What I Learned at Bandcamp: Phantom Party
Phantom Party is a new surf rock band from Phoenix. The four piece, comprised of Joshua Capati, Nathaniel Levine, Matthew Slusser and Austin Cooper, formed after the disbanding of several local acts.
In May, the group released Stellar, a five-track EP available to stream of purchase on Bandcamp. The album was recorded and mixed in multiple bedrooms across Chandler.
Below, read The Spec’s interview with Phantom Party and listen to tracks from the new release…
Tell us a little about yourselves…
Josh: We are a surf rock band from Phoenix. This band started because of songs written for a side project of mine, but it took on a life of it’s own after my old band broke up. We recorded our EP Stellar in two bedrooms with one microphone. We added Nathan Levine on second guitar last month and we hit the road to California playing a few shows. DIY or die.
How long have you been making music?
Matt: Five months. We’ve all been in bands in the past so we kind of know the flow, but this is our first time all together.
Who/what are your influences?
Josh: We all come from different backgrounds. Some of us like listening to Black Flag, Descendents, Nirvana, and heavier bands like that. However, we can’t help but dip our toes into Dick Dale and the Beach Boys. More recent bands include FIDLAR and Wavves.
What is your favorite song you’ve released and why?
Austin: I really enjoy “Catholic School“–the first track on our EP. It leads off the EP well because it’s energetic. The Stellar EP is kind of eclectic; when I hear it, each song has a different feel, so we start off most of our live shows with that song because it gets your blood pumping.
Josh: I would also say “Catholic School.” It’s fast, it drives hard and, like Austin said, it perfectly opens our set. I really love playing surf guitar, which is kind of how that song sounds.
Matt: “Skin.” The way Josh plays the guitar in that song has a haunting vibe that I really dig on. There’s a dark groove on that song that I really enjoy riding.
Nathan: I like “Sunflower Eyes” because it’s bright. I love the characteristics and dynamics of the chorus, especially.
Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
Josh: We plan on playing more shows and start the process of recording an album.
Austin: I played with Josh in a band before, and one thing I’ve found is that he doesn’t stop writing. With that said, we played a short run of shows in California playing about ten songs every night and more coming to fruition. We’ll have some new stuff out soon.
If you could no longer be a musician, what would you be or do for a living?
Nathan: I’d definitely be a filmmaker. That’s what I fell in love with first, and what I started doing first.
Matt: I’d also be a filmmaker, but mostly in horror movies. I have always been a huge fan of horror movies. They play a monumental part of my life. I’d either say that or a writer because that’s what I spend the rest of my time doing.
Josh: I want to be a museum curator. History is a passion of mine. It’s dorky, I know, but I don’t give a shit. The idea of processing and recording artifacts and retelling their stories is a beautiful thing to me.
Austin: I’d want to be a psychologist. There’s something about learning about the human mind that fascinates me. Everyone thinks they’re so complex, which we are, but there’s something about the soft science that makes me feel like we aren’t as complicated as we think.
What musicians or bands do you look up to?
Josh: Brian Wilson, Joe Strummer, and Buddy Holly. I love their attitudes and musicianship. I love how they went against the grain and out out what they wanted to put out. No matter how many people said “you can’t do it,” they did it anyway.
Austin: Dave Grohl is number one. Nirvana is my favorite band, and watching Dave wail on the drums showed me that the drums sound best when you’re beating the crap out of them. Plus, his outlook on music and the industry is very intriguing. I would love to sit down and have coffee with him while talking about where he thinks music is headed. Justin Pierre from Motion City Soundtrack is also up there, because he actually acknowledges his fans individually. I don’t see many famous people doing that, so the fact that he takes time out of his day to answer a question I might send him is a big deal. Van McCann of Catfish and the Bottlemen and Marissa Paternoster of the Screaming Females are slowly climbing the list, too.
Nathan: Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit. There are so many reasons I like him. He overcame so many problems and still managed to create beautiful, uplifting music. I consider him the Van Gogh of synth pop.
Matt: Tom Waits. Tom exemplifies a kind of fierce, rough originality that is impossible to find anywhere else. Whether he’s in a studio or a junkyard, you’re gonna get some brilliant music.
Why do you make music?
Josh: We all got into it for different reasons, whether it’s because of creative energy, expression, or we simply have nowhere else to go. We are cursed with the desire to not do what other people do. People gladly give up dreams for the 9-to-5, but we aren’t the kind of people to be ordinary.
Anything else you’d like readers to know that we haven’t asked you about?
Austin: We are super new so we don’t have a huge amount of fans, but thank you to everybody who supports us. It doesn’t go unnoticed. Plus, thank you to The Spec for supporting the scene with this website and doing this interview. There are so many great bands that simply don’t get the recognition they deserve and I’m fortunate for every listener we get.
Josh: With that said, you can buy our Stellar EP on CD for $5 or download it at Bandcamp for free. All the cash goes to the band instead of a middleman or whatever. We can keep in touch at Facebook or Instagram. We’re always down to talk to new people.