Brooklyn's Phantom Wave, pioneers of the shoegaze scene, emerged with their debut EP "Sixer" in 2018. After the success of their LP "Wilds" in 2021, they expanded their lineup with bassist Yanek Che. Despite setbacks like a two-month hiatus due to a fire, they're back stronger with their sophomore album "Bonfire Secrets." This record challenges the genre's norms, blending nostalgic fuzz with percussive clarity and multilayered textures. Engineered by Rowan Brind, mixed by Elliot Frazier of Ringo Deathstarr, and mastered by Adrian Morgan, "Bonfire Secrets" drops April 2024 via Pleasure Tapes. Expect another release within a year. Catch Phantom Wave at the New Colossus Festival in NYC this March, followed by a northeast tour.


How did the band form and what does the band name mean? 

R: Phantom Wave formed in 2018 when Rachel and Ian met through a Craigslist ad! We played with two bassists between then and 2020 when COVID put things to a halt. That’s when we met Yan, also through an online platform. There are so many musicians in NYC but that makes it so difficult to meet ones who have a shared vision and interest, so the internet has done wonders for us. 

Y: After hearing Phantom Wave's record, I was inspired to collaborate with them and explore what we could create together.

I: The band name is inspired by the sound we make - a huge crashing wave of sound that is flexible, moving.

Previous musical projects? How'd you first get into music? 

Y: My journey in music began quite early, thanks to my mom and aunt, both of whom were trained musicians. I remember being inspired to pick up the guitar at 13, right after a friend played Nirvana's "Love Buzz." I've played in a few bands, explored different genres and styles, and also ventured into recording my solo material. One notable project was Stereobird, a post-rock instrumental band where I played guitar.

R: I began playing drums when I was 15 years old with my friends in the neighborhood. We had an all girl pop punk band and played local shows. I also played bass in a squat house based punk band when I was older before taking a hiatus from music, and then joined Phantom Wave. 

I:I played in a few projects before. The 3 main ones were slowcore, folk rock, and an indie rock band before that had some shoegazeish elements. All based in NYC and we did some shows outside NYC. I've personally been playing guitar since my teens, a friend had a guitar that I just noodled on and it went from there. 


First concert that you ever went to?

R: Everclear… haha. 

I: A long time ago when I was a kid a Beethoven recital and also The Mighty Sparrow - the calypso king! In my teens George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Grateful Dead, The Cure, lots or rock. 

Y: I don’t quite remember, it was some local band in my town. 

What's your writing process like? 

R: Our writing process is very collaborative and best described like free association. We jam together and see where it goes. If something sounds good and seems to fit the vibe we will try to record the first attempt, then think on it, and mold it into a structure over a few weeks. 

Y: We start with a riff, jam it out for hours, and by the next practice, it's evolved into a new song. It's all about that raw, in-the-moment creation.

I: Yup


What other artists or songs inspire your music? 

R: Well, safe to say we are inspired by other shoegaze artists! From a rhythm perspective I like songs that have catchy and interesting drum parts but that also have emotional energy behind them. Some of my drum inspirations come from Airiel - In Your Room, Drop Ninteens - Kick the Tragedy, Blankenberge - Look Around, Chapterhouse - Pearl, Ringo Deathstarr - Tambourine Girl. 

I: Yeah those bands are good! I like Nothing, Slowdive, Ride, Death of Heather too.

Y: The sound of Cocteau Twins continually influences my musical style. Alex from Ringo Deathstarr's bass lines influenced my bass on a few songs from our upcoming LP, "Bonfire Secrets." While working on "First Light," I’ve listened to Pinkshinyultrablast a lot. Their sound influenced the song.


What's the live experience like and your philosophy on playing live? Do you think the music live should be identical to the recorded version or should it be it's own thing? 

Y: Our live shows are about having fun and playing our best while feeling cool.

R: Live is definitely not note to note identical to the recorded version, mainly because we wanted to take advantage of all the studio had to offer us creatively, but in my opinion there’s no point in recording a song that doesn’t already sound good live! Our live music is nuanced and balanced. It carries both an energy and seamless flow that I personally love. 


Has the band toured? What has the touring experience been?

R: We have NOT… but we WILL! 

What's up next for the band? 

I: More songs, more shows, more albums and world domination ;) 

R: See above… we will definitely be getting out of NYC soon! 

Y: We're focused on creativity and keeping the momentum going. 

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