Phia's music is abundant with luscious layers of harmonies, rambunctious vocal percussion and vivid pop sensibilities. Raw and affecting lyricism is powerfully woven into the hypnotic sound of an instrument made of wood and metal and not much bigger than a postcard - the African kalimba, Phia’s instrument of choice and self-expression.
Phia, aka Sophia Exiner, grew up in Melbourne, Australia and graduated from the esteemed Victorian College of the Arts with an honours degree in improvisation, and in 2011 she bought a one-way ticket to Berlin.
The kalimba and a loop-pedal in her suitcase, she dared a leap into the unknown that marked the starting point of a musical journey across the world. She played 100s of shows, from bars in Southern Italy or fisherman’s villages in Iceland as well as international festivals in Germany, and Poland.
Word started to spread. Rolling Stone Germany stated they have “...great expectations for Phia’s debut album”, and Artrocker Magazine UK sang her praises, declaring, “From ‘Later with Jools [Holland]’ to Festival Hall, it is not difficult to imagine Phia playing them all.” Phia found time to appear on Germany’s TV Noir and Australia’s Spicks & Specks, amid near-constant touring.
Now having moved back home to Melbourne, she has been laying the groundwork back in Australia for the release of her album later in the year - she was named a highlight of the 2016 Sydney Road Street Party by The Age, performed at NYE on The Hill Festival, released her long awaited official music video for Do You Ever with a highly successful residency and played at Adelaide Fringe Festival 2016.
‘The Ocean of Everything’ is an album of breathtaking beauty and joy, capturing Phia’s fascination and curiousity in the world around her and inside of her, with the pure sound of her kalimba enhanced by electric guitar lines, deep synth bass and beats. Don’t miss an incomparable and exciting new talent on the rise.
released August 26, 2016
All songs written by Sophia Exiner.
Except Heartstrings with Joshua Teicher.
Producer: Joshua Teicher.
Co-producer: Sophia Exiner.
Assistant producer: Jonny Zoum.
Recorded in Berlin at Tricone Studios by Jonny Zoum.
Mixed by Eli Crews at Ham Radio Hobby Room, Brooklyn NY.
Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering, Boston MA.
Assistant Mastering Engineer: Maria Rice.
Photo by Christoph Abatzis.
Concept and styling by Bianca Shu.
Artwork by Luci Everett.
My heart has strings like a guitar and you strum them/Will you play me a major chord?/My heart has strings like a violin and they sing/Won’t you hear our song/In the silence I hear you strong/Come on over I’ll sing along/La la la la la la/My lips are sealed but if you touch me the spell is broken/Humming like an open string/ My hands are tied but for you I’d dance and I’d sing/ If you tell me a tune I’d play can we just stay in bed all day/If you want to just say OK/La la la la la la/My heart has strings like a guitar and you strum them/Oh won’t you play me a major chord/I want to play my guitar/La la la la la la la la.
Track Name: So Far, So Close
I’m living in the city where my grandfather was born/Where he walked, the first years of his life/I wander and I hear the language that he spoke/And it takes me back to when I was a child/I had to come so far, to feel so close/How far do you have to go before you find your way back home?/ I’ve visited the house where my grandmother grew up/From photographs I recognise a chair, a chest of drawers/I look out the window and I see the view she saw/And it takes me back to when I was a child/I had to come so far, to feel so close/How far do you have to go before you find your way back home?/I know I’ll never see them again/I’ll never be a child again, go back to that time again/I’ll never set foot in their amazing cities/Their terrible cities, industrial cities/I had to come so far, to feel so close (I’m living in the city where my grandfather was born)/How far do you have to go before you find your way back home?
Track Name: Begin Again
Begin again/Wouldn’t you like to begin again?/It would be nice to begin again/What would you say if you could start all over again?/Remember when/ When a brother was just a friend/Or a sister was your best friend/Before we grew up and complicated things?/And would you rewind to when you met?/Or when you first got your fingers wet?/ And how would you know when to forget?/It’s hard/Like
a mess of tangled strings/Who knows where it ends or begins/And in the ocean of everything/Who knows where it ends or begins/And she makes you feel bad but you know that/He made her feel bad long before/And who made him feel bad, you don’t know/It’s hard/Like a mess of tangled strings/Who knows where it ends or begins/And in the ocean of everything/Who knows where it ends or begins.
Track Name: Do You Ever?
Do you ever think about me? I think about you/I remember that time in my life, and I wonder, do you?/Meeting in between class, thinking all about us/Kissing in between class, thinking all about us/I’m drowning in, I cannot swim in memories/Do you ever think about me? I think about you/ I remember that time in my life, and I wonder, do you?/Meeting at the back way, kissing at the end of the day/Sneaking out the back way, kissing at the end of the day./ I’m drowning in, I cannot swim in memories/If you count the seconds between lightning and thunder, you’ll know how often is it I wonder/Can you hear it’s getting closer?/Oh why can’t I take cover?/ I said, rain, rain, go away, come again another day/And I just want to know, how can I let go?/Don’t wanna be drowning in memories/Do you ever think about me? I think about you/I remember that time in my life, and I wonder, do you?/Meeting in between class, thinking all about us/ Kissing in between class, thinking all about us/I’m drowning in, I cannot swim in memories.
Track Name: I More Than Rather Like You
I more than rather like you/I more than rather do/You make me feel so good inside/And also outside too/I more than rather like you/I more than rather do/It’s like your hands were made for me/ My skin was made for you/Sometimes it makes me sad/ When conversations we’ve had/Twist and turn inside my head/’Til I can’t remember what you said/In the first place/But in any case/I more than rather like you/I more than rather do/And what I wish for most of all/ Is that you like me too/Sometimes it makes me cross/ When you call me the boss/And make me make all of the choices/Even though I don’t have it sorted/Any more than you/But what can I do/I more than rather like you/I more than rather do/And what I wish for most of all/Is that you like me too.
Track Name: Chemistry
They say that love is/A chemical thing/ Well if that’s true/My chemicals combine well with your chemicals/They say that love is/An interaction of smells/Well if that’s true/My smell and your smell smell nice together/And if that’s all that love is/I’m so glad that we’re in love together/And if my emotion is just a symptom/Of the goings on in my brain/And my feelings are just victim/To blood pulsing through my veins/A reaction to electric impulses in my body/And if that’s all that love is/I’m so glad that we’re in love together.
Track Name: Open/Closed
I lock the door, I check three times/I walk out the gate then turn around/I repeat this dance four times/Or five, or six, or eight, or nine/Then I drive my car to the shops/I click the button, I hear it locks/I think I will wear out the battery/ The amount of times I have to see/Is it open or is it closed?/Why’s it so hard for me to know?/Am I open or am I closed?/Someone said to me once/That when one door opens another shuts/ Or perhaps it’s meant to be/The other way around, I’m not sure, you see/It’s so hard remembering/When I keep second-guessing/ Everything that goes through my head/or in my hands, or by my heart/Is it open or is it closed?/Why’s it so hard for me to know?/Am I open or am I closed?/It’s a question, remains unknown/Am I open or am I closed/Is it open or is it closed?
Track Name: If Not You
As the world becomes connected/We become less tethered/To one place and so we travel far and wide/And the logical conclusion/ Is despite the incongruent/Geographical differences, people fall in love/And it’s highly inconvenient/And the airfares are exorbitant/And so many nights are missed and spent apart/But somehow we have to make it work/‘Cos life is sweet and life is short/If you don’t live
the life you want, well then who will?/And if not you then who will live the life you want?/It’s yours, just choose it/ If not you then who will do it?/I remember when we were young/And we were having so much fun/And forming clubs and making plans/And then we grew a little older/ Well things change/A rolling boulder gathers no moss/ And things go on and on/But the lessons your friends teach you/They stay with you then never leave you/ They’re part of who you were, are and will be/And if not you then who will live the life you want?/It’s yours, just choose it/If not you then who will do it?/As the world becomes connected/We become less tethered/To one place and so we travel far and wide/And the logical conclusion/Is despite the incongruent/Geographical differences, people fall/They fall in love/I see two birds sitting in the tree/K-I-S-S-I-N-G/If not you then who will do it?
Track Name: Revisionist
You’re a revisionist/Rewriting the history books/You’re a revisionist/And you are up to no good/ Stop tearing out the pages of our history/You’re a relationship denier of the first degree/You think you can concoct such a tall story/Well Pinocchio I can see your nose grow/You’re a revisionist/Rewriting the history books/You’re a revisionist/And you are up to no good/You’re no good/ Turn the pages, tell a story/Paint a picture, say you’re sorry/Turn around and pat your head/And in three pages you’ll be dead/You’re a revisionist/Rewriting the history books/You’re a revisionist/And you are up to no good.
Track Name: Red Bicycles
A house is made of many things/Of bricks and glass and plaster/And many planks of wood/Of teacups and saucepans and sinks/And dogs and sheds and trampolines/But you forget until it all comes/’Til it all comes undone/A street is made of many things/Of concrete and trees and dead leaves/And of garbage bins/Of cars and grass and underpasses/And red bicycles/But you forget until it all comes/’Til it all comes undone/Like the seams of a dress that you no longer fit/ Your finger when you’re cutting vegetables and you miss/Like paper when it tears or bags when they split/ Your heart when it breaks when you hear the stories/A person is made of many things/Of flesh and blood and bone and hair/And fingernails and skin/Of thoughts and needs and hopes and dreams/And bank accounts and fashion senses/And they connect with people who have these things/Flesh and blood and bone and hair/ And fingernails and skin/And thoughts and needs and hopes and dreams/And bank accounts and fashion senses/And they all live in houses made of bricks and glass and plaster/These houses are all next to each other on the streets/Made of concrete and trees and dead leaves and also garbage bins/Cars and grass and underpasses and red bicycles/But you forget until it all comes/’Til it all comes undone.
Track Name: End Of The Day
I used to be a carpenter/ Used to make bookshelves and tables and other things/I’d make them with my hands/And feel at the end of the day I’d accomplished great things/The smell of wood shavings/ The feel of grain under my fingertips/They stayed with me inside me head and in my dreams while I slept/At the end of the day/I used to be a mathematician/Used to do long division and subtraction in my head/I’d be at my desk for days/ Writing the sums and thinking about y and x/At the end of the day/What do you think about?/ And what do you dream about?/I want to know/What you think about/And what you dream about/And what you laugh about/I want to know/I used to be a portrait artist/Used to capture people’s likeness for a living/I’d win acclaim/ For bringing out the things that other people could not see/At the end of the day.