When a band splits, it often takes a while before its members can pick up and move on to other projects.
For James Phillips, it took a matter of weeks.
After The iONS decided to go in a different direction, the frontman quickly decided to take the music he wrote and continue on, forming The Atomiqs in Scranton with Adam Conklin (guitar) and Phil Gomez (drums) of the Filthy Gentlemen and Caitland Hawk (bass) of Keep Coming Back.
‚??(The iONS) built up a pretty decent following, so I changed the name, kept everything I had the rights for, and just kind of went with it. I‚??ve just kind of been doing everything on my own for a bit,‚?Ě Phillips explained.
‚??I‚??ve been playing with Adam in bands for probably seven or eight years now, and Phil, we‚??ve been playing together for probably four or five at this point. We all just kind of have that comfortable feeling working together. It was great. I sent over some MP3 files and was like, ‚??Hey guys, can you pick up these songs?‚??
‚??We had one rehearsal, and then we went and played a show in Philly. It was flawless, a great performance. I felt like we did awesome.‚?Ě
The Dec. 21 performance at The Fire in Philadelphia came after just weeks after forming, and Phillips is already tinkering with new material.
‚??I wanted to keep the same feel behind it because it is a lot of the same music‚?Ľ It‚??s very similar to what I was doing before. It‚??s still that dark poppy music. With some of the newer stuff, though, I‚??ve been doing a little more experimenting. A lot of it is a bit more aggressive. A lot of it is also a lot more laidback. I actually have a slow song now. It‚??s a weird feeling,‚?Ě he noted with a laugh.
‚??It‚??s was a song that I had had in my head back probably when I was like 18 or 19. I just put together some parts for it. I kept the same chord progression. Five notebooks of lyrics later, I was just like, ‚??Oh, hey, this might sound really cool.‚?? I actually started working on an upright bass part for it, which is what I‚??m going to be doing full-time for it when I get back into the studio next month.‚?Ě
One thing that hasn‚??t changed, however, is his love of odd-looking instruments, a compliment to the group‚??s science fiction-like moniker.
‚??The instruments in particular that we‚??re going to be using‚?Ľ (include) an RKS Wave guitar, which is a very unique-looking guitar. On top of the keytar, I have those, and I‚??m looking into this one German electric upright bass that I heard and I fell in love with it,‚?Ě he related with excitement.
‚??None of it is normal looking. It‚??s all stuff that you‚??d expect those guys from Devo to be playing. I was showing one of my buddies some pictures and he was just like, ‚??Wow, you really a boner for science fiction, don‚??t you?‚??
‚??‚??Dude, you look like you‚??re going to belong in ‚??Star Wars‚?? at some point.‚?? I‚??m like, ‚??Hey, if they‚??re paying me to do it, I will be more than happy to ‚?? some Jedi with an upright bass.‚?Ě
Perfectly comfortable calling himself ‚??that weird guy with the keytar,‚?Ě it not only appealed to him aesthetically, but it also lent a practical application as well.
‚??I‚??ve always been into very keyboard-driven music. Some of my favorite bands, right off the top of my head, are Placebo‚?Ľand The Killers. I‚??ve been playing piano on and off for a number of years. I‚??ve also been a lead singer for a numbers of years. I was just like, ‚??You know what? I‚??d love to put together that keyboard-driven hard rock sound, get some good noise out of it, but I have to be up front moving around,‚?Ě he insisted.
‚??I‚??ve seen more than enough bands that just kind of stand there for a while. I‚??m like, ‚??This band is great,‚?? but I‚??ll wander off because they‚??re not engaging to me. Having that mobility, I think, is really important.‚?Ě
After a friend at a music store showed him the Roland AX-Synth, Phillips was ‚??in love.‚?Ě His instrument of choice will be busy as he finishes some new tracks in February and enters the studio in March. His ambitious plan is to release a series of singles sporadically throughout the year with local artists designing the artwork for each one, culminating in a full album release in December.
For now, however, his enthusiasm is focused on his hometown debut show with Days In Transit, Trust Us We‚??re Doctors, and Atlas Arrows at New Visions Studio & Gallery (201 Vine St.,Scranton) on Saturday, Jan. 12.
‚??I‚??m incredibly excited for this show this weekend because we‚??re doing brand new music on top of some of the older stuff that I used to have with The iONS. I think it‚??s going to be a really good show,‚?Ě he said.
‚??We‚??re back. We‚??re putting out new music. We‚??ve got a lot of people coming out to it‚?Ľ It‚??s been garnering a lot of attention. Everybody seems really excited about it.‚?Ě
The Atomiqs hometown debut with Days In Transit, Trust Us We‚??re Doctors, and Atlas Arrows: Jan. 12, doors 7:30 p.m., show 8 p.m., New Visions Studio & Gallery (201 Vine St.,Scranton). $7.