He Might Be Giant

Published on July 22nd, 2013

saturdaygiantvertPhil Cogley’s music video for his song “When Death Comes” is a lot of Phil Cogley. There’s Phil, bespectacled and funereally dressed with short-cropped dark hair, stepping up to the keyboard to sing. There’s Phil, to his right, strumming a guitar; and two more Phils, to his left, drumming and rocking a bass. Cogley, the Columbus, Ohio wunderkind who performs under the stage name The Saturday Giant, has not cloned himself for this clever special effect, but he might as well have. The Saturday Giant is a one-man-band, and Cogley writes everything, plays everything, arranges everything and performs it all live, switching from guitar and bass to keyboards when appropriate. And did I mention he beatboxes? “I’m pretty much a four- or five-piece band distilled into one person,” he says.

Cogley isn’t antisocial or narcissistic, but he is a perfectionist, and when the band he initially formed didn’t adhere to the vision he was looking for, he decided to do it all himself. “The way I write is I’ll usually begin with a melody or a texture I like, or a chord progression,” he says. “I’ll go down to the basement, where I rehearse, and start a loop of that texture and melody and start experimenting with what I guess you’d call the different colors in my palette. One advantage I have is that since it’s only my aesthetic sense to worry about, I don’t have to worry about hurting anybody’s feelings. In a conventional rock band, you’ve got four different egos and perspectives, so there a butting off heads.”

The formula is working for him: After a 2010 debut called You’ve Heard of Dragons? that suggests an overwhelming debt to Radiohead, the Saturday Giants’ two follow-ups – 2011’s politically driven “Freedom of Choice” single and last year’s “When Death Comes” EP – sound like an artist who’s come into his own. Cogley’s Ben Gibbardesque falsetto sings and raps over his intricate melodies, which call to mind Philip Glass in their foundational repetitions and dense layering. If Philip Glass made indie-pop music, that is.

Cogley will perform (all four of him) $5 at the Funky Buddha Lounge in Boca Raton at 8pm, July 23 and FREE at Dada in Delray Beach with Chris Horgan aka Sweet Bronco at 8pm July 25. Visit thesaturdaygiant.com. ~ John Thomason

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