Phony Ppl and Rooney connect for a catchy jam.
Back in March, 300 records released the soundtrack for the critically acclaimed cult comedy The Unicorn. The standout from the album is “1-2-3” a high energy collaboration from Phony Ppl and pop-rock band Rooney. (Robert Schwartzman, frontman of Rooney, directed The Unicorn.)
Now, today (May 6th) we are proud to premiere the video for “1-2-3,” which is a cover of the famous Len Barry song of the same name. The video features the two bands rocking out together. (The whole video has this great, old-school look to it.)
WATCH: Okay Acoustic: Phony Ppl
For this premiere, Phony Ppl and Schwartzman were able to sit down together and talk about the making of the record and the video. Here are some standouts from that interview:
On how the collaboration came about:
Robert: The movie The Unicorn was in post-production, and we were talking about what the musical landscape would be, like, for the film, and I was excited to connect with Phony Ppl because I thought their music would work so well in the film ,and we were trying to find an opportunity to put their music in the film, through working with 300 on the soundtrack. And then it seemed like it was possible to try and do something like a cover song. When you do a cover for anything it’s a chance to reimagine something, and it seemed like a really fun opportunity to try and do a cover together and put some new ideas into it. I am such a big fan of the Len Barry song “1-2-3” which is also in the movie. It just seemed appropriate to close the film with that song but reimagine it in a more modern way. And Phony Ppl were open to doing the collaboration together.
It’s always a sensitive situation to be able to work with another artist and have both artists want to actually collaborate, so I am so grateful from my perspective that they were so open to wanting to do this from Brooklyn.
Matthew (Phony Ppl): Firstly I just want to say what an experience it was just to be a part of The Unicorn and to add to “1-2-3.” My father showed me that song such a long time ago and it was pretty cool to go back with our version and be like, “hey dad you remember this?” And him be like “oh, cool I dig this!” And as Robert said, we put our own spin on it. It’s not like a Phony Ppl song. It’s its own entity. We love being part of things like that where we get to challenge ourselves as musicians and creatives and it was fantastic. And even to see where the song ties into the movie and when it plays — it’s all really well thought out and really good.
On the concept of the video
Robert: My wife Zoe is a fashion photographer and she shoots a lot of videos and does great photography so she came in and directed the video. And it was fun. She has a great eye, and a great sensibility of what’s cool and what looks visually exciting. So she was looking at references of like shooting in a certain aspect ratio — so the video is shot in a certain aspect ratio that has a sort of old-timey feel to it. And then, also, I think we went into this video not wanting to make a cliche music video from a movie. Like, you don’t have to see the movie to watch this video. Like, it’s not referencing the movie in any way; it’s just its own video.
And I think, also to me, as somebody who really loves the video it just looks like everybody is really having fun together. And we did. The day we shot it was really fun and there was a great atmosphere on set, and this whole process has been a fun collaboration all around and I think the video really speaks to that. I like that.
Bari (Phony Ppl): It was a fun process shooting the music video for sure. As Robert said, it was a fun day and you know, a concept that we like to take into a lot of situations is to make it as fun for everybody as possible. So when we’re enjoying ourselves, everyone just puts in that much more effort. And I definitely got that vibe. I think we all got that vibe shooting the video that day just having a blast being up on the set. One of my favorite parts was, I think, Robert…your wife’s father? When he came and did the intro.
Robert: Oh yeah.
Bari: Oh my gosh that had us all dying – he’s really good.
Robert: Yeah it all worked out really well. We shot it really quickly we didn’t have a lot of time. We only had that venue for a short amount of time so we got as much as we could and I think that you can’t be too precious I think when you’re just trying to create something so I think we were just able to get it all out there. To get it all on the page. But yeah it really has this kind of beautiful look to it, it’s very cinematic, and it’s very nostalgic. And there’s a lot of great dancing going on on stage. And I think people will like it. I think it really compliments the song. And I will say this, now every time I hear the song, I think of the video and I think that’s a sign of a good video, when you think of the video visually, it just pops in your head.
Elbee (Phony Ppl): I remember when we were shooting the video, and all of the points that we were going for visually, we met them. And then we had to find a cool way to have fun, and different ways to have fun. To fill up the frames, like a couple of us at a time, or all of us squeezing into it as the band performing, and as the people who are watching the band perform. And yeah we had a bunch of fun making funny faces and doing silly stuff into the camera. Y’all got to have a little fun at the end and just do some silly stuff. You gotta do some silly stuff unless it’s not real.
If Phony Ppl and Rooney were to get back into the studio and cover another song, what would it be?
Robert: I wanna go into the studio and write new songs with them. I wanna make originals with the band. But there are so many songs to cover. Whenever I’ve been in the studio with Phony Ppl it’s the most fun to just to play each other music. Like I think there are a lot of similar music influences, and we just like good music and respect it, and love music so much. So when you hear good music it makes you want to work and write and create. So it would be fun to make something new together, something new for someone else to cover one day.
Bari: Oh yeah, for sure. We definitely gotta get back into the studio and make something new together.
Robert: We could do more covers too! It’s all of the above, really.
Bari: It’s almost like we could make like a cover duo artist series.
Robert: Yeah a covers album..!
Check out the “1-2-3” video below.
Also, check out tour dates for Rooney’s upcoming tour below.