The Saturday Giant will be performing at Natura Coffee & Tea, this Friday, July 26 at 9pm
Who are you and where do you come from?
I’m Philip Cogley, born in Mississippi, partially raised in northwestern Pennsylvania—but since the age of 8, I’ve been an Ohio boy.
OK, so I have to ask; name? Saturday Giant. The Saturday Giant. Do tell …
It’s a bastardized translation of the name of this incredible Mexican variety show, Sabado Gigante. It’s like the Lawrence Welk show , if everyone involved were on acid. When I got the idea to do a solo project, I knew that I wanted it to incorporate a lot of different genres, and since that show incorporates so many genres of television in a very bizarre, almost psychedelic way, it seemed appropriate. Literally, the name of the show in English would be “Gigantic Saturday,” but I think “The Saturday Giant” sounds cooler. It’s also funny (to me) because I’m short.
Now – I was introduced to your music through the YouTube video you posted. It was “The Fix” on SpoonfeedTV.
The thing I noticed is that your drummer is a total dick. The rest of the guys are OK – but that drummer, man.
No – honestly, it’s the obvious – the fact that YOU are Saturday Giant. You’re doin’ this solo. And you’re building these layers of rhythms and riffs and melody one-by-one by yourself. It’s really incredible to watch.
Haha the drummer is totally a dick! But man, thank you for saying that. I tweeted the video to you on a whim; I’m really glad you took a moment to watch it and you enjoyed it so well.
Where did you begin, musically? What instrument? What age?
I started playing the guitar when my parents got me lessons for Valentine’s Day in 5th grade. I think I was always interested in music, though. When I was very young, an old friend of my parents apparently told my mother, “you could teach Philip anything if you put it to music.”
At what point did you say, “You know what? I’m just going to make this shit my way. I’m fucking playing everything!”
It happened about 3 years ago. I’d written a record and recruited some good friends of mine in Columbus to play the songs out with me for a few months. I knew that I wanted to tour, and I was in the process of putting a trio together to do that (my friends were either in other bands or lacked the flexibility to tour as aggressively as I wanted), but I was having a hard time finding a bass player who clicked. Then the guy I had lined up to play drums was diagnosed with heart palpitations. Obviously, the touring lifestyle is high stress and not recommended for folks with that condition, so it was back to square one. I was really frustrated—the entire rationale for writing and recording an album on my own was not to be reliant on other people!—and here I was stuck, unable to do what I wanted to do for that very reason. So I vowed to figure things out so I would never be in that position again.
I’m an idiot, but to me, it seems the practice it would take to manipulate the myriad instruments before you as well as the sampling equipment would be like learning to play another instrument in and of itself.
I suppose it is a bit like that. Certainly the first time I experimented with looping/live sampling/whatever you want to call it, it did not go well. I said to myself, “wow. I may not be cut out for this.” But I spent a lot of time woodshedding in my basement, and I got a bit better. I don’t think it got really seamless though until I started touring. Playing in different rooms with different acoustics every night really has a way of locking things in.
Would you ultimately like to build a band around Saturday Giant?
The only way I would do that is if suddenly I were working with a label that wanted to offer some big time tour support, or if I knew I was going to be selling a lot of tickets that would enable me to properly compensate the other musicians. But even then, I’m not sure I would do it. At this point, the one-man band aspect of the project is a big part of what makes The Saturday Giant, The Saturday Giant.
What music inspires you? What do you draw from?
I hear a sort of elegant melancholy – and kind of hear touches of Modest Mouse and Death Cab and maybe something like Manchester Orchestra, Mimicking Birds??
I certainly went through phases in which I listened to plenty of Modest Mouse and Death Cab, although I think the former probably has more to do with my songwriting than the latter. I was obsessed with Radiohead for a long time when I was younger, so I’m sure that influence is there. I was (and am) a big fan of late 90s/early aughts post-rock—big, expansive stuff like Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think, etc.
I also love hip hop and hip hop production, from mainstream stuff like Kanye to indie stuff like Why? Probably the simplicity I tend to favor when it comes to beats and basslines comes from there.
Where can people find more info and hear some music?
thesaturdaygiant.com is the online portal for The Saturday Giant experience – Haha!
What’s your favorite TV show? And if you fucking say, “I don’t watch TV,” I’m going to fucking freak.
Uh oh. Well, I really don’t watch much TV.
<ducks tomato> However, my all-time favorite show is Arrested Development. The writing on that show (especially on the original 3 seasons) is just unreal.
If I hit play on your iPod right now, what would I hear? You have to be honest. You can’t say Dirty Mind or Something Blue or something else cool. If it’s En Vogue you better fucking say it’s En Vogue!
You’d be most likely to hear audiobooks of A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones)! Haha. That’s the only way I stay sane on longer drives. (And if you drop any spoilers in this article, I will murder you.)
Haha – no spoilers. I’ve really gotten into podcasts and audio books myself as of late.
Just for fun, I hit shuffle on my phone and here are the first 5 songs that came up:
Nirvana – “Dumb”
Ronu Majumdar – “African Queen”
Manu Chao – “Por el Suelo”
Baroness – “Blackpowder Orchard”
Weezer – “Buddy Holly”
I apologize if that’s not sufficiently embarrassing.
No. It’s just music snobbish enough to know you’re serious …
Who’s blowin’ up in Columbus right now? Who do you see breaking away or what is some music we should pay attention to should they stop by Orlando?
Well, Saintseneca just signed with ANTI-, which is a pretty huge freakin’ deal. I think everyone in the Cbus community is pretty stoked about that; it’s like external validation for a scene we’ve known is kick ass for a long time.
I was hanging with some kids in Gainesville the other night and I played them some stuff by Cbus-expat, Dane Terry. They freaked. Dane is a good friend and a truly incredible pianist, performer and songwriter. Way Yes and Dolfish are also good buds of mine from Ohio making really interesting, rewarding music.
I really encourage anyone to dig deep into the Columbus scene, there’s so much good stuff people are working on.
Well, thanks for not pullin’ a Beyonce or some shit and boycotting Florida.
Now have you heard about the Treyvon case? It’s big news ya know?
Did the fact that you are playing Orlando trouble any friends or loved ones? You know you might not make it out of here. It’s like the Wild West.
Man, that case is such an enormous bummer. I don’t blame Beyonce for boycotting, to be honest, though I don’t think her doing that helps to address the underlying issues. Floridians ought to know, though, that their state is a real object of derision pretty much everywhere else right now (at least, the places I’ve been on this tour). It’s not fair, but that’s the reality. The incident and its aftermath have been a pretty big black eye.
My point of view is that there are decent people everywhere. I’ve certainly encountered plenty of them thus far in Florida. And really, what happened in that case would not have been possible without some very serious systematic flaws, and those flaws exist pretty much everywhere in this country. Though I must say that Stand Your Ground seems like a really great way to encourage people to assault each other, and that’s specific to Florida.
If I’ve offended any of your readers with my opinion on the subject, I encourage them to come discuss it with me after the show. Please don’t bring a gun.
Have you been to Orlando as a musician? A tourist?
This is my first time! I’m looking forward. I always thought the Magic had really dope uniforms.
You know you’re playing over by UCF. -Sooo many hot chics- Where and when are you playing?
Haha, that’s good to know. The show is at a place called Natura, The address is 12078 Collegiate Way, Orlando, FL 32817, and the show starts shortly after 9 PM.
You should freak everyone out and just blow the fucking doors of Natura! Just do a death metal version of your show with fucking screeching 5-minute guitar solos, smash a guitar and light your pants on fire. That would be rad.
Thanks for ruining the surprise, dick.
It will be interesting to see how it goes. I’ve been playing an extremely wide variety of venues on this tour. I don’t necessarily see coffee shops as my ideal sort of venue, but I’m pretty good at adjusting my set to the room I’m in. That said, if we can pack some kids in, I’ll totally stand on a table and take my pants off.
You heard it here first ladies. Let’s hold him to it …
Is When Death Comes your latest release? What inspired the title? What’s got you musing on such dark topics?
Yep, that’s the latest one. The making of that EP happened to coincide with a pretty trying time in my life. I lost a grandmother, a 19 year-old cousin and a dear friend, all within a year. I was also dealing with the death of a romantic relationship. So I was thinking a lot about losing people, both physically and emotionally, and each of the songs address those issues in a different way.
Man! That’s tough, but it is also the inspiration for so much great music.
The title track is actually a riff on this poem called “Death Be Not Proud” by a 17th-century poet named John Donne. In his poem, Donne personifies death in order to diminish his power, and that’s what I attempt to do in the song.
What’s coming up next for Saturday Giant?
I’m on tour through August 17, then I’m home for a couple of weeks before heading back out for most of September. Then I’m home again for much of October before hitting the road again for most of November. I’m doing some short runs in October and December as well.
Amidst all that, I’m trying to finish my first LP. I would love for it to come out this fall, but it can be tough to make progress with all the time and responsibilities of the road. We’ll see. But basically, I’m going to be making records and touring a ton for the foreseeable future.
The UCF area is in for a big treat. Besides performing pantless, The Saturday Giant will be bringing some very interesting, heartfelt indie rock to Natura Coffee and Tea by UCF. Check it out. Do it!
Hear some more of Philip as The Saturday Giant on his debut Daytrotter live session