Phantoms is an LA native EDM/DJ duo made up of members Kyle and Vinnie. They are no strangers to being in the spotlight, as they started off as actors before pursuing musical passions. The two had met in their acting days and moved onto make music together. Although they’ve moved onto to becoming musicians, Kyle and Vinnie [of Phantoms] remain light-hearted with a good sense of humor.
Respect My Region Interviews Phantoms
*this interview was edited for clarity*
RMR: Let’s start off with your past acting careers. What was the acting industry like as a teen and why’d the both of you fall out of it?
Phantoms (Kyle): We weren’t successful; we were mid-level successful. I did a reoccurring role on Hannah Montana.
Vinne: The highlight of my career was my first job, playing Joe Peshe(?)’s son for SPC Global. It’s a funds company now.
Kyle: But you do that enough, and it’s not working out, and you gotta figure something else out. The acting days and all the people still in it that survived it, great. It kind of felt like a kid thing to do after a certain time.
Vinnie: Yea, sort of. Auditioning is not fun.
Kyle: When people get into acting, they assume it’s doing crazy [Martin] Scorsese movies, but most of the time you’re playing frat guy #3. Where your only line is, “Bro! Where’s the alcohol?”
Vinnie: And that’s from months of auditioning, so it’s not worth it. Sorry to all actors out there.
RMR: How did you guys transition from acting to making music together?
Phantoms (Vinnie): We’ve always done music together ever since teenagers, just dicking around in the garage.
Kyle: We had a terrible classic rock band that we named after a bookstore at CityWalk in Universal called Upstark Grove. I don’t remember why we did that, but we were awful. Then we discovered Justice, and we went to their show at the Fonda. Which was a 1200 capacity theatre in Los Angeles. That was the show that did it for us and made us want to do music.
RMR: You both collaborated on snap stories with Dillon Francis quite frequently. Who thought of the ideas and scripted it?
Phantoms (Kyle): We’d pretty much always have a loose idea for something. So we grew up with Dillon together back in the day, and shot some weird comedy video that he saw. Then he did music and blew up, and we weren’t blown up yet. So we decided to do some shit together, and we tried one out for the first time in Vegas. Where the plot line is about his new videographer -cause we always made fun of videographers or DJs that got too drunk- and the whole response was great and we kept doing it.
We took it as far as where one time I flew to Seattle, since this was before you could fake the geo-tags just for the bit. The amount of loose ideas we’d have, like in this one, someone’s cousin is coming who doesn’t have a neck, and we’d do it and shoot it. A lot of times we’d get drunk and forget how to end it. So by the end of the night we just come up with something to end it.
Vinnie: It was fun, snapchat was a good creative platform. Then they changed a lot of their shit and fell apart. Those were good times.
RMR: I went to your first headlining tour in Vancouver last year. How does your own headlining tour compare to these festival sets? How does it differ?
Phantoms (Vinnie): There’s a difference between our live shows and DJ sets. The live show is all of our own original music and remixes, and the DJ set is just to party and we play a couple of our own songs. It’s two different worlds that we love.
Kyle: I think that the real heart and soul of us comes from the live show. I know everybody’s doing a live show now, but that’s where we started and we feel the best doing that. It’s hard to do a live show, since everyone’s attention span now is so short, you know? Everyone wants a drop, something quick. So we can fuck with people a bit and get them to sit there longer for something awesome.
RMR: You guys have been making music for a while. What was the most challenging or lowest point in your career and how did you push through it?
Phantoms (Kyle): Early on, we went through a lawsuit with our first manager and we had no fans at the time and making no money. So, Vinnie had to get a job at a retail shop while that was happening.
Vinnie: Basically, our project was in jail.
Kyle: So we couldn’t make anything, we couldn’t release anything, and we just signed to a major label. People thought we were killing it and making money, but we were struggling at the time. I was driving for Uber then, it was awful. It was a dark time.
Vinnie: Beyond what we had to do to get through it, we couldn’t release music, and that was the absolute worst. We were in an art jail.
Kyle: But you know what came out of that? Our song “Cocaine”. We were very drunk, commiserating. We went to this Thai spot, and there was this guy with a guitar who wasn’t very good. He was playing cocaine, and we thought that would be a weird but cool song to cover. People liked the song, and that was a turnaround for sure.
RMR: On the other hand, what was the highlight of your career so far?
Phantoms (Kyle): Being the #1 song on BPM last year was pretty fucking crazy. When “Just a Feeling” took off, it was #1 on iTunes. I went down a waterslide and fucked up my neck because I was just fat and out of shape. I was sitting there and realized it was #1 everywhere. That was cool for me, what about you [Vinnie]?
Vinnie: I think “Just a Feeling” is a great song to play and see people singing along. It’s always great to look out into a crowd and see people singing your song, and it meant a lot to us.
RMR: How’d you link up with Vanessa Hudgens on the track, “Lay With Me”?
Phantoms (Kyle): We met her a long time ago in acting class, and then we ran into each other at an airport. We just talked and she wanted to make more music, and she was a big fan of ODESZA, and artists like that. She was like “I’ve been listening to you guys, let’s do something.” So we went in and tried something a little more pop than we’re used to. We spent a day in the studio and it was awesome.
Vinnie: She’s the best.
Kyle: She’s got the best personality and so bubbly.
Vinnie: She makes us look like negative degenerates because she’s just so happy and positive.
RMR: What about the lyrics in concept? Did you guys have that in mind prior? Or did she bring that to the table.
Phantoms (Kyle): “Lay With Me” was an idea that was floating around, and we wanted to write a love song. It was perfect for where she was at. She’s in a relationship right now, and she took the song and did her own thing. She crushed it.
RMR: Any tips you’d like to give to aspiring musicians or creatives that you wish you had known earlier on?
Phantoms (Kyle): Make mistakes and nothing matters.
Vinnie: Make music and put it out, don’t worry too much. Don’t sign anything stupid.
Kyle: Yea, don’t sign any bad deals. If you’re really stoked on something, don’t listen to other people’s opinions on it, because everyone’s comparing it to what’s popular now-
Vinnie: -and it’s gotta come from you.
Kyle: Even with “Just a Feeling,” I remember when that came out, people were like, “This is okay.” Then it just blew up. Nobody knows.
RMR: What’s the weirdest thing on your bucket list?
Phantoms (Kyle): To kiss Vinnie, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. I’m kind of a pilot-in-training-this sound fucked up-but if a plane goes down, I want to get in there and save the day.
Vinnie: My bucket list is being on a plane, sitting next to you [Kyle]. And you go, “This plane’s going down. I gotta save this shit.” I’m in the back, clapping like, “That’s my friend, Kyle. Saving lives!”
RMR: What’s next in terms of career goals or milestones?
Phantoms (Kyle): We have an EP coming out early next year. Two EPs as a goal. For 2018, we were just living life. Now we’re ready go be back into the zone.
Vinnie: There’s certain festivals we’d like to play.
Kyle: We’re playing Ultra this year, and that’s exciting.
Keep up with Phantoms as they put out new music in 2019 and play shows around the world!
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