Jeff Burling From Phantom Atlantic Talks Music Video For “Beneath Your Moment”, Songwriting and What’s Next

Kat Harlton

Since hitting the Toronto music scene in 2017, Phantom Atlantic have been making waves. With their unique blend of driving alt-rock and ambient post-rock, explosive live performances, and growing devoted fan base, the band have quickly earned a reputation as “one to watch” (Indie Week). Members Kyle Brunet (vocals/guitar), Ryan Stam (guitar/keys), Jeff Burling (bass), and Ken Grisé (drums) have an appetite for being on stage that is insatiable. The past year alone has seen them tour Ontario and Quebec, appear at festivals Canadian Music Week and Indie Week, and provide support for notable acts like Wang Chung, Cutting Crew, and multi-platinum Irish arena rockers The Coronas. Released in summer 2018, Phantom Atlantic’s first single “Lessons” received airplay on active rock stations across the country. It also garnered support from Toronto radio icon Alan Cross and Spotify, where it was included on the Ready to Rock playlist. Their follow-up single “Beneath Your Moment” is available now on all digital platforms.

We had the opportunity to chat with the band about their new music video, songwriting and what’s next.

Kat: Can you tell us a little bit about Phantom Atlantic?

Jeff: We’re a Toronto-based group with a sound that fuses together alt-rock rhythms and post-rock textures. We originally formed in 2015 through a series of mutual connections: our lead singer Kyle and guitarist Ryan are high school friends who had always planned to start a project, and Ken and I are college buddies who have been in various bands together. From our first jam, we all had really good chemistry early on despite having a pretty wide range of influences. I grew up listening to a lot of metal and its various sub-genres. Ryan is more into the alt-rock scene, especially bands like Coldplay, Radiohead, and Muse. Kyle has a great ear for production so his tastes are all over the map, and it’s not surprising he’s the most up to speed with a lot of current pop and hip hop. And Ken, while also into metal, really came into his own listening to punk and some great emo bands. With that in mind, it’s actually pretty surprising how much we manage to agree on while crafting a song. At the end of the day, though, we’re always just doing our best to make songs that thoughtfully express our shared philosophical viewpoints on life.

Kat: You recently released a music video ‘Beneath Your Moment’. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the track, and how if any, that influenced or inspired the music video?

Jeff: “Beneath Your Moment” came out of a series of writing sessions where we found ourselves gravitating towards some darker ideas. From there, it felt natural to write a track that explored a mooder, more atmospheric sound than our previous single “Lessons.” We all feel we found a new emotional depth in our songwriting that fit really well with the themes of obsession, compulsion and desire Kyle grapples with in his lyrics. Building from those themes, we decided to make a narrative music video about a character trapped in a loop of self-destruction; it’s a cycle that be wants out but needs to remain in at the same time. The video was our first, and luckily we’re very happy with the result. In fact, it was Ryan’s directorial debut while Kyle handled the filming, editing and post work. We’re really lucky to have such multi-talented guys in the group.

Kat: Can you talk about the band’s songwriting process?

Jeff: We’re very inclusive in our writing and tend to make most of our decisions on direction, arrangement and composition collaboratively. But we try not to box ourselves in with one set mode of writing. Some of our songs started off with a riff being jammed in rehearsal that was interesting enough for someone to pull out their phone and record it. It’s also common, though, that someone brings an idea or a more fully arranged piece of music for the group to then tackle as a whole. Really just finding what works, discarding what doesn’t, and then meticulously combing through every part until it’s right is the closest thing to a “process” for us.

Kat: Who would the band like to do a collaboration with?

Jeff: I think someday we would all be stoked to sit in a room and get a feel for how Radiohead puts together a song.

Kat: What’s on your playlist?

Jeff: The Contortionist as of late and most recently I discovered Allegaeon. Their latest album Apoptosis is pretty crazy.

Ryan: Cleopatrick’s single Sanjake, the Billie Eilish album, and the latest Nothing But Thieves EP What Did You Think When You Made Me This Way, which is the definition of all killer no filler.

Kyle: Sade, Myles Davis & Radiohead

Ken: Broken Record, the podcast hosted by Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, and Bruce Headlam.

Kat: What’s next?

Jeff: We’ll be playing a handful of shows across Ontario and Quebec this summer and we’re currently writing and tracking songs for our next EP. We really wanted to take our time with the music this time around and so far it feels like it’s paying off, so fingers crossed!

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