Interview: Glen Phillips

“It’s hard to lose your home, it’s hard to lose your identity as a provider or as a husband—there were all these things I equated with myself,” says industry veteran Glen Phillips of the inspiration behind his long-awaited solo album, Swallowed By The New, due for release on October 7th. “I stayed away from other recently-divorced men to avoid the bad influences—there is a lot of bitterness and blame and small behavior in that world. I took a new-agey approach, and found others who weren’t afraid to say that they loved their ex-partners and who weren’t afraid to honor their marriages rather than defining them as failure.”

“I had 25 years with an amazing person,” he continues. “We were able to raise three kids who are strong and brilliant and passionate and capable people we adore and who adore us, and we were able to set each other free with a minimum of animosity and with each other’s blessing. I consider that a successful relationship.”

The aptly-named album finds Phillips in a time of exploration of the newness of this season of life, and the hopeful optimism towards the newness of what the future has to offer. “The first songs are more breakup-oriented where I’m feeling sorry for myself and lamenting the loss of ‘home’,” he explains. “The rest of the songs are about transition and acceptance, about looking viewing change as an opportunity to grow rather than just an opportunity to feel injured.”

The album’s sound is simple—some feature stringed arrangements, but the majority of the tunes are skeletal and beautifully acoustic.  “I wanted to make a record that was about the songs, where the vocals, the lyrics and the melody are the most important parts, and where the production didn’t overwhelm the songs,” adds Phillips. “It’s a sparse record; there’s a minimum of artifice. Americana is broad, but it’s its own thing. I’m happy to fit there. It’s a good place to be.”

The California native, who also fronts iconic alt-rock band Toad The Wet Sprocket, will be spending the majority of next year in Nashville. “I’m doing my best to love this new life; I’m looking forward to having my ass kicked creatively and being inspired,” he laughs.  “There are so many collaborations I want to do. I can just walk down the street and write a song with some friends. I can’t wait.”

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Susan Hubbard

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