Joey Phillips: Guitarist and Founder of Metal Group ‘Akimbria’ Answers Questions


        Typical bands today get rich and famous from creating songs-catchy tunes that you can sing the lyrics to. Akimbria isn’t a typical band. Four friends, Joey Phillips, Jaden Barley, Owen Clark, and Ian Schroyer come together to make songs, as well as experiences. When listening to Akimbria one could find themselves imagining scenes such as a battle. In both of their released songs listeners will find instances where the spotlight is given to either the drums, guitar, or vocals.

         Joey Philips, one of the founders, frontman, and rhythm guitarist of Akimbria, C ‘20 and current Point Park University student gave answers to questions about him and his band.


What got you into guitar?

That’s a really hard question, but I do remember the first song that made me pick it up: ‘Unholy Confessions’ by Avenged Sevenfold,” said Joey.


What got you into metal?

“It was more gradual as I entered my teenage years, but again, the band that hooked me from the very beginning was Avenged Sevenfold,” Joey continued “The emotional connection I get from metal is more of a rhythmic and musical emotion. A good portion of people get the emotion from the lyrics, which is completely valid, but my favorite artists could say nothing and make you feel some kind of way. Metal is such a raw and all-encompassing genre, metal is an experience and it really is, like many other things, impossible to understand unless you’re a part of it.”


Previous projects and the creation of Akimbria 

“The band itself was formed by Jaden Barley and I, and the first name we had was Skavenger, which became Tyrant, and then eventually Akimbria. But I honestly don’t count anything pre-Akimbria as a true band, we really had no idea what we were doing, and still don’t in many ways.”


Meaning of the name

“Akimbria is, obviously, a made-up word. I don’t remember the exact moment but I’m pretty sure I just combined the word Akimbo with the suffix -ria because it sounded cool. There’s no meaning behind it. To rebrand, but also because another band named Tyrant reached out to us to inform us that they already copyrighted the name,” said Joey.


What makes Akimbria unique?

“As a musician, you really just become the culmination of all of your influences, and that’s what creates something new. If anything, we’re trying to combine all our heroes into one beast and pay homage at the same time.”


Joey’s heroes and their influence

“My #1 hero for guitar is Darrell Abbott of Pantera. The way I approach rhythm playing has been influenced heavily by him (pun intended) and the way he approached the guitar as an instrument changed the way I viewed the guitar. Sure I’d heard shredding before, but Dimebag could make the guitar ‘talk’. He passed away long before I could meet him in 2002,” Joey followed up saying, “As for specific ideas for songs, Agony was heavily influenced by In Flames’ ‘Clayman’ [an album] specifically: ‘Bullet Ride.’ The main riff of Agony, that plays during the chorus as well, came from me noodling around with similar sounds.”


The song writing process

“It all starts with an idea, whether it be a guitar riff, a drum part, or a lead line. The rest of the song is built off that backbone. It depends, sometimes it takes three hours to write. Some songs take weeks, and some get thrown out just to be Frankensteined later on. Agony, for example, was rewritten multiple times, and the “this point of no return…” the verse was actually added in at the last minute.”


The woman behind the artwork

“Madison Smith [C’20] does all the artwork for our band. She’s a great artist with a talent for capturing emotion. One of the best things about Madison’s artwork is that you can undeniably tell that it is her piece when you look at it. She could draw anything and you would still be able to tell it’s hers. She’s a wonderful artist and an even more wonderful person,” Joey said.

Logo of Akimbria song “Achilles” (Maddie Smith)

The challenges so far

“The challenges have been many, we struggled for a long time trying to find our sound, and even more importantly, keeping a drummer. Now, things certainly seem hopeful. We have a streamlined way of recording and producing music within our budget range, and we’re looking forward to shows and more music in the coming years.”


Future plans

“This summer, we have an EP planned along with some singles. And hopefully to start preparing for shows now that COVID vaccinations are readily available.”


Akimbria, despite being a newer band with few songs, have already made their own print in the metal genre as a whole. Their combination of other sounds with their own unique spin, and pattern of hardwork is setting them up to be the spectacle of the metal genre.

Owen Clark (Far Left), Joey Phillips (Center Left), Jaden Barley (Center Right), and Ian Schroyer (Far Right) (Akimbria)