Three Great Things: Life On Planets

Phill Celeste on what’s been bringing him joy in these difficult times.

Three Great Things is Talkhouse’s series in which artists tell us about three things they absolutely love. To mark the release of a new EP called Glowstick, Phill Celeste shared some of the things that are bringing him joy in these difficult times.
—Josh Modell

1. Time for Connection

This time has been amazing for connecting and reconnecting with friends and family. These times have really shown me what’s important in life and I’m so happy to have been able to see my little cousins and aunts and uncles when we might not have made the time to otherwise. I’ve got more time to just chill with my girlfriend instead of rushing to the studio or work. We finally watched the entire Sopranos and learned whole new ways to say expletives and sound smooth ordering Italian. Dang, now I’m craving some gabbagool.

Before, I was always so wrapped up in music and deadlines and creating but I’ve also had more time to be able to just talk with homies about whatever. A lot of my circle revolved around making stuff and plotting and planning. All that has come to a bit of a halt so while we’re still creating, I find I’m able to have really deep conversations with old friends and folks further outside the circle. We can work out some of these feelings about what’s going on in the world right now, and give each other some hope about getting through this thing. 

2. Mountain country

I’ve been so blessed to have been able to stay in New Hampshire while this pandemic rages on. Before I couldn’t imagine not living in a city but man…I can drive around without traffic, ground myself with beautiful scenery, take walks and hikes, make music at 3AM. Most importantly, it’s quiet and I don’t have to see anybody if I don’t want to. There’s something that feels really open and anchoring here and I’ve been able to do a lot of self work and recapitulation. Just working through those phobias and ego battles and taking my energy back. 

I could definitely find ways to deepen my meditation and workout practices back in NY during this thing but I don’t know if I’d be running around outside as much. I’m really getting into this new kind of locomotive workout called animal flow. I’m walking back and forth like a bear and leaping around in a monkey flow. Definitely don’t think I’d be as comfortable in the city park hopping and crawling around on all fours. I’ll miss it here when we leave. But alas, city life seems to be returning to some kind of normalcy and Miami may be a look to start playing again. Wish me luck!!

3. Singalongs 

A few weeks back we had a hang with some friends upstate in NY (after getting tested, social distancing, and quarantining for two weeks) and they invited me to play some guitar and christen their new space. I tell you, I have never had so much fun playing for people. Firstly, it’s just been so long since I’ve played out. It was great to shake off the rust and dig into that stage anxiety again. Since starting Life on Planets, I’ve played less and less guitar and focused more on the electronic parts of the set. I hadn’t played acoustic in months, and certainly not with anybody else. My homie jumped on the keys and the vibes were so high as we sang our favorite songs from the ’90s. I didn’t even think many people actually knew the words to some of the songs but I was happily surprised. Might be an Usher cover coming to a streaming service near you soon! 

I’ve been doing more and more live streams and really watching them and trying to improve my performance. I always had friends tell me to record my sets with a Zoom but I never invested in one so it’s rare I actually get to see myself playing, besides the good parts in snaps after the show. I started doing these dance routines on this app called Steezy. It’s the best thing for a self conscious guy like me. I stay stumbling in the Salsa class. There’s going to be some dope moves on the way and hopefully more singalongs as well.

Life On Planets is the solo project of singer/guitarist Phill Celeste. Melding soul, R&B, and house in his original productions; the artist’s eclectic sound took him from the streets of Baltimore to cities the world over. Join Phill as he weaves live performance with electronics to spread messages of truth, love and consciousness across dance floors. Life On Planets’ latest release is a collaborative EP with Taylor Bense called Glowstick.