Track by Track: Phony – ‘Heater’

Posted: by The Editor

LA’s Phony just dropped their excellent new LP Heater, a culmination of everything Neil Berthier’s done under this name so far. It’s a punk opus, and Berthier sat down with us to break down all the tracks on the record. It’s a fascinating read, and it sheds a light on the process–for example, the album’s striking art. Read that below.


“There was a spider in my rook that lived in this web in the corner above my bed for like a year. There was a party at my house and a bunch of us were reminiscing about a friend who had passed away and how we couldn’t celebrate his life because he passed during the pandemic. This song is semi from the perspective of the spider watching this whole emotional interaction happen.”

Card in a Spoke

“I had a dream where I was aimlessly wandering sand dunes at dusk. At some point I come across the beach and the sun as it’s about to rise. Floating in the air is a glowing painting of painting of Jesus Christ and it was shaking. At that point I heard a whirring sound and out of the sky came a vertical saucer. It stayed in front of me for a minute and this song was playing.”

World You Love

“It is difficult to distance yourself from modern life. I find myself inundated with details of the human experience that ultimately frustrate me but have nothing to do with day to day tasks. This song is about confronting that and letting those thoughts go.”


“This song is supposed to encapsulate what it feels like to fall in love in New York City, a la a Billy Joel song, but written by someone who lives in LA and can barely play the piano.”


“Me and my girlfriend were on our way back from a friends birthday in Idyllwild and I hadn’t finished lyrics to this song yet. I showed them to her and she was like, “these are really bad, what is this?” and then on the way home she made me rewrite it within like an hour and helped with the concept and some of the lines. I tracked it right when we got back and it took maybe a half hour. Could not have done it with out her, this one is up there with favorite songs on the record for me.”


“This was originally really slow and over time it just made more sense as a bit of a Green Day ripper. I was watching Sunset Boulevard in a hotel room in Morro Bay and that’s where a lot of the inspiration for the lyrics come from.”

Water in Your Wine Glass

“It rained for like 4 months this past year in LA. It really made everything feel dreary and boring. I wanted to write a song that felt connected to that time just being in an apartment wishing the rain would go away, Cat in the Hat style.”

County Line

“This song is about a mix of things but ultimately the message is if you live in Los Angeles and you’re ever bummed out or upset, just go the beach. It’s a trick that has worked every time for me and I can’t recommend it enough.”

Pass the Ball

“You have to play as a team if you want to accomplish anything. A work is only as good as the sum its parts. This song is about me confronting that idea and embracing it, even though it can be easier said that done at times”

Heater is out now on Counter Intuitive.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

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