Perched in a corner of The Lexington in North London, it’s fair to say Phoebe Green is buzzing. Later tonight, she’ll be onstage supporting The Big Moon to a packed room well aware of the future star in front of them – one primed to be selling out venues like this in a matter of no time. Phoebe’s also currently supporting Swim Deep across the UK (a band she confesses she’s been a massive fan of for years), and there’s an undeniable sense that things are about to get very big indeed.
“Like, I literally finished uni this year and as soon as that was over, and all the last-minute assessments were out of the way, it was like right – we’re going on tour!” cracks Phoebe. “I don’t know how I’m going to cope as soon as I get a minute to breathe!”
“It’s been really interesting over the past few months,” she continues. “Depending on the place we’ve been, people have either come up to me at the end of our set and said ‘I didn’t have a clue who you were before this, but now I love it’, or it’s ‘I’ve travelled across the country to see ya’. It’s such a contrast, but the reaction has been amazing – better than I ever could have expected.
“I thought we would be turning up to venues, nobody would be there, and everyone would turn up after our set…” Phoebe catches herself, “I’m not usually that pessimistic.
“On the first date of this tour with Swim Deep, we played Brighton, and I was so, so, so nervous. We hadn’t done a gig in like a month, and this tour is the first tour we’ve done of this length. I ended up standing completely still and was just petrified of messing up. Now though, we have such a good time on stage and dance about and everything. I would never have said that I was a theatrical performer until this tour, but now I’ve finally come into it all.”
With the sort of immediate warmth that grips from the first note, it’s easy to see why people have stood to attention. In ‘Dreaming Of’ and ‘Easy Peeler’, Phoebe’s laid out two of 2019’s most immediate bops, signalling the arrival of a songwriter pulling inspiration together across the board and standing aside from the pack.
“With these two singles so far, they’re very different but also really establish like the two sides of me as an artist,” notes Phoebe. “I like to be really vulnerable in what I write about, but I also want people to think I don’t really give a shit and I’m quite feisty about stuff.”
Writing diaries full of observations from the world around her from an early age, Phoebe was born to be out front for the whole world to see. “From when I was a toddler, I was always a performer,” she laughs. “I loved being the centre of attention or being the main character in nativity plays and stuff like that. I just always wanted to sing and everything else that came with it.”
Growing up in the seaside town of Lytham, songwriting came as a natural extension of those “emo” diaries Phoebe would scribble down. “I’ve always wanted to express myself in some sort of tangible way, it’s definitely my forte. When I’ve been writing with people recently, they’ve kept saying to me – god, lyrics come to you in like 10 minutes!”
First drawn to classic film soundtracks and indie favourites such as Wolf Alice, it was only when Phoebe packed up her bags and moved to Manchester that the world truly opened.
“Moving from a small, very close-minded seaside town to like one of the coolest cities ever – I think it just made me come into myself a lot more because I never really felt at home amongst the kind-of people I grew up around,” notes Phoebe. “As soon as I got to uni and was surrounded by musicians and other young people, it definitely shifted the way I was as a person.
“I was very sheltered in what I listened to at home. Not in the sense that I couldn’t, but I just didn’t have an awareness of all this different music. I wasn’t really influenced by anything because there wasn’t anything to be influenced by, whereas in Manchester, I was seeing a range of interesting bands that definitely shaped my sound in a better way.”
While ‘Easy Peeler’ and ‘Dreaming Of’ might be turning heads at the moment (the former co-written with Jules from The Big Moon no less), it was debut collection ’02:00 Am’ that first drew the eyes of famed label Chess Club.
“That album, it was very much me expressing myself,” recalls Phoebe. “It wasn’t for anyone, it wasn’t for anything! It was me when I was 16/17 getting everything off my chest and the reaction to it… well, I wasn’t expecting that at all.”
Laying the groundwork for what comes next, it was the first marker for a sound that now feels bolder and open to go down whatever avenue Phoebe feels like heading to next. “Now, it’s a lot more stylistically interesting. I don’t know how to explain it, but a lot more intentional. It’s presenting myself as an artist rather than just presenting my emotions – now I’m doing both.”
A future pop maestro, it’s why Phoebe’s 2020 is destined to be essential. Attention now turns to that anticipated new album, with a new era and countless stages on the horizon. “I definitely want to create a body of work that’s really representative of me,” ponders Phoebe, “because I’ve changed a lot since the last album. I want to present to people who I am now, what I’m about, the way I feel about certain things and the way I navigate certain situations.”
Phoebe Green heads into the night, pinching herself at the situation she now finds herself in. “Like, the fact I’ve now written with Jules from The Big Moon, and the fact I’m now on tour with Swim Deep and such good friends with them… it’s so surreal. I don’t dwell on it because it all feels so normal now. It’s just another day.”
Phoebe pauses with a smile. “But it is mad!”
Taken from the December 2019 / January 2020 issue of Dork.
Words: Jamie Muir