Tyler Posey’s debut solo single ‘Shut Up’ is a fiery statement of intent. Teaming up with rising alt-rocker Phem and pop-punk renaissance man Travis Barker on the track, his first ever solo release is something of a dream come true for Posey, who started making music because of blink 182.
The starting point for ‘Shut Up’ can be traced back to a Christmas Party. Every year (2020 being the exception) producer John Feldmann throws a festive bash, invites all his friends and at some point, plays a set with a host of special guests. One year Posey found himself onstage alongside Feldman and Travis Barker. “There was this one part where it’s just bass and drums, and I turned to Travis and was making direct eye contact with him while I played bass. I wanted to make him laugh and feel like we had something special going on! We’ve been friendly ever since then,” Posey explains over Zoom.
It was the same place, same song (different year though) that also brought Phem into Posey’s life. “I was nervous about performing but I’m never going to say no to Feldmann,” says Phem. “I didn’t know anything about who else was playing in the band, but Tyler was killing it on the bass.”
So when the pair reconnected during a writing session, it felt easy. The duo have now written a ton of songs together, but despite really wanting Phem to feature on ‘Shut Up’, Posey was initially unsure of how to ask her. Luckily Feldmann was in the studio too, and asked her to hop behind the mic, and as Posey explains: “the more Phem was laying down, the better the song sounded!”
It was an easy decision for Phem to go from co-writer to guest artist. “I couldn’t give two shits about who makes the song, it’s just about how good it is, and if I can contribute in a way that makes it better. I already knew ‘Shut Up’ was a banger when we were writing it…but once I started singing it, I was like ‘damn, there’s a lot of power in those words.’”
‘Shut Up’ was inspired by quarantine and Posey’s decision to get sober. “Before, when anxiety or depression would hit, I would use substances like booze or weed to make things better. I went through a bout of depression that stemmed from an ex and that’s what the song is about, sitting with depression for the first time.”
For the latest in NME’s Friends Like These series, the musical pals and collaborators interview each other, discussing Posey’s upcoming solo EPs (the first is called ‘Drugs’), Phem’s recent release ‘how u stop hating urself pt.1.5’, their first times performing to a crowd, what they want their music to mean to others and why they love each other’s music. Watch the full Tyler Posey x Phem Friends Like These above.