Photocomfort is the electronic pop project of Boston-based musician Justine Bowe. While she has performed with other musicians, this is at its core, her solo project. Bowe writes, arranges, and produces her songs as well as singing and playing piano and synths. WERS's Owen Murray spoke with her after a Wicked Local Wednesday performance, to discuss her work with the project.

Could you start by introducing yourself?

Justine Bowe: I’m Justine. I write, record produce songs, and then I perform them!

Andy: I’m Andy and I play the drums for Justine’s songs that she writes and produced and performs! [laughs]

When you perform, is it always with vocals and piano like it was today?

JB: It is never vocals and piano. Usually I play with a whole band. It’s a four piece or five piece and usually I play synths so this was an opportunity to play piano.

So this is sort of a stripped back version of what you guys usually do?

JB: Yeah for sure. Although this felt good and we might do it more often.

A: When you have a grand piano over there it’s kind of like you have to take advantage of it. We left the synth in the car, literally.

Tell me a bit about how you guys got started as a band.

JB: I got started writing songs for this project a really long time ago. Maybe in 2011 or 2012.. back when I was still in college in Boston. I put out an EP way back then and ever since then, I’ve really been chipping away at it. I’ve had lots of random gigs for other bands, but I’ve always had this going as well, so that’s kind of the origin story. Andy came on a couple years ago and since then it’s gotten a very special spice in my humble opinion.

You’re usually playing synths so do you have a more electronic sound than you had today?

JB: No actually, I would say it’s a more organic sound.

A: This is sort of the inverse of what it usually is.

And do you usually play live drums instead of a drum pad?

A: Yeah, always live drums. This was the first day we tried it.

What made you do this switch today?

JB: I have a very specific dream in mind. In my most ideal form it will be a drum pad like this, piano and some synths, bass—maybe fretless— and some pedal steel and guitar so that it’s completely and utterly genreless. Which is for some reason always my aspiration, I don’t really know why. Especially because having a playlistable song is what you need.

So you want a song that will fit on every playlist?

JB: Oh! Well I was saying that I usually get the opposite because I get a song that fits on no playlist. But maybe the inverse is also true where it fits on every playlist!

How do you go about writing songs?

JB: It’s a hodgepodge of things. Sometimes Andy and I will even just like kick around prompts or ideas. I always like to write with a concept first. Whether that’s just a funny phrase or... a lot of times I’ll do something that makes me laugh.

What would you say some of your major musical inspirations are?

JB: Oh, I never know how to answer that question.

When I was listening in the studio I thought of the Dirty Projectors.

JB: Sure, I’ll take that!

A: I love the Dirty Projectors.

JB: I’ll take that comparison any day! I usually just skip that question.

Do you have any other Boston bands that you like to collaborate with?

JB: Yeah! I play with Cliff Notez a bunch. And I play with my bestie Anjimile.

You played all new music today. Do you know when this music is going to come out?

JB: I’m hoping late summer or early fall. Things are in deep stages of recording.

Is this going to be a lot different than what you’ve done so far?

JB: I would like to think that it will sound like I threw off some of the constraints of what I was doing before that felt a little over the top. I just let songs be songs.

A: There’s still a connecting thread for sure.

JB: Yeah, they will always sound like us. Andy drummed on that record and I have my voice which I can’t change [laughs]. But yeah, hopefully it sounds a little more relaxed.

What are some of your favorite local venues that you have played?

JB: I love the Sinclair. Anytime they’ll have us we’re always down to go. If we’re trying to get a little grittier, I’m all about the Great Scott.

A: Great Scott is fun.

JB: If we’re trying to get fed I’ll do Atwoods.

A: Atwoods for the food, but Sinclair for the food too! The first show I played with you was at O’Brien’s pub actually.

JB: Wow, that was a long time ago!

Do you have any shows coming up?

JB: We’ve got the 25th at the Strand. Frank Cliff is putting together an event called “Boston Answering” as an alternative to Boston Calling. A lot of best buds will be on that bill.

And where can people find your music?

JB: Anywhere where they can stream anything else they like!