08 June 2009

The Phantom Band vs Peenko

In a first for this blog I have an interview!! well not quite an interview, more a Q&A, but hey that's even better as an interview would mean that I would have to type the whole thing up, and hey to be honest I am lazy and that would have taken me ages to do. Our unsuspecting victims are none other than the Phantom Band (I guess you worked that out from the title though), who have released one of my favourite albums of this year (buy it FFS) they have very kindly taken the time out to answer a few questions for me, enjoy.

First off, have you guys been able to jack in the ‘day job’ now that you’re rock stars?

Duncan - Unfortunately not. Except for Damien the drummer we're all back towork with a thump after the euro/uk tour in may. There's no money in music so you'd better enjoy doing it.

Andy - Don't know about having 'been able', and I don't know if we're quite rock stars just yet, but a few of us have had to anyway, due to the amount of time we're having to dedicate to the band. Obviously Sinkdog still runs the club and I've still got the ice cream van, both of which we'll be reluctant to give up.

How did you end up being signed by Chemikal Underground?

Duncan - We'd done some recordings at Chem 19 ages ago when we recorded a demo and our first single - which came out on London label Trial & Error Records. I think Chemikal heard the echo of that a few years later and thought they'd have a closer listen.

Andy - They pestered us for ages and eventually we gave in. We'd recorded some demos with Paul Savage at Chem19 and I think he wanted to find a way of spending more time with us, since he found our jokes so hilarious. Maybe not, but he alerted the rest of the Delgados who run Chemikal to the ways of Phantom, they came to a gig we had in Mono, we got Stewart blazing drunk and the rest is history.

Are you happy with that amount of exposure that the band has received since the launch of the album?

Duncan - I can't believe the press the album's had, hats off to Goblin Prince Will our agent at In House press its all his doing. Its nice to get some feedback though as we've been making music for years and no one has really taken much notice till recently.

Andy - Of course - it's been great. I don't think we've had a single bad review yet (touch wood) and I think that's made us up our game a fair bit, in terms of trying not to disappoint when it comes to the live shows. We're very humbled by it all and hope it continues, but obviously without letting it influence to any great extent the music we write. It's often the case that when bands continually receive good press there is a bit of a backlash. Obviously we'd rather that didn't happen, but we're not out purely to please a majority, so if it does we'll just grit our teeth. So far so good though.

Have you started working on anything for the second album and if so can we expect it to be recorded a bit sooner than the first?

Duncan - We have lots of new songs in the oven just now and we'd like to get them recorded asap but that whole process is a black art indeed, many factors to consider outwith our control. I think the next record will surpass Checkmate Savage though, hopefully we won't have to wait too long to hear it ourselves.

Andy - We've started messing around with stuff while we've been touring and we have a few ideas almost fully formed, having started to do rough recordings. We're quite excited about some of it and we're looking forward to getting into the studio to work on the next album. I think it will be pretty different to the first one and I think our ear for arrangements and structure has matured since we started on Checkmate Savage, although I think it will probably be as diverse what we've done up to now - we find it difficult to stick to one thing. This might change though; who knows?

Can you reveal the identity of the woman in the black and white photograph on your album cover?

Duncan - No.

Andy - She's my auntie Jean, who modeled in the early 80s. I think this was a surplus photo for a shoot that Barr Soft Drinks commissioned.

Apart from Peter Buck, have you had any other celebrity endorsements as of late?

Duncan - The bassist from Pavement is a fan apparently, which makes our bassist Gerry very happy as he's a big Pavement fan.

Andy - Not sure. I heard a rumour that Jarvis Cocker mentioned it in a radio interview, but I can't confirm that as I didn't hear the show. Pavement have bigged us up, which we're quite happy about since some of us are big fans. Gerry's a big Super Furrys fan, so when we played in Cardiff and Guto Pryce came along, Ger was over the moon to hear that he's a fan of the album - not sure what the rest of the SFA think about it. Lauren Laverne's a fan, which we're very grateful for as she mentions us quite regularly.

What have you been listening to lately/any up and coming acts you’d recommend?

Duncan - We've recently been enjoying the new Sunn O))) record Monoliths and Dimensions (great title), a bit of Sun Ra (on the TK Max tannoy oddly enough) and the new Elvis Perkins album In Dearland. As for new(ish) bands; we enjoyed live sets during the tour by Micachu, Male Bonding, Chrome Hoof and an awesome french band called Yolk. We'd recommend checking out our good friends Django Django who should be in your radar by now, their first single just came out on another Phantom friend's label Shaddazz - run by Glasgonian filmmaker Luke Fowler.

Andy - We listened to Elvis Perkins' last album a fair bit on tour - some really great songs. Personally I have been listening to the new Chain & The Gang album and Alasdair Roberts' new album 'Spoils' alot. In terms of new artists, there are some great bands in Glasgow, as always. Vars of Litchi are a fantastic band, and I'm a big fan of a band called Tut Vu Vu, which comprises of former Uncle John & Whitelock members. On tour we played with a French band called Yolk, who do this pretty out-there jazz metal - they were amazing.

Do you have anymore Scottish dates lined up for this year?

Duncan - At the moment its just T in The Park and Belladrum festivals but there should be more in the autumn so keep an eye on the myface for info.

Andy -
At the moment, only a few of the festivals - T in the Park, Belladrum. We're open to offers, but are trying to limit the number of one-off shows we're doing close to home for a while. We don't want people to get bored of hearing us, and we'd like to relax a bit after touring so we can work on some new stuff. As always, we'll possibly do some shows under some different band names, just to keep practicing the live sound and road-test some new tracks on people who don't know who we are.

The Phantom Band - Burial Sounds (live from the Connect Festival 2008)

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