By fusing indie and folk rock with house music, Baltimore-based duo Life on Planets is bringing authentic songwriting back to dance music. But whatever you do—don't ask them to explain themselves. "Hell, we're still trying to figure it out," says multi-instrumentalist Phill. "We started in artist lofts on the east coast. At the time, I was a street performer and Patrick was a DJ and producer, living around the corner. A friend put us in touch and I found a love for the thumping beats and the call of the dancefloor."
While blurring the line between two genres is a bold move, the two are up for the challenge. "We've got a very gung-ho attitude in the studio. We make it work," says Phill. "We usually meet up, have some food and jump into something new. We work fast. I'm an Aries and Patrick is a Scorpio, so it's pretty easy for us to whittle something down into a sweet tune. I might bring a guitar, it might start with a beat or sample. It's always different and fresh."
Drawing influences from funk, jazz, and disco, their soulful sound quickly caught the attention of forward-thinking imprint Wolf + Lamb. Following in the footsteps of Soul Clap and Pillowtalk, Life on Planets were the first guests to be invited to perform at the label's legendary Marcy Hotel in over two years. The performance was also their first full-length live show. "A lot of hard work paid off," says Pat. "It was truly an honor and such an awesome party! We got to meet so many people. I've never had so much love," adds Phil.
Curious Palace, the pair's debut album, will be released on Wolf + Lamb on June 29. "The inspiration came from a sense of longing and mystery. We recorded it at two different art houses, which are now defunct. May it rest in peace. It's about love, luck, loyalty, and finding solace," says Phill. The offering's fifth track, "Angelwings" is a finely crafted deep house tune with funk elements, which you can listen to below. "My family is super Christian, whereas I'm more spiritual. My folks are always praying for me and I've been very lucky in life. I think I might have a few angels watching over me," explains Phill. "'Angelwings' is about a lovely lady that we both admire dearly. She was coming for a visit in the city, but it was raining. I wrote the song about sending one of my angels to watch over her."
One-half of Life on Planets is fuelled by pineapple juice and tonic (Pat) and the other whiskey and cola (Phill). The band's typical night out involves hopping from bar to club to underground art house, always searching for some new sound. Similarly, they hope to expand their horizons for the rest of 2015. "We hope to make some new music and make friends all over the world. Maybe join the circus to learn about trapeze and Wire fu," says Phill.
Pat and Phill are establishing themselves as a standout on the Crew Love lineup and if their recent success is any indication, the stars have indeed aligned for Life on Planets.
Curious Palace is out June 29 on Wolf + Lamb.