Music

Project BWQ Explore Luminous Connections with "Phosphene" (premiere)

Photo: Courtney Collins

Featuring panoramic glimpses of Manhattan and footage of Project BWQ performing, the video for "Phosphene" is just as engaging and emotional as the music it embodies.

Earlier this year, New Jersey indie rock quartet Project BWQ released its debut LP, American Ghost. A sharply poignant and tastefully arranged dive into "identity and the nature of relationships, the pain of being invisible, vulnerability and paranoia, and the healing that takes place throughout the course of life", the record instantly established the band as an energetic, earnest, and thoroughly elegant genre darling. Arguably the record's most beautiful track is "Phosphene", a touching and delicate slice of chamber rock whose recently released official video captures perfectly the passion and dedication Project BWQ put into their art.

Founder Darryl Joo started the group as a means to "explore and hone his craft of honest songwriting while remaining unbound by conventions and norms". In 2015, he quit his job as a math teacher in New York to pursue his dreams of connecting with people via music that "employ[s] both modern and traditional structures and harmonies to create new yet familiar sounds". Fortunately, he met drummer John Roccesano, bassist/cellist Jack Breslin, and lead guitarist Max Feinstein— "a group of artists whose central ethos revolved around honest support, selflessness, mutual inspiration"—to help fully realize his vision.

As you may know, phosphenes are the spots of light you see following direct force on the eyes or some other stimulation; figuratively, then, it makes sense for the band to use that idea as a symbol for "always looking for something better, something a little more perfect . . . and sort of coming to terms with how toxic that actually is, and subsequently coming to terms with what you do have already". Joo further explains the motivations behind the song and video as follows:

"I wanted something dramatic and orchestral, something that would showcase the strength of talent that we have in our music community here in Hoboken/Jersey City. Featured in the video are the live band members . . . as well as some tremendous musicians—Jaime de Jesus (vocals), Sylvana Joyce (piano), Sean-David Cunningham (violin), and Ty Tuschen (guitar)—all of whom feature on various songs on the full album. . . . And of course, the video would never have happened without our friend Courtney Collins (NonLinear Knitting Studios), Brian Yost (lighting), and Greg Randolph (AD) to take the concept and turn it into something beautiful."

"'Phosphene' was the perfect song to showcase these incredible people, and a chance for me to give back to the community in some small way. Whether they realize it or not, I've received something from everyone in the video, whether by way of guidance, instruction, opportunity, or all three. I really wanted to return that kindness as a show of appreciation; what we do have, right here and now in our little corner of the world, is something precious and worth growing and fostering. All in all, that is the central message behind the project, the album, and this song in particular: that there are good and beautiful things in the world, and they are often right in your back yard. All you have to do is reach out."

Featuring panoramic glimpses of Manhattan, colorful, almost surreal representations of the titular occurrences, and of course, footage of Project BWQ performing, the video for "Phosphene" is just as engaging and emotional as the music it embodies. Take a look for yourself and check out the whole American Ghost LP when you can.

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