The Heartbreaking Folk Rock Of Phosphorescent

17_PhosphorescentPhoto: Courtesy of Phosphorescent. Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Matthew Houck, the singer-songwriter behind whiskey-soaked indie project Phosphorescent, still doesn't get why Muchacho is more successful than his six previous records. "I think I just got better at the technical aspects of recording," he suggests. The songs are still sad, the melodies are still yearning, and the lyrics are still fraught with wry fatalism. If anything, Muchacho — which was inspired by a trip to Mexico — is among the artist's darkest works. Yet, within the lilting melodies and desperate lyrics, Houck has a sentimentality and joie de vivre that's impossibly infectious. We caught up with Phosphorescent to talk his latest record, the comfort of a sad song, and getting inspired to write again.
Selling Out
"It's been great! This is the first situation where the shows in the States and Europe have all been sold out before we get there. So, that's a new experience. It's been a really delightful surprise seeing people singing along and knowing the songs already."
Sad Songs
"It's a funny thing about subject matter versus sonic texture. 'Song for Zula' for me is a really, really dark song. It's really upsetting, I think, in its subject matter. But, something about the sonic package that it comes in is, maybe, uplifting. I think that happens all the time in music. For whatever reason, most of my songs are pretty devastating emotional things. It's strange that a sad song does somehow have the opposite effect — that it's somehow an uplifting thing."
17_Phosphorescent
Childhood Dreams
"I always responded really strongly to writing and playing music. It seemed clear early on that I was going to focus on it and make it work one way or another. The alchemy of what art and music does is still very mysterious to me. It's just one of those things that you intrinsically trust, but it's sort of self-evident. Before you even know what you're doing, you respond to music and beauty like that — it's like a baby. I think it's in the realm of mystical territory."
Getting Vulnerable
"I have always needed to be alone. [Writing] requires solitude and a certain kind of openness. Maybe 'vulnerability' is probably the word. My dream scenario would be a place with instruments that work and gear that works, so you're not faced with the task of fixing broken gear, which seems to be an eternal problem. I had stopped writing for the better part of a year before making this record, and I'm still not sure what the thing was that kicked in the writing again. It's generally just letting things pile up until the dam has to break, or something like that."

More from News

Update: The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office charged the two male protesters that stormed the stage during Ryan Lochte's performance during Dancing With ...
Chrissy Teigen confirms that her life is just too too cute
The actor will not be attending a screening of the film Voyage of Time this evening. Though he narrates the documentary film, Pitt says he will not be ...
You could spend all day critiquing the media for the lack of compelling content created by and starring women. But why not put the kind of female-centric...
Two weeks ago, Nick Gordon was found responsible for the 2015 death of one-time girlfriend Bobbi Kristina Brown in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by her ...
Just when we thought we couldn't handle any more Hollywood romances ending, Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber broke up. "Over the past few months we've ...
Viola Davis wants people to rethink what it means to be a survivor of sexual assault. In a speech benefitting the Rape Foundation, the How to Get Away ...
We've been waiting for this news ever since President Obama announced that the White House would host South by South Lawn. The official lineup is here, ...
Dusty Rose Levine 9/21/16 A photo posted by Adam Levine (@adamlevine) on Sep 23, 2016 at 9:40pm PDT Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo Levine have ...
Update: Marion Cotillard's longtime partner, Guillaume Canet, has also weighed in on the Pitt-Jolie divorce rumors. In a post on Instagram, he wrote a long...
Fact: When a woman turns 30, she can do whatever the fuck she wants. To be sure, a woman can do just about anything just about anytime she wants. The ...
Last month, Star Wars star Daisy Ridley abruptly quit Instagram. The internet assumed that online bullying spurred her departure, because, well, the ...
Kylie Jenner has been summoned for questioning in a lawsuit against Tyga, TMZ reports. Before October 6, Jenner will appear for examination in a case ...
Pharrell Williams, the man responsible for "Happy," the song that would not go away, is expecting another child with his wife, Helen Lasichanh, E! Online...