Britta Phillips has been on the music scene over 30 years with great bands such as Luna and Dean & Britta with Dean Wareham (formerly of Galaxie 500) She has also been an actress and has some current projects being worked on. Let’s find out a little more about Britta!
Q1: When did you start writing/playing music and early influences?
Britta: I started singing first, when I was very little, with my mom and sister. My parents were both very musical. My dad was a professional pianist who played on Broadway and with Phillip Glass and Liza Minelli. One of my earliest memories is of lying beneath a grand piano while he played Chopin waltzes for ballet classes. When I was 8, I started playing clarinet in the school band and teaching myself piano at home. My mom showed me guitar chords when I was 11. I started writing (very badly!) at 18. My earliest musical influences were Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, then on to classic rock. I had a brief metal period believe it or not, and then in the early 80s mostly listened to pop: Madonna, Michael Jackson, The Police, Prince. Then I discovered Siouxsie Sioux and the Cure… R.E.M. I really discovered the alternative/indie world of music after moving to London in 1989, beginning with the Velvet Underground.
Q2: How has your influences expanded throughout the years?
Britta: My influences continue to expand and evolve, although I still count Lou Reed and the VU as pretty unbeatable. For instance, I loved disco as a teen in the 70s but my my friends hated it so I listened alone in my car. In the nineties I stopped listening to all dance music but then came back to loving it again in 2000. Good music and good music. I’m not attached to any particular genre. In the aughties, I also discovered oldies like Serge Gainsbourg, Lee Hazlewood, Nina Simone, Dusty Springfield and Scott Walker, thanks to my husband, Dean, who is always playing me exciting new (and old) music. These days I’m really into female artists (Cate Le Bon, Aldous Harding, Angel Olsen) but there are always great new bands, you just have to sift through a lot of mediocrity to find them.
Q3 Have travels and where you have grown up help influence your art?
Britta: There have been just a few people that have really exposed me to the music I love, starting with my mom and my dad, and then NYC itself. I used to travel to NYC to visit my father. He was musical director of Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway and seeing that show had a big affect on me. It made me want to get up on a stage and sing rock music. I moved to NYC in ’82 and that had an influence, of course. And then definitely living in London from 1989 to 1992 in the shoe gaze era had a huge influence. But since 2000, when I moved back to NYC, DJ Dean Wareham is my biggest influence/muse.
Q4: Any upcoming projects/links you’d like to share?
Britta: Dean & I wrote some music for a brand new HBO show, IRMA VEP!
oh by the way…did you know that Britta was a singing voice for Jem and the Holograms cartoon?????