A steady agenda
Phantoms just have a good feeling about where they’re headed and rightfully so. The Los Angeles-based electronic dance music duo consists of Kyle Kaplan and Vinnie Pergola, two hilarious best friends and former child actors, who took their messing around with sound and turned it into a serious career very quickly.
In 2017, the guys released their self-titled debut album. Their single off that project, “Just a Feeling”, received high praise as it placed on the Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart in spot number 40.
The best way to explain their music is honestly enchanting dance music. You can’t help but move when you hear the hypnotic beats that these two construct together, with Vinny’s drumming skills and Kyle’s melodies on the keys, the two really know how to cross-pollinate the vocals they collaborate with their productions. Their most recent release was their single “Agenda” with singer & songwriter Nicole Millar. Listen to it HERE. Their music is magical and somewhat alien, but it plays to the crowd that wants to fall into a trance and just dance their worries away.
Check out their music below:
I had a chance to chat with the pair post their performance at the Billboard Hot 100 Festival this summer, and we had a great time talking about how they got into the whole genesis of Phantoms.
The two met when they were 16 and began making some music together, but at the time they admit it wasn’t all that good. It wasn’t until they started exploring the world of electronic music that they found their sound.
“We got really into electronic when we saw Justice, DJ Mehdi and Juggernaut…It was kind of like the electrohouse days”, explains Kyle. He continues, “Vinny’s a drummer and his dad played in a lot of funk groups. My uncle used to play with Michael Jackson back in the day…We wanted to get that funk vibe into it [the sound] and that pop and electronic so it’s kind of like a [melange].”
After having so many tracks produced and written in their time as artists, I wanted to ask which track they felt is their favorite. Vinny chimes in, “I think ‘Just a Feeling’ is the one we kind of go to, the one we released last year. There’s a couple coming out that we’re really excited about…We have a song coming out with Vanessa Hudgens that we’re really excited about… and what we ended up making ended up being one of our favorite songs. That’ll be out sometime in September”. Definitely something for fans to look forward to!
I was curios to know as it seemed that the two came from a pretty connected background, how much of that had to do with being from LA, aka LaLa Land. Kyle begins to clarify “I don’t know if it was necessarily an advantage, but it definitely helped you learn ’bout the industry”.
Vinny further elaborated, “it helps you grow up fast, ‘cuz we were using faking IDs to get into Dim Mak Tuesdays back in the day, Daft Punk Play [and others] we were really there with all these adults, and we really didn’t get the fun I don’t think, it’s not even a complaint! It’s just a different way of growing up.”
“We grew younger and now we’re 50 year old men, now we’re in our 60’s” Kyle jests.
I asked about the experience of being on the Billboard line up and what that has been like to which Kyle says, “they’ve been extremely supportive of us in the past few years, it’s an amazing line up and an amazing group to be a part of.” In that same vein, I was curious to know who these dudes looked up to as mentors in this massive industry of electro-dance music. “A good friend Dillon Francis has always taken us under his wing a lot…but very early on James Ford used to help us out with stupid shit…That guy’s a wizard, he produced so many records. He’s such a hero and for him to take the time to email us back for our stupid questions meant a lot. But you have to start somewhere and figure it out”.
I asked Phantoms if they could give their music a spirit animal, what would it be, and their response was in fact, not a ghost, but instead a Golden Retriever on cocaine, then they revised it to a German Sheppard on cocaine because is it “more conniving but too amped up…I don’t know, I just like the vision of a dog on drugs”.
If the guys could collaborate with any artist, they said that there’s really a lot of people they would be down to work with, but at the moment they have been giant Ariana Grande fans, and would think it would be cool to have a song done with her.
They admit that a lot of times, it can be really intimidating finding an artist who can fit with their vibe but they love the process when it does all work out and it becomes an effortless task leading to a great new record.
My favorite question to ask acts of more than one person is “what’s the best part of being a duo, and the two looked at one another and then Kyle began “definitely the ability to bounce ideas off each other”. Vinny nods his head. “I feel bad for people that are solo, not that it’s bad, but it’s harder ‘cuz it’s kind of all on you to make decisions… and I know that I can bounce an idea off of Kyle and if he’s not fully interested or if he loves it. I know that it’s a strong idea, I know we can move forward with it”.
Kyle says, “It’s the back and forth.
Vinny agrees, “ya, the back and forth… but we have a really good working relationship together like that”. Kyle adds, “even for traveling experiences we go through everything together and there are sometimes when one of us is not feeling it you know the other person will be there to cheer you up, I think I do way more of the bitching in our relationship…” The creative process is also just as fluid for them, bouncing of ideas from each other. “We create a beat and one other person writes the song… if there’s more people the idea gets weird sometimes”, so they like to keep it small and intimate when they can. Ideas also come to them for all over the place, including his walks to Starbucks (s/o to Starbucks!).
In a quick visualized snapshot, Kyle’s ideal summer day would take place in Puerto Vallarta. He goes on, “it’s 89/90 degrees and you’re on the beach, someone is coming with a Mai Tai, you’re on Miami Beach, on a jet ski looking at all of the hotels”. Vinny jumps in to complete the story saying “maybe a little drunk…? Even though you’re not supposed to be drunk when you jet ski, but let’s say it’s ok… you won’t hit anything out there. But don’t try it.”
Now, on the topic of touring, I asked the guys if they could choose a space between the studio or performing where would they choose, they unanimously agreed it would be performing. Kyle admits “my favorite thing about performing is the pay off. It’s like everything that you worked on in the studio you get to see if it live and if it connects or not”. He goes on, “and it works both ways. Sometimes you play a song and you’re like ‘shit this is not working’ but when you’re performing and it does connect, there’s no better feeling than that”. Vinny reflects back and tells me how their favorite memory performing would have to be at the BFD Festival, which was their first real festival show.
Their favorite tour food totally shocked me as I have never heard of such a thing, but Phantoms loves the Paella tent at Coachella! And just to follow in suit with that, their dream place to perform would be Coachella. “It’s been such a part of our life growing up and if you made it there, you made it anywhere” Kyle points out.
Lastly, if the guys could describe each other, Vinny said Kyle would be “Twizzled” and Kyle said Vinny would be “Rizzled”. Total soulmates.
It was a blast chatting with these guys and getting to know more behind the music. It was especially a great way for me to end the day at Billboard Fest as they were my last interview! Be on the lookout because Phantoms will be popping up all over your playlists probably very soon. On that intensely humid day, the guys could only say that they’re #OnTheVerge of passing out from the amount of Titos they drank and the lack of water they drank and #OnTheVerge of a headache.