Everyone has that friend of a friend that somehow became one of the most important people in their own lives. For a man named Phil, that friend is Ed. The two had a mutual friend who had a party they both attended some time ago. Phil remembers, “We hit it off pretty instantly. Shortly thereafter, we started working on tunes, and probably a month later, we made it official.” Official meaning that soon enough they were making music together as Komanda. Now the two remote buds are continuing their hard work and talking to us about their creative process this year, New York, and more in this back and forth.
Kendra: When it came to Komanda’s formation, were you two friends before the music, or was it a shared love of sound and creating that brought you together?
Ed: I’ve known of Phil from the MySpace days. He was the producer and I believe the drummer of a project called Hippopotamus Funk. I was envious of his production skills but also knew that I wanted to work with him eventually. I had a big ego. The law of attraction is real though.
Kendra: For many artists, including yourselves, creating has been the only form of sanity they can control this year. How do you feel the music you created this year will compare to future releases once the world opens back up?
Ed: Our creative process is amorphous, fluid. For the short time we’ve known each other, we’ve spent months apart due to individual lifestyle choices and travel priorities. We’ll never make music just to put filler out – that practice died with the CD. Each track we put out means something important to either one of us, but hopefully both. Our releases will simultaneously stack up to future us but also get trounced as we are always learning and evolving.
Phil: Due to the pandemic situation, we made a bunch of our music remotely. When quarantine started in NYC, we were sending each other tons of song ideas and thankfully, the internet and great tools have made it much easier to create art without having to be in the same physical space. I left New York to preserve my sanity after the initial 3 ½ months of quarantine, and while I was traveling around the US, we continued collaborating remotely, which is a weird process in itself but led to some great tunes which will be coming out over the next few months. I’m personally looking forward to being able to get back in the studio because some really beautiful magic happens when we’re both in the same room.
Kendra: You’ve been busy, and this year we got your single, “Begin Again.” Since it’s hard to know when we’ll exactly begin living “normal” again, how are you two managing in the now? Are you jumping on the live stream train or has Brooklyn found a way to have live music outdoors, safely?
Phil: We’ve been exclusively a studio project up until this point. To be honest, I think this whole period of time has been a blessing in disguise. It’s allowed for us to be able to pull back and hone our live set to create something special, rather than just plain live execution, which probably would’ve been the case if this pandemic hadn’t hit.
Ed: As novel as this whole experience has been, I’m looking forward to a resumption of normalcy pre-pandemic. Microchip me already, dark lord Gates666, just gimme that sweet, sweet vaccine. I can’t wait to melt a room full of people’s faces off with our live show. We will certainly live stream once we are happy with what we can do with these songs in a pseudo live situation.
Kendra: Speaking of Brooklyn, if you had to compare Komanda’s overall audible aesthetic to somewhere in your neighborhood, where would it be and why?
Ed: Damn, this is a tough one. New York City runs in both of our veins so the honest answer to that question would be like watching a seasoned chef toss together a meal. There’s the hopeful, decrepit yearning of Coney Island in the air, the clacking off-kilter swinging F train subway rhythm in the beats, the eruption of the vines through the concrete blocks as a reminder that nature reigns, even here. We’re both suckers for nature. I don’t think I answered this right, but it’s what I got right now!
Phil: Great question. For me, a lot of my earlier music is very hip hop influenced, which makes sense given that I grew up in Brooklyn, but in the last few years, I’ve been traveling extensively, and my hunch is that a lot of the recent influences that I’ve picked up have been from my time spent abroad. One of my favorite things to do is to find new music wherever I am. Whether in a cab in Paris or on a boat in Puerto Rico, I’m always looking for that local sonic flavor. One thing I LOVE about this project is that all of our songs are so different and our various inspirations that we bring to the project shine through on each track.
Ed: Nice, Phil, neither of us answered this one right. Our music is your local hot trash dumpster fire that keeps the souls that need it warm in winter. It’s also the open fire hydrant that’s keeping your block cool in summer.
Kendra: You have a handful of singles out now. Has there been talk of putting them on an EP, or do you like the single-release format?
Ed: We’re gonna make concept albums at some point, but we’ll thoughtfully arrange a grouping of songs sometime in 2021. Hell, we may even re-release and re-mix with our main man Dave Fridman. **BRB manifesting**
Phil: Right now, I think we’re still evolving as a project and still trying to hone in on our “vibe”. It’s nice to have the flexibility to test different things by releasing singles, but I think we’re both excited to work on a more “formal” EP in the coming year.
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
Phil: We’re still actively working on new tunes, we’ve been working hard on putting together a great live set for when opportunities start appearing again, and we’re constantly working on ways to create great content and connect with our audience, especially when we can’t physically be with them.
One of the tracks that has given me comfort throughout my entire life (it used to be the only thing that could wake me when I was younger) is “Un-Break My Heart” by Toni Braxton. To this day, you could occasionally catch me bumping this ABSOLUTE BANGER of a track and singing along like nobody’s watching.
Ed: We’re chiseling our set and hope to figure out a portable rooftop/park show come the good weather of 2021. Expect at least 12 new bangers in 2021. Keep your ears perked for Komanda comin’ outchyo TV speakers. If the world’s ever got me confused, I’ll throw on our future collaborator Tame Impala’s aka based g0d aka Kevin Parker’s track “Let It Happen.” That album Currents kept me alive. I took my mom to see that man perform it at the Prospect Park bandshell. We both danced. She loved it. Kids are gonna be able to take their moms to our shows and groove together. It’s our destiny.