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Interview with The Phantom Rockets
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Well, music runs in the family since the day I was born, my dad is a huge vinyl collector and for all my life I had the luck of being surrounded by music, I’ve been at my first concert when I was I think 8 or 9 years old and that was the trigger for me to decide that I wanted to play my music.
My job is also quite related to music because I work in the merchandising industry so it always brings me close to bands, labels and agencies
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love riding mountain bikes, mostly downhill mountain biking and related stuff. I mean, when I’m out in the woods riding my bike I feel free. It really feels like I’m living the moment. You have to be 100% focused ‘cause the risk is way too high and you can’t get distracted. That doesn’t really link to music, it’s just something I love to do and which has nothing to do with music. I also love watching movies and reading books, I mean I’m not a big reader because I go by periods. Sometimes I read a lot and sometimes I realize I don’t read books for weeks or months but yeah, certain movies and books give me inspiration for our music.
How long has your band been around?
We started the band in 2020 as a duo.Stefano on vocals and guitars and me on the drums, then, as a natural evolution of our sound we decided to add a bass player to the band (Alberto) in order to be able to go from a “power duo” reality to something more like a “band act” and our new music coming out soon is the proof that this choice was the right one for the sound we aim to have now.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I think that by listening to our music, you can tell there’s a lot of classic Americana/Rock with some punk-rock influences here and there, so maybe our influence in music doesn’t come from where we live but from what we’ve always listened to.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
As you can tell by listening to our first singles and lookin at the artworks we’ve always been fascinated by space, sci-fi and stuff like that so, the phantom (or ghost) rockets were unidentified objects spotted during WWII and today we still don’t know if those were meteors or long range missile tests. That kind of mystery, that sort of mutable identity is what I think is more related to us as a band, because you can look at us as a punk rock band or either as a heartland rock trio and that absolutely fits us in both ways.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
It’s hard to tell ‘cause each show has its own mood. They’re all different, you know.. For sure the most memorable ones are the ones where you have a lot of people in front of you and they have fun. Also, when you play in front of people who don’t know you and you can see that, song after song, they get closer to the stage. That’s when you realize you’re making a connection with audience and that’s great. There are shows where you play in front of the bartenders and those are memorable too, in a different way though haha.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
We all come from different realities in music and year after year we had all different kind of live shows, we played small and big clubs, we also played at festivals and stuff. What makes our music “real” is obviously the gig, I personally love club shows cause you can feel the people, you can see their eyes and look closely to their reactions, spot what’s their favorite song and stuff like that, so if I have to choose, I say clubs! But well, obviously as long as there’s a stage with people there for your music, it’s always gonna be good!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
That’s a good one but also a very tough one!!
If I have to say what’s the dream-gig for me, I’d say obviously Bruce Springsteen on top! He’s more than a religion in my family and its fame comes first so I don’t think I even have to tell you why haha!
I recently saw Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls live and the energy he has on stage, the power of his music and the way he interacts with the fans is absolutely amazing, furthermore I think his music is well related to ours so I think that I’d really love to share the stage with him.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Do it with all the passion you have but most of all, HAVE FUN, that’s the most important thing for me and I think I’d give the same advice to my younger self of course
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
I think I’m ok with all I’ve done in music, I had highs and lows as anyone of course but I always had the time of my life and I always played music for the passion I have, never for “fashion” or because someone told me to do it.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Oh you can’t ask me to pick one haha, every song gives me different feelings and everyone of them is important to me
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I think Come Undone it’s the one who puts me and the audience together, it’s our latest single, the first with Alberto in the band and with our new sound and I love to play it because of all the different moods the song has, so for me it’s the perfect match.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I was raised with music. I used to spend hours on my mother’s records as a kid and I started “writing songs” really early. We’re talking of stuff that wouldn’t really make me proud right now hahah. So ya, I’ve always been inspired by what I used to listen and of course, as a kid, you see these guys, on a stage, standing in front of thousands and thousands of people and you’re like: “ok, I wanna do that too”.As of our creative process, we don’t have a specific one or a guideline. It might happen that, while we’re together, an idea comes up and turns out to be a song or I write a song and then I bring it to the table.. It just depends, you can sit down for days and try to write a song that will never come or strum a few chords and be inspired and write one in 10 mins or so.. We’re not one of those bands that write 30 songs and just keep 10-11.. we only keep what we really like.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I like to write things so that other people can relate to. Whether I’m writing something personal or somebody else’s story, I always do it in a way where another person can feel what I’m saying, relate to it.. we’re not a politicized nor religious band so our message can vary from song to song. Our songs are about life, stories, emotions but what I like is to write stuff so that each person can interpretate it in their own way.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Of course we do! But our mission is what brings us together every time. If we have “disagreements” in the band it’s always about a song or a decision regarding something that we have to do as a band, so in both ways we aim to have the best result for all of us and for our music. We look at all the options we have and then we decide what’s best for us and for the band.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Our plan is to release our EP “Come Undone” real soon and to hit as many stages as possible to bring our new music to as many people as possible.