The Story Behind: Life On Planets tracks | Features | MN2S

Baltimore duo Life On Planets are a recent addition to the MN2S booking agency live roster. They tell us The Story Behind ‘Curious Palace’ and ‘Denali.’

Life On Planets play an innovative hybrid of electronic, art rock and indie, so peeking behind the curtain at their creative process is exciting to say the least. Last month we asked Life On Planets about their favourite music duos. This time we ask them about their own music.

As a duo, it just seemed right for Patrick and Phill to clue us in on the making of two songs instead of one. So for this installment of The Story Behind, we asked Life On Planets to tell us all about two of their best tracks to date: ‘Curious Palace’ and ‘Denali.’

Curious Palace

Patrick: ‘Curious Palace’ was the title track off of our first album. In Baltimore, many houses and lofts where people do shows are just known by one name – fliers don’t usually have an address. For example when I met Phill I was living in Pearl Harbor and he was over at The Annex. Most times the names of the art spaces were given by previous tenants who no longer live there, so it’s a bit hard to pin down the real roots of the name. We were introduced to each other by a mutual friend and started collaborating here and there.

But ‘Curious Palace’, that was written a couple years after Phil and I met. At that time he was living at a space called Curious Palace – which was basically a townhouse in south west Baltimore that had shows from time to time. During the same period I was then living in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington DC. I had the studio setup at my apartment down there, so most of the time Phill would travel down to DC and we would collaborate there for a couple days. The thing was the studio was in my bedroom, and my girlfriend at the time was always around – the studio should never be in the bedroom, at least when you’re living with a woman.

So things were getting a bit hectic down in DC, and one day I decided to pack up some gear and head back home to Baltimore – I sort of brought the studio over to Phill’s spot. I put my MOTU soundcard, my MacBook Pro 13″, two pairs of headphones (Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic), couple microphones in my suitcase and headed up.

When I got to the Curious Palace, Phill started playing me a chord progression on his guitar – right away I knew it was pretty special, so I put some of the other tracks we were working on aside and started a new arrangement. Phill was playing guitar out of one of his amps and we mic’ed that up and the guitars had a distorted vintage feel. Our buddy Damian was at the house too, who is a drummer and a songwriter himself – we got him to do some Bee Gees style high hats, a couple tom fills and we wrote the track with his organic kick drum rather than an 808 kick or whatever. Holding out for the right bassline was pretty key, and eventually Phill found the melody and we knew it was in motion by then. Phill had written the lyrics about bringing back peace, a concept that everybody with a little bit of empathy can get behind.

Watch Life On Planets perform Curious Palace live at Boston’s Together Festival:


Phill: Before Life On Planets, I quit my job and started busking on the streets of Baltimore. I moved into an even cheaper artist house on the fringes of the city – a no man’s land. Every day during the hot summer I sweated and sang my heart out, covering The Beatles and Hendrix, giving my nods to Django Reinhardt and Al Green. I started a new band with people I met at the cafe where I played every night. At our regular train station gigs everyone started singing along, they knew the words to our original stuff.

I decided to write a song about this time, to reflect on when I made so many friends playing on the streets, and how being on the road and dealing with the business end of things after wanting that dream so badly, it can seem lonelier than ever before. Working with Patrick in Life On Planets meant leaving a few things behind to travel the world and spread our message of peace and love.

Flash forward to two years later, we’re playing in front of thousands of people in barcelona for Sonar and I’m telling them my story. After, we party at the hotel with the other acts. We’re passing a few things around and one of the guys sings the hook, “Cold up here at the top!” He just starts yelling it over and over. The others love the song so much and want to know what it’s about. I tell them and we sing the song off the rooftop, howling like wolves. ‘Denali’ is about chasing that dream, and it seems to resonate with everyone who hears it, with people doing the same.

Hear ‘Denali’ on Life On Planets’ new album, Assemblage Points.

Read about Life On Planets’ Favourite Music Duos here.

Read The Story Behind: Kill Frenzy ‘Make That Booty Clap’ here.

Read The Story Behind: Harry Judda ‘Skull It’ here.

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