Turning Points To Always Remember: An Interview with Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel
Emily | On 09, Nov 2011
I had the privilege of catching up with Sarah Barthel of Phantogram. Here’s what she had to say about Phantogram’s live shows, their new EP Nightlife, and Prince.
MUF: Thanks for joining me, Sarah. Let’s dive right in. What is your preshow ritual?
Sarah: We make sure that we get to spend a little bit of time alone. For me, my preshow ritual consists of finding a room to just kind of focus and hone in my energies getting ready for the show. The three of us do make sure we’re all set and kind of give ourselves a little talk and make sure we’re ready to go.
MUF: Who was the greatest live act you’ve ever seen?
Sarah: I just saw Portishead a couple weeks ago at All Tomorrow’s Parties. That was a phenomenal show. The sound was dead on it sounded so cool and visually they’re incredible as well. I also have to say probably everyone always says Radiohead. I saw them and they put on a beautiful, beautiful show.
MUF: What’s your favorite song to perform?
Sarah: At the moment, I think all of our favorite song to perform is this new intro song. It’s pretty badass and we love to start the show off with a big bang. Also, I think “Turning Into Stone” is one of my favorite ones and “Futuristic Casket.”
MUF: Do you ever wake up in the morning and think, “Oh my God. I’m living my wildest dreams.”
Sarah: [laughs] Yes. Last night was a big deal for us because we played Minneapolis. We got to play on the stage that Prince played and they filmed Purple Rain there so last night was one of those nights where it was hard to believe, but we were living it and we were loving it. It was a lot of fun. It was definitely one of those turning points to always remember.
MUF: Who or what inspires you most? Is Prince a part of your inspiration?
Sarah: Oh yeah definitely. I’ve been a fan of his stuff and just the way that he is, ya know, I look up to him because he’s a phenomenal songwriter and he’s just got this swagger about him that I think is pretty incredible. I mean, not that I’m going to try and mimic him at all, but I’m a big fan for sure.
MUF: I can picture you with the Prince swagger.
Sarah: Yeah, maybe I can be him for Halloween or something.
MUF: Tell me about your new EP, Nightlife.
Sarah: I think it’s a little bit more mature sound than Eyelid Movies because we had more time to focus on dynamics and other elements that we always enjoy, but never were able to fully satisfy for Eyelid Movies. That record was originally supposed to be a demo and ended up being our debut. It was something for our fans before we head back into the studio to record another full-length record which is what we will do after the tour this winter.
Be sure to check out Phantogram’s EP Nightlife and catch them on tour in Philly at Union Transfer on November 17th.