Best known for writing ‘I’ll Be There For You’, which became the theme song for the long running series, ‘Friends’, Phil Solem, one half of pop-rock duo The Rembrandts spoke to Malvika Padin and recalled career highlights, while revealing more about the band’s upcoming album ‘Via Satellite’, set for release this August.
What is the message behind your upcoming album ‘Via Satellite’?
We are trying to make melodies more popular in the world. If there’s one message as an album that would be it. There isn’t a specific theme or convincing we are trying to do, ultimately it’s about reintroducing melodic music back into the mainstream.
How has your sound evolved over time?
I don’t know that it has evolved actually. We build a fence around what our sound is, and we rarely go outside that. We have material that steps outside the boundaries of what we consider the Rembrandts sound so at some point in the future we’d like to move outside our sound.
Who inspires your music?
That answer is across the board. We are big Beatles fans, David Bowie fans. We listen to classic and country music. We have no boundary when it comes to inspirations, we enjoy anything that moves us musically. It’s hard to nail down one or two inspirations. It depends on the era of music as well.
So if we’re talking about this current era of music, who influences you?
I don’t pay much attention to what’s going on in music in this era. We are so exposed to so many different things and we have a hard time narrowing it down. I am a by-product of everything I hear when I go out or watch television. I tend to be influences by things without realising it – it comes from everywhere.
Does your music tend to be based on personal experiences, or do you bounce off each other using more liberties?
It differs on a song-to-song basis. We each sometimes take each other’s nearly finished songs and add a twist to the lyrics, or we make suggestions changes to the completed lyrics. The music writes itself, I’m just a means to the end.
If listeners could take away one message from your music, what would you want that to be?
We represent world peace! Let’s just be cool with everybody. We put in secret messaging that says, “hey everyone, chill out!”
What’s the most exciting part of making new music? And is there any part of it that is frustrating?
The frustrating part is when the record is finished and you have another idea that you want to add to it but it’s too late, but I must say for the most part when you write a song you get this enormously satisfying feeling where you feel you’re really on to something and that’s the exciting part.
What’s your personal favourite track from the album?
At the moment it’s the single ‘Broken Toy’. It’s a song that is very close to my heart that’s just a cathartic train of thoughts. But it’s like a tongue twister because I went berserk on the rhyme scheme which I don’t tend to do- so the track is very difficult to perform live.
What’s the most memorable moment in your career so far? What’s next for you?
Well it would have been when we won our first Grammy, but that didn’t happen. But really just waking up and realising we are still doing this is a highlight in itself. As for what’s next, I never plan for the future, so let’s see!
What’s one question you wish you were asked in an interview that you’ve never been asked?
The ultimate question is “how many?” and the answer is always four. I’ll let you ponder on that for a while.
Watch the video for ‘Broken Toy’: