’s got that classic indie rock/pop guitar sound. I mean I’m not reinventing the wheel but there are plenty of choruses to sing along to.
“I think a lot of bands these days seem to shy away from writing a chorus.
“Music is as complicated as you choose to make it but if there’s a hook and a chorus people will get onboard with it,” he tells Weekend.
He grew up listening to a variety of music on cassettes on his Walkman and taping the Top 40 off the radio. But it was the emergence of Manchester band Oasis led by brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher that really piqued his interest.
“I wouldn’t be playing a guitar if it wasn’t for Oasis. They split opinion musically but in terms of being relatable to working class people, they tick the boxes.”
Other musical heroes include Paul Weller, Kasabian, The Stone Roses, Smiths and the Beatles.
“More recently I’ve enjoyed Sam Fender and Blossoms. But where are the new Oasis, or Smiths? It doesn’t seem to happen anymore,” says Phil, who lives in Telford.
The 39-year-old got his start as a guitarist in a couple of cover bands, playing rock and pop classics to audiences around the country.
During those years, Philip began noticing a decline in the charm of pop music.
“I became a little bored of what was coming out of the speakers. Overproduced pop just all sounded the same to me”.
Despite working full-time and having two children, this musician decided to take matters into his own hands and make music that meant something to him.
He lives by the Noel Gallagher quote: “great music is in the ear of the beholder”, which he applies to his blend of rock, indie and pop sounds.
“I just want the music to do the talking,” says Phil.
He says it was a natural step to start writing his own material and has spent the past few years honing his skills for his debut album.
“In terms of inspiration, anything I write is a reflection of the music I’ve grown up with really.
“But in terms of how it comes together everything is dictated by the melody.
“The melody may lead you to a certain word or phrase which in turn may spark something else off that’s closer to home.
“Some tunes are done in half an hour, others can take months or even longer. The good tunes tend to just fall in your path and are done pretty quickly,” explains Phil.
“I’m reading a book at the moment called the ‘Isle of Noises’ by Daniel Rachel. It’s a compilation of conversations with the great British songwriters like Noel Gallagher, Barry Gibb, Ray Davies, Paul Weller etc.
“It’s a fascinating read but it’s made me realise that the way I do things is in keeping with all the greats.”
Featuring 11 tracks, Superficial Chaos is filled with easy-on-the-ears melodies.
Bleed with Us contains soulful harmonies and entrancing drum patterns and tracks like Mademoiselle and Tonight feature memorable choruses and fun lyricism that juxtapose classic rock sounds with modern titbits like camera filters and Twitter.
Since its independent release through Ditto records, the album has been streamed more than 25,000 times.
“It’s been a work in progress for about three or four years,” says Phil.
“Covid meant I could dedicate a lot more time on it really. It takes the listener on a musical journey from start to finish. Highlights are definitely Bleed With Us, Tonight and Time of you Life.
“If you like indie, rock pop melodies, and a good sing-along then ‘Superficial Chaos’ is for you. Think of a modern Oasis, Rolling Stones, Kasabian etc. If Beethoven is your thing, then maybe give it a miss. You won’t hear much about ‘me’ or ‘I’. It’s all about ‘Us’ it’s got a feeling of togetherness about it,” he tells Weekend.
He is now on a mission to ensure his music reaches as many listeners and audiences as possible.
“I have some warm-up support slots arranged with a few bands in Rugby and Coventry in the next few months. I’m just working out the live sound at present. And then I will be going out and about around Shropshire and the West Midlands later this year.
“The streaming figures have been brilliant. There is another album already written and ready to go at some point in the future, which it would be great to get recorded through a proper label.”
When asked what he enjoys most about making music, Phil says: “The finished product and playing them live. Also the reaction to the songs. Songs fascinate me.
“They can mean different things to different people and I like that.”
Superficial Chaos is available now from ditto.fm/superficial-chaos and further details can be found at stricklandmusic83.wordpress.com
Updates on STRICKLAND’s music can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @_strickland83