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  • Behind the Song

Phillinois


Gerigscott lives in Portland, Oregon with his partner, beagle, and guinea pigs. Almost a decade ago, Gerigscott developed a chronic illness, which took away his ability to play guitar, leading to years of continued self-rediscovery as a musician and artist. The endless battle of chasing away chronic pain (or running from it, perhaps) has at times beckoned Gerigscott’s toe to the fragile line which separates liberation and cult-like disillusionment, a theme many are becoming all-too-familiar with these days. When not creating music, Gerigscott publishes a comic strip for alt-weekly newspapers, creates animations and other videos, works, and goes grocery shopping.


For fans who have never heard your music, can you pick three words to describe it?! If three words just aren't enough then tell us more!!


Explorative. Drifting. Authentic.


What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else?) Tell us why.


I love the songwriting process. I approach a new song with a very open mind. To me, if I already know what a song is going to sound like before writing it, there’s no point in writing it. In songwriting, I like to feel more like a facilitator than a composer. Throughout the process, there are so many little decisions to make, and each one wildly affects the outcome of the song. After a series of these “follow your gut” type decisions, I find it so satisfying to look back at a song after it’s taken a life of its own and think, “how on earth did I get here?”


Can you tell us what being in the recording studio is like for you?


This album was recorded at home over the course of six months. Since the album is highly experimental with electronic/sampled instrumentation, the writing and recording process was more or less one in the same. It was a lot of recording something in the moment and seeing if I liked it, then piecing together and rearranging segments.


I started each song with the same process, which was choosing a recorded song from my former band Moral Circus, and creating a drum pad by sampling various parts of the song. I would then play with tempo, pitch, and effects, and build a song from there. There’s that quote, “limitation breeds creativity,” or something like that. Life has given me a handful of limitations (such as a chronic illness which took away my ability to play guitar), so just to stick it to the man, I like to give myself even more limitations and confines and see what I’m able to do with it.


On average, each song took me about three weeks to write and record. Except for “Ss/Sh”—I made that one in a little over a day while quarantining sick with COVID. So if the song feels like a fever dream, that’s why.


Okay, this a fun question. When you are not doing music, what else do you enjoy doing?


I’m a cartoonist. I have a comic strip called Ope that runs in a few alt weekly papers. And I really love taking on any creative project. I’ve dabbled in animation, videography, collage, and painting. I’m also a beekeeper, and owe much of my health to the venom of bees (but that’s another story for another day).


Who do you admire most in the music scene today and why?


I’ve always been inspired by the way Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie, The Microphones) approaches songwriting. He has a really clear understanding of who he is and is able to maintain, and deepen, that identity while exploring new ground in a playful way.


Can you tell us what song you've written that is the most emotional and describe the meaning behind it?


I’d say that award goes to track three, “Ambiguous Cults.” As I mentioned earlier, I’ve lived with a chronic illness for nearly a decade now. For a while I was really, really sick, and typical “Western” medicine didn’t do much to help me. As a result, I’ve turned to some fairly experimental remedies (such as the aforementioned bee venom). At times, this has put a significant strain on my marriage. Thankfully, I feel so much better today than I did a few years ago. And though some of the experimental things I’ve done in the pursuit of health, I’ll admit were nothing but snake oil, there’s much that I credit for getting me where I am today.


There’s an anthemic line at the end of the song, “I need you to understand, I don’t need to be understood anymore.” The song, and that lyric in particular, is about the fine line between the liberation one feels when they no longer need approval or acceptance from the outside world, and the slippery slope on the other side which leads to cult-like delusion.



Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year?


The project I took on after finishing the album was to create music videos for each of the songs. I’ve completed six videos so far of the nine songs on the album. I’ll be releasing these music videos in the coming months, so stay tuned! I’m excited to begin a new music project, but I haven’t settled on the approach yet. You can stay up-to-date on all my endeavors though by following along on Instagram at @philgerigscott.


Check the videos out on Youtube


Tell us where fans can access your music.


Stream it on Spotify


Follow on Instagram


Visit my Website

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