One of French House’s most prolific artists and sample-dynamo, The Phantom’s Revenge, makes his debut on Montaime with the single ‘do your palms ever itch 2’. He’s played countless DJ sets across the globe and has cemented his status as a house music legend. We speak to him in this interview about the glory days of Myspace, playing in Japan and more.
Montaime: We wanted to start off this interview by saying that in recent years, you’ve started to experiment more with the footwork/juke sounds of DJ Rashad, DJ Paypal etc. What inspired you to create tracks like ‘Commercial Break #30 (audrey)’ or ‘posterizing patrick ewing’?
TPR: Mostly boredom to be honest, if you keep making 128 bpm club tracks it gets old so at some point you think what if I did this but faster or slower. I didn’t really intend to make footwork at first, I’ve never called anything I did juke but there’s no way around it for me, some samples just sound better at 160 bpm, the same way some sound better at 90 or 135. I heard once in some mix I can’t remember, what I think was an unreleased DJ Rashad remix of that old house track that I used to listen to a lot years ago, Warehouse by Funk Parlor and I thought yes this sounds way better at 160 bpm so that’s it.
Montaime: Are there any other genres of music that you’d like to experiment with in the future?
TPR: I think I’ve tried just about anything, but I don’t know, maybe some drumless stuff? Also I would like to see people sing on my stuff.
Montaime: Let’s talk about your new single with us. ‘do your palms ever itch 2’ is definitely a callback to your old production style of french house, what were your inspirations behind the track?
TPR: Alright, sorry if it’s lame, a lot of people out there with pretty stories about tracks, the way I go about it is mostly practical, so I find that sample and I think what’s the best way to use it and in that special case the best way is some vintage Phantom type beat. It’s the point most people miss about how I go about making music. I don’t know how other people work but for me it’s not like I’m like “hmm ok today I want to find some tight Alan Braxe looking sample”, I take what I can get and most of the things I got in the past years have a “only for Paul Johnson type beats” sticker on their butt.
Montaime: In the promo pack you originally sent us, there was another track that wasn’t featured as a part of this release. Do you have plans for that track or any other unreleased material in the future?
TPR: I do not have any more plans for this one track, I’m actually not sure what to do with it as I don’t think it goes with the other unreleased stuff I’ve got, so I might just release it on its own. I do have a dozen or so tracks that I still need to release and I will think about it very soon after I add a few more. But logically speaking the next thing should be a DJ DVD RIP thing.
Montaime: Our video for your new single is a homage to the glory days of Myspace, do you have any detailed memories about the platform?
TPR: Early Myspace was the best. To be honest I don’t think I would have gotten anywhere without it. It was the best concept, the customized pages man, the french dudes had the best ones, Mr. Oizo, Kavinsky, Surkin. I had to learn HTML just for Myspace, my page looked like garbage next to those but I liked it anyway. I remember the day Justice uploaded the entire Cross album and I was like damn how did they upload more than 4 tracks, I think I listened to ‘tthhee ppaarrttyy’ 15 times that day, which is nothing compared to the number of times I went on Mr. Oizo’s page to listen to ‘Patrick 122’, I was like dude – a good sample with some bullshit nonsense on it, THIS IS IT. The top friends thing was really weird when you think about it now, like there was a thing to display who were your fave dudes on the website but it looked cool to be on some famous dudes page.
Montaime: Do you think that Myspace would still be relevant if it wasn’t for the likes of SoundCloud?
TPR: Myspace really had anything you needed: an inbox, personalized theme, event calendar, comment section and a music player. I think they sabotaged themselves with crap updates sadly to the point where everyone just decided to jump on SoundCloud + Twitter, after that it just made more sense to tweet about individual tracks rather than about a whole Myspace page, but again at some point it became a huge pain to update, they got rid of most of the customization things it was just useless.
Montaime: Whenever you release a new track or EP after occasional breaks, some fans claim that you’ve ‘disappeared’ and have finally ‘returned’ to making music. Do you feel like your new material is a brand new ‘return’ to the project, or is it rather a continuing evolution of your previous works?
TPR: It all comes down to communication and visibility, I never stopped for a month working on music since I started about 10 years ago, so it’s never a return, it’s just the way people see it. I don’t post a lot, I’m hardcore picky about what I release since a few years, most of the time after I do release something I feel like a few tweets is enough, I don’t pay for PR either so the regular dude who doesn’t spend his life on the internet like us might miss things. I’m not sure but the ridiculous amount of music released each day has convinced most people that everyone needs to release stuff every 2 weeks or something.
Montaime: Can you give us three tracks that you have on constant rotation?
TPR: I don’t know if you mean right now or forever so I’ll just give you the 3 tracks I probably have listened to the most in the past few years, these are my emotional support songs I can’t live without:
Montaime: In 2019, you played a set in Tokyo, Japan – what was your experience like out there?
TPR: Look, I had like 2 dream places when I started doing this thing and it was New York and Tokyo. It took one year for NY but took 10 for Tokyo, so the day it was confirmed it was like Trezeguet’s golden goal against Italy in the 2000 Euro Cup final. Whole thing was amazing, life changing experience type beat, best food, best people, best music and you never feel like you’re gonna get stabbed in the subway which is a plus, feel like pure shit just want her back jpeg type experience, hope I can make it back soon.
Montaime: This is the final question. We saved the best for last. It’s a new decade, with it being 2020 and all, so will you finally ride The Phantom’s Revenge roller coaster at Kennywood, just so you can be The Phantom’s Revenge on The Phantom’s Revenge? (we know that it’s not really possible at the moment, but in the near future, hopefully?)
TPR: You picked the wrong year to ask this but who knows, it has to happen someday.
‘do your palms ever itch 2’ is out now.
This interview was written and conducted by Louis Chant, you can follow him here.