When you think of Atlanta’s music scene, psychedelic electronic hip-hop is probably not what first pops into your mind. Well, The Pheels are breaking the mold set by the likes of Young Jeezy, Young Thug, and Future. Instead of the supersaturated Atlanta trap music they are following more in the footsteps of a particular rap group that also came out of Atlanta; maybe you heard of them, they go by the name of Outkast. Yes, the comparisons are lofty but The Pheels have created some incredibly unique music that explores a different sound most artists out of Atlanta don’t try and touch.
Curtis Fields and Phil Jones make up The Pheels — and although — they are young, the duo have a deep understanding of music and how to take bits and pieces from every genre for the sole purpose of cultivating it to form their own sound. They cite their main musical influences as The Eagles, Donny Hathaway, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Nirvana, and of course Outkast.
The young ATLiens have just released their first project titled likeWise, which is a blend of psychedelic R&B, rap and way more. Curtis and Phil love playing around with different synths sounds which creates an electronic feel that totally enraptures the listener. To put it in laymen’s terms: The Pheels’ music is straight wavy. The main message on their new project, Likewise, is to “Be you. Understand yourself and that will help you to understand and peacefully coexist with others,” Fields told VIBE
Andre 3000 is who these two young men call “God.” Fields especially has an immense admiration for 3Stacks. He says he “respects creativity on all levels and [Outkast] has done an amazing job of re-creating themselves in different forms and fashions while maintaining the perspective of their own that no one else can imitate.”
“Andre could tell me to sing in bass register Italian and all I’d ask would be if I was in the right key,” Fields said.
The Pheels aren’t afraid to go against the mold. They love the fact that the Atlanta hip hop scene traditionally produces music completely different than what they make.
“You would think that being so different would be more of a hindrance to gaining a following in such a city. But, it’s actually done a lot to set us apart from other new artists/groups promoting themselves in the city and make us a magnet,” Fields said. “I’m a middle child, so I’ve never been much of a fan of fitting in or being too similar to anyone, and this project, at its inception was not intended for mass consumption.”
The trap scene in Atlanta has actually done a lot to shape The Pheels’ sound. The key to making music is understanding how it makes other people feel. Fields understands that better than anyone.
“There’s a vibe that’s kinda ingrained in the minds of people who grew up listening to trap. It’s like the audience knows the song before they hear it because they kinda have lived it, either first person or vicariously through the music,” Fields said. “It’s made me take a slightly different approach to creating. Instead of focusing on making a coherent argument, with the Pheels, I really only focus on promoting positive vibes and emotions that drive us all.”
You can stream The Pheels new project on all streaming services and keep an eye out for a whole lot more stuff coming. They are already working on another project and are hoping to start playing more shows, but most importantly, Fields and Jones are trying to make a greater impact on the world.
“The biggest impetus for me to create is to help start conversations in society that people have neglected to finish or even begin,” Fields said. “That’s why it’s called the Pheels because it’s all about what people are pheeling that we don’t talk about.”