Los Angeles! New York! London! Philadelphia and all other hip cities around the globe! Prepare to be clued in to the electronic house pop sounds of The Identifiers. This new New York-based group was founded in July 2010 by pop producers and house remixers Phil Weitzman and Ian Gallagher.
Weitzman, a music fan and jazz guitarist since high school states: “I became fascinated with songs that were so powerful that you could play them literally every day without ever becoming bored.” Weitzman soon had a varied resume including church choir singer and bass player for Oxytocin and the release of his debut solo EP Four Frightening Fables which featured weird, dark Halloween pop music. In addition to history and YouTube videos, Weitzman adds: “I love trying to write really great, singable lyrics and melodies that capture a story or a mood.”
Gallagher, currently aka DJ Aglet, is a trained classical guitarist who also has had a love of music since he was young. Additionally, he developed an interest in music production in high school. Gallagher explains: “Back in the ‘90s it was very primitive, but I was always the guy who loved sitting behind the 4-track, tweaking the compressor, reverb unit, EQ knobs, etc. I didn’t really even know that I was ‘producing’ my bands.”
He also shares Weitzman’s interest in songwriting: “I just effing love trying to make a great song shine.” More recently he discovered he had “a latent love of DJing.” Working for Ableton developing DJ skills was practically a job requirement.
He carried that knowledge with him while club-hopping. “Little did I know that DJing is insanely fun. It’s insanely addictive, and probably shouldn’t be legal.”
Gallagher, who is multi-lingual and speaks German and Japanese, continues: “If a crowd reacts positively to a song you just played, well, you’re not going to be satisfied with that and just pack up. No, you want to keep that level of excitement up and going all night. It’s the closest thing to a religious experience I’ve had.”
Currently signed with Roc-Elle Records, this dynamic duo originally came from classical and jazz backgrounds but came to realize they “liked pop music better”. Their goal is to create hardcore pop music for a parallel universe and “to make you dance and have fun.” In order to do this they often employed various vocalists to flesh out their hip sounds. Their previous projects have paired the pair with such indie artists as Asobi Seksu and Cassorla.
Recently, The Identifiers scored the upcoming From The Well a documentary about Ugandan youth. They have also collaborated w/Australian singer Natasha Stuart. Interestingly, while their music sounds right at home with that played in the hottest clubs in L.A. or any other trendy town, they are influenced by some comparatively old school or at least more established acts such as Prince, Timbaland, Swedish House Mafia and Bloodshy and Avant.
Their debut disc is a four track EP titled Portraits In Pop has a release date of January 31st. The release party date is a bit later–February 11th–and will be held at Pianos in Manhattan, New York. The project features some of their favorite sexy sirens including Jen Urban (Jen Urban & The Box), Samira Ashley (Vicio,Mannekin) and Kjersti Kveli who will also be performing at the release party.
The EP opens with “On The Move” . “On The Move”, according to Los Angeles’ toughest music critic—your crusty chronicler’s youngest son—William Jared James Phoenix—is highlighted by the performance of guest vocalist California cutie Jen Urban who “sounds like Kesha”. The second selection is “Trashed” which includes the contributions of sassy songstress Samira Ashley. This one takes the “Critic’s Choice” simply because it tells the familiar tale of a less than perfect personal life and the ways in which one sometimes chooses to deal with such events.
The next number is “Out There”. “Out There” features some great percussion and bass and more importantly the tuneful talents of Norse princess Kjersti Kveli who has previously performed for Norway’s royals . It’s no doubt headed for single-dom.
The closing cut is “Roller Coaster”. It’s yet another example of what this talented twosome can do with the aid of an assortment of guest artists. This is, unfortunately, the final piece, as The Identifiers quit while they’re ahead and leave their listeners wanting more while they’re still dancing.
Quite honestly, your rockin’ reviewer had a preview copy of this work in his CD player. After a hard day of teaching teens to drive he returned to his car temporarily forgetting about said CD. Upon starting the car, he thought his son had somehow programmed his hip, cool radio station on the car stereo. But no! It was simply the premiere EP, Portraits In Pop, by The Identifiers. Truly, if this material sounds worthy of play on a trendy, current radio station there’s definitely something to it.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.