Phantods on the Rise

In the mere months since the release of their sophomore effort Creature, Phantods have solidified themselves as a Columbus-based band to watch. From their record’s inclusion on local year-end lists to an upcoming opening spot with Fitz and the Tantrums, Phantods momentous rise shows no signs of stopping. Fronted by the powerful vocals of Gretchen King, the group’s new-found anthemic pop-rock sound has found an immense local following.

In anticipation of their show at the Union on Friday, January 14 with Athens’ favorites She Bears and Blithe Field, Aquabear recently chatted with Phantods guitarist Dan Hagquist about the group’s latest release.

Aquabear: 2010 was another stellar year for music from Columbus—not the least of which was your record Creature. What about Columbus makes it a great place to create music?

Dan Hagquist: Columbus is awesome. All the different bands, artists and people here support each other. It makes it feel as though what you are doing is worthwhile. We are happy to be part of such an amazing scene.

AB: Are there any Columbus/Ohio-based groups past or present that you would cite as influences for the group?

DH: We are constantly inspired by Ohio bands and for many different reasons. When Phantods first began, Rancid Yak Butter Tea Party was an influence because they wrote really great music, put on a great live show and were unique. Silencio was a great example of being technical and artistic. Six Gallery proved that ambition can pay off. The Receiver influenced us with their ability to be a local band while sounding like a national act.Those are just a few examples. There are so many other amazing bands in Ohio that are doing great things.

AB: According to an article in Alive!, the track that proved to be your latest record’s namesake was something of a last minute addition. Can you explain what led you to decide to go back into the studio to lay down “Creature”?

DH: “Creature” was the last song written right before we went into the studio to begin recording. We had enough songs to move forward with a full-length album, but we felt like we were missing something—that we hadn’t written the song yet that was the glue of the album. When we finalized “Creature” we knew that the songwriting for the album was finally complete.

AB: Creature has much more of a pop bent to it than your previous two releases—what sent you in this direction?

DH: Early on, prior to our first album, we had written a lot of poppier songs, but as we continued to write more our sound naturally moved away from that. By the time we reached the writing of Revival we had began to reintroduce some of those pop elements. Our latest album is the refined progression from that same direction. Each album felt natural in our approach, with Creature feeling like our best representation of us to date.

AB: With the record out in the world, what’s next for Phantods? Will you be doing any national touring or making a stop at SXSW in the coming months?

DH: WORLD DOMINATION. Our next steps are to tour and network. We want to spread the music to as many people as we possibly can. Unfortunately we aren’t able to play SXSW this year but we will be sending Kenan there as our inebriated ambassador.