Barrelling through the doom and gloom of 2020 at a blistering 130bpm, London based New Wave outfit PHANTOM ISLE unveil their immensely danceable new single, ‘MAR V’ – out Wednesday 8th July.

Consisting of hypnotic synth lines, goosebump-inducing rhythm and a hint of dark and mysterious atmosphere, ‘MAR V’ sees Phantom Isle stray from their art-pop roots with great success; highlighting their effortless capability to blend genres and moods for maximum effect – think LCD Soundsystem/Hot Chip style indie-house.

We got a chance to ask Phantom Isle drummer Sam Thorne some questions, here’s what he had to say.

How did you all meet?

“We all grew up in & around Northampton, with 4 of the 5 original members going to the same school. I myself met the Marchant brothers: Peter & Matt through explorer scouts, at which point we were in separate bands, but bonded over a love of music. We formed Phantom Isle in early 2017, after recruiting Josh on keyboards. After Matt was tragically diagnosed with a brain tumour, we brought in Jonny to take over on the bass. The plan was for Matt to re-join after recovery, but he sadly passed away due to his illness last year”.

Who were your musical influences growing up?

“Each band member has their own wide range of influences, all of which play some small part in making our sound what it is. We were all exposed to ‘The Stranglers’ from a young age, which is still a definite influence for us. As well as David Bowie, Queen, Led Zeppelin, all the greats… Combine that with some of our newer influences, such as Air, MGMT & Aphex Twin, and you’ll a pretty good idea of where we’re coming from”.

What made you want to be in a band?

“I had been jamming with friends from an early age, and was in my first band at the age of 12. As I grew older, more and more of my time was dedicated to music, and less of my time to studying other subjects. By the time I was 16, music seemed like the only available option and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else now. Not to mention the excitement & adrenaline we all get from playing to a room full of people”.

What has been your best gig?

“I think me and the guys can all agree that our best gig so far would have to be when we headlined at the Kulturzentrum KFZ in Marburg, Germany. We were over there for 5 days to play 4 shows at their ‘MaNo’ music festival, and the final night must have been the biggest show we’ve played as a band so far! They had to stop letting people in as the room was fit to burst, but you could feel the energy in the air. 1000 people all dancing and singing to our songs, it didn’t seem real!”

Can you tell us a bit about your music?

“We recently launched our newest single, ‘Mar V’ on the 8th of July, and this track marks abit of a musical turning point for us as a band. We’re moving away from the guitar & drum driven ‘Indie-rock’ towards a much more electronic sound, sort of like ‘New-wave’ crossed with Electro & punk. We want people to dance. Previously, we were focusing on standard song structures, which doesn’t necessarily lend itself to ‘danceability’, so we flipped it on his head, and decided to try something different that builds and releases”.

Can you describe your music in 3 words?

“Diverse, effervescent, hallucination”.

What makes your band stand out from others?

“I would say the wide range of influences plays a big part here. We’ve taken elements of the early 2000’s indie-rock bands, full of chaotic energy, and smashed it together with 70’s electro and new-wave, to form a strange chimera of catchy vocal hooks, soaring guitars, mesmerizing synths, and a driving rhythm section”.

What are your plans for the rest of 2020?

“After releasing our new single, ‘Mar V,’ we have at least 3 more singles in the pipeline, already recorded. We’ll be staggering the releases over the course of the next 9 months, and will most likely release the 4th single as part of an EP next year, featuring the 3 singles released prior. Apart from that, we’ll be holding onto our sanity as best we can, praying for an end to lockdown”.

If your band had to be remembered for one thing apart from your music what would you want it to be?

“I like to think we’d be remembered for Matt, Peter’s brother. As one of the founding members, he will always be a part of us. He was such a driving force behind the band, and his quick thinking and silver tongue got us out of many sticky situations in times past. Everything we do now, we do it for him, and we’ve never been more motivated”.

Any gig’s coming up?

“Unfortunately, that’s a big no. We’re waiting with baited breath to find out when we might be allowed to start thinking about gigging again, but for now we’re working hard on making sure we can explode out of the gate as soon as the restrictions are off!”

By Siân Parker