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A Catch Up with John Phantasm ahead of his upcoming set at the Tribal Village 4 Day Outdoor Event in Kent 6-9 May 2022!

Reported by Jessica Alici / Submitted 28-02-22 09:33

John Phantasm is a legendary name in the Psychedelic Trance scene as an artist but also for the well-established successful label he runs - Phantasm Records which has been releasing quality music since its birth in 1993! The Tribal Village 4 Day Festival in Kent from 6-9 May 2022 have been lucky enough to secure a set from John, so we thought now was a good time to catch up and see what’s what…..Smile



What is your earliest memory of music and did your childhood influence the artist you are today?

My earliest memories of music are from the car radio on family trips… Amazing 60’s music – the Beatles, Small Faces, Sandie Shaw and a million others, as well as novelty kids’ stuff like Sparky’s Magic Piano and 3 Wheels on my Wagon, and music from musicals also!


What was the first piece of music you bought and what format was it on?

The first records I remember buying for myself were vinyl 45’s - T.Rex - Ride A White Swan and nd Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Chile, he’d just died so that must have been 1970. Before that I was listening to my brothers rock records from the likes of Zeppelin, Steppenwolf and Mountain and before that Trojan reggae records like Byron Lee, Pioneers, Desmond Dekker.



Do you feel you have changed as an artist over the years?[

Of course! Music is ever evolving and there’s nothing sadder than saying right, that’s my taste - its set-in-stone forever. So as an artist you take inspiration from all kinds of music and cultures and that comes out directly or indirectly in anything creative that you do.


Do you ever suffer with writer’s block? If so, how do you manage this?

Sometimes you sit in front of your computer and an idea will start you off and it just flows from there and you get most of the ideas of the track down in one go. Other times it’s just not happening so you might as well go off and do something else - no amount of forcing it really works.



You are head honcho of the legendary label Phantasm Records which has been going for almost 30 mammoth years! What is your secret to this longevity and success?

It’s all by accident really and a lot of good luck, being in the right place at the right time with the right people. I started Phantasm with my best friend from school Simon Carman, we’d been in rock/new wave bands together since the age of 14… By the early ’90s we were messing with electronic music and Simon was an experienced studio engineer and through some other friends we met up with Mark Allen and Chrisbo who back in the day ran an extremely influential Goa party in London called Pagan, pre-dating Return To The Source. We started making music together and here we are… Around the beginning of the 2000s my eldest son John started DJing as Junya and producing as Eskimo and that gave the label a massive boost, plus I was releasing a lot of music by artists that have since become almost household names: Bliss, Mad Max, Timelock and a host of others. I suppose the short answer is keep your ears open for good music and go with your gut, not necessarily what you think is supposed to be the sound of the moment.



You were also a member of quite a few groups: Deep Bass 5, Dual Head, Filthy Beasts, Mindfield, Silver and Steel, Sundog and Temple of Dreams. What are the ups and downs of being part of an act?

Most of those projects were Simon and I working under different names to fill up our early compilations! It’s more fun to work with other people, especially traveling. You rock up to a party in another country to DJ on your own and it can be a bit solitary; it’s always more fun with your mates.


Do you every suffer with stage fright?

Yes, but there’s always alcohol.


What are your other interests apart from music?

I love movies and watch everything from trash to arthouse and everything in-between… I also love traveling, not just for gigs.


Do you feel artistry can be taught?

The short answer I think is no, but it depends on how you define artistry. You can learn any amount of technique and skills but if you don’t have that impulse to create no matter what, you can’t look up a tutorial on YouTube and learn it. People who create do it because they have to, it’s like a toothache that won’t go away. At the core of any art expression is more important than technique.


What has been a highlight of your career?

It’s a cliche but really too many to mention… playing in some of the most spectacular places in the world with some of the most spectacular people.



What has been a lowlight of your career?

Without doubt Simon dying from leukaemia in 1997. He was my best friend since school and taught me everything I know about making and performing music and is responsible for all of this really.



You’re playing at the awesome Tribal Village 4 Day Festival in Kent in May. What does this mean to you and what can people expect from your set?

It means a lot. As you pointed out I’ve been around this scene a loooong time and every few years some movers and shakers come along and give the scene a kick up the arse and keep it relevant for the kids - and not just kids - that are discovering this afresh. For a number of years Tribal Village have been one of those motivators in one of the culture capitals of the world - London. Kids (haha) like Jay are carrying the torch and passing it on. As for my set, a lot of energy and surprises!


What words of wisdom would you say to your younger self if you could?

Put your hair up in a bun and wear a crash helmet for the next 20 years x


To hear John Phantasm play at the Tribal Village 4 Day Event click here:
https://fb.me/e/6GZsRxAvl

To follow Phantasm Records on Social Media click here:
https://www.facebook.com/phantasmrecords


All images are courtesy of John Phantasm and not to be reproduced without permission.
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Other Features By Jessica Alici:
New Techno Rising Star DKLUB talks about his debut release White Rock on Onhcet Republik!
PAN expands on many things including his new album 'Hyperbolic Oxymoron' due for release on the 14th April 2022 on PsyWorld Records!
Psibindi talks all things music including her new collaborative EP 'Sentient Rays' on Aphid Records, her band Sentience Machine and 10 years of Psy-Sisters!
N-Kore talks Jean-Michel Jarre, unfinished tracks and fatherhood!
Celebrating International Women’s Day and Ten Years of Psy-Sisters with Amaluna
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.
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