Talking Beats and Big Boi with Sarah Barthel of Phantogram



Beat making is one of the unadulterated pleasures of music. One sample can provide umpteen hours on the Ableton, tweaking and tuning, until it’s a completely new sound. Making new music can be a laborious process, from lyrics to composition, it’s a lot to sort out and many artists dutifully rely on producers to churn out a hot beat they can write to.

Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel of Phantogram do it all in-house (well, in a few barns actually), and the sound they produce is unlike anything else right now. It’s always tough to describe someone’s music – is it part-trip-hop? Alt-rock? Psych-pop? The brilliant thing about Phantogram’s sound is that it is contains so many layers. Perhaps then, it would be best to label Phantogram’s music, simply, as the future.

Josh, the beat maker, seems to be dipping into a plethora of genres and the result is something heavy, yet dreamy. Their album “Eyelid Movies” is a sonic homage to Yes, Bowie and J.Dilla. Hip hop has had a big influence on the band and their three tracks on Big Boi’s “Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors” has further solidified the fact that their sound is trans-genre.

We interviewed Sarah about the collaboration between Phantogram and Big Boi and her whole being lit up, as she described meeting and working with one of her idols. Big Boi also described the experience to MTV Hive.

Soon, Phantogram will be launched further into the consciousness of the masses, as their song “Lights” will be featured in Catching Fire, the second in the Hunger Games trilogy, released on November 22nd which people are probably already lined up to see.

No matter the level of success they reach, it seems the duo’s feet will remain firmly attached to the ground. Currently on tour, Sarah remembers driving all day to gigs, and sleeping in their car after the show. It’s this kind of dedication and hard work that brings reward and Phantogram is still working hard.

When your idol says how much they love your music, that’s a big realization, wow, we’re doing something right.