Four out of the five members of the gothic dark rock act Still Phantoms of Orange County, California, spoke to me hours before their headlining appearance that same night out at the Whisky A GO-GO in Hollywood. James, Aaron, Frank, and Matt talked to me abruptly about how the band came to be, what lyrical concept was hidden behind their latest album “Translucent Hymns” and soon to be released follow-up with everything else thrown in between. It was a spooktacular setting of absolute darkness.
1. How did the band pick the name Still Phantoms?
James: Basically what happened was that Matt and I had wanted to start a band. With I Am Ghost being that dark type of band we looked up to, we knew that with our singer having that Evanescence style with those systematic beats. That these dark styles of music that our message was simply that, Phantoms aren’t in motion they stand still.
2. Where are you guys from?
James: Orange County, California.
3. How long has the band been together?
James: What happened was we recorded the album just Matt and I and when it was done and we recruited Ashley, Frank and Aaron and the band has been a full band for what about 4 months.
Aaron: It’s been like 4 months our first show as back in August.
James: Since September we’ve played like over 15-20 shows. So our next album should be out next year.
4. What genre would you classify your music as?
James: It’s kind of hard it’s a little bit of everything. Aaron is the rock drummer and Frank comes from a metal background and Matt and I grew up playing and listening to indie bands. The genre would have to be systemic rock. So it has a different vibe.
5. Who are some of your influences?
James: It’s all different but for this band in particular it’d be Eye Alaska, Evanescence, Thrice, Blink 182, and I Am Ghost.
6. The band has a new album out called 'Translucent Hymns' what are your thoughts on the album?
James: It’s doing well. It’s on iTunes and websites, we’re just out promoting it and I Am Ghost has been really good to us along with other friends so everything is running smoothly.
Matt: It was just me and you and Ashley sitting in a room for days on end was cool.
James: We recorded the album backwards doing everything backwards since then we just played shows and everything went well after that.
7. What inspired your lyrics for this CD?
James: For the lyrics it was mainly based off this video game, Silent Hill. Kind of dark writing about love and lost stuff like that.
Matt: Taking a scene from Silent Hill and format it into a song. “A Ghost of the Past”, is based off of Silent Hill.
8. Do you have any personal favorites off the album?
James: I would say “A Man That Wasn’t There”, “Gather Around”, and “Sound of the Shadows”.
Aaron: I love “He Walks Amongst Us” that marching snare beat and I love “Gather Around”, very catchy and upbeat and I agree with James on “A Man That Wasn’t There”. I like that one especially that was the first song when I first came into the band. That was really fun to write and perform as well.
Frank: I’d say “Apperception, it’s one of those hard hitting songs.
Matt: I have to agree with Frank on “Apperception”, probably “Gather Around”, and “Her Walks Amongst Us” and “Illusions” is amazing.
9. Do you have any plans for a video?
James: Right now we’re finishing up the new album once that’s done we’re going to work on creating a video.
Aaron: I’m a film major and our manager has worked on movie sets and other music videos so that works out pretty well when the time comes.
10. What venues do you like in LA to play?
James: We’ve played the Trouble, Airliner, Viper Room, Slidebar, Chain Reaction, and this is our first time playing here at the Whisky so it’s cool to be able to finally play here.
11. What about plans for the second album what can we expect from that?
Matt: Right now we finished guitar, keyboard, still tracking bass and planning on going into the studio with Eugene Perez whose worked with producers of Incubus, Coldplay, Sound of Animal Fights Home Grown, probably be doing vocals by next week and finishing the bass and likely see it by January late March. We plan on doing a CD Release Show for it along with just playing, playing, playing.
12. What does the future hold for Still Phantoms?
Band: A lot we’ve planned a tour and have started talking to labels and A & R people, we don’t want to sound cocky but we’re friends with Aaron’s mom’s Boyfriend so he’s become our manager and he’s a self-made millionaire and he believes in us. The future plans for the band is just to keep playing and get on a label.
13. Finally, what would you like to say to all of your fans?
Band: Thank you!
Aaron: For the fans from other states we will be there soon!
James: Texas, New York, Washington, is all the big “music states” so don’t worry you guys out there we’re coming!
Aaron: Keep a look-out for us check out our MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/stillphantoms) and our website (http:www.stillphantoms.net)
About the Author
Natalie Perez has been a Music/Entertainment Journalist for 7 years now having first started out with her middle and high school newspapers. She now writes for a handful of various online and print publications.