By Reform Radio
on Thu Nov 09 2023
We had the pleasure of welcoming Manchester electronic artist PHIA SKY to join kaoti and sher on their recent HYPE THEM show. From chatting about her musical journey, to telling her story as a queer musician, and performing an exclusive live session on the airwaves, we were left loving PHIA and her excitingly unique tunes.
HYPE THEM, is a bi-monthly show on Reform Radio dedicated to platforming women and queer people in music, of both local and global scale. The duo also cover LGBT+ news with the help of a special local guest.
Get to know the emerging artist that we all want to be our new best friend in her quick fire Q&A with Reform below:
Please can you introduce your name, pronouns and star sign.
Hey I’m PHIA SKY, my pronouns are she/her, and I am a Gemini.
If you had to describe your music in three words to someone who had never heard it before, how would you describe it?
Fun, textural, comfy.
Where did your journey with music begin?
As a young child I’d hold my DS up to my ear on long car journeys, trying to pick apart the tunes note by note. I then got into making tunes in Audacity, layering DS sounds with kiddy keyboard presets, beatboxing and clarinet. It sounded horrendous but I’m sure if Björk put them out tomorrow Pitchfork would slurp it up.
Have there been any important figures/role models in your musical journey or any that have inspired your sound/aesthetic?
For sure – Yellow Magic Orchestra (and all associated projects), SOPHIE, Caroline Polachek, Pet Shop Boys, FKA Twigs, Sugababes, and Porter Robinson. A particular aesthetic I’m also enjoying at the moment is the whole jungle revival movement, through the likes of Nia Archives and Pete Cannon. I love repurposing those addictive 90s productions and visuals in a modern context.
Where do you find inspiration for your creativity?
Generally just from walking around, observing my environment and my place within it. I recently stopped bringing my headphones out and about with me every day, which made me more aware of how surrounded by sound we constantly are. This can get a bit lonely sometimes though, so also just anything that makes me want to dance around with my pals is a big inspiration too.
Who is your queer icon?
How does your music writing process look?
My process is all about limitations, whether self-imposed or dictated by the equipment I work on. It can be as simple as scribbling lyrics in my notebook on the tram, or as contrived as programming sequences step-by-step on the Commodore 64, a computer from 1982 which can only produce three notes maximum at a time. Once I hit the walls of these limitations, I can then bring it into the modern digital domain where I have all the tools at my disposal to polish it up. It’s the best of both worlds!
What does being queer mean to you?
A sense of inner peace and self-care.
If you had to recommend a queer-centred event, space or venue in Manchester to somebody, where would you point them to?
Tough Act at The White Hotel; an antidote to “traditionally queer” nights in terms of genre. Chipped Polish at YES; a punk night with camp bangers sprinkled in for good measure. FLUFF at Fuel; extremely wholesome and welcoming DIY electronica. And I’d be remiss not to plug Evil Things which I co-run with my other project, Flowers of Evil; curated on a genre-by-genre basis. There’s lots of wonderful stuff going on currently!
What do you see for the future of PHIA SKY? Do you have any particular goals you’d like to achieve with your creative journey?
A big overarching goal in what I do is to bridge the gap between the “DJ scene” and the “live scene”. The two worlds can sometimes feel a little fragmented, in Manchester at least. Particularly on a queer grassroots level, more unification in the creative community leads to more eclectic art and can only be a good thing.