Phantom Electric

Tell us your real names, country of birth and childhood experience.

Phantom Electric is an American Rock band based in Atlanta GA comprised of Nick Whitson, Daniel Draddy, Peter Norman, Matthew Pendrick, and at times other Atlanta-based artists such as Sean and Sami Michelsen, Isaac London, Ben Davidow, and Kristofer Sampson. The different members of the band hail from across the United States as far South as Florida and as far West as California. Everyone involved in Phantom Electric began playing music at a young age, forming some of their first bands, recording albums and performing at a range of venues. As time passed, the band linked up in the old East Atlanta neighborhoods in the Summer of 2015 to record their first release.

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Tell us your academic qualification. 

Most of the members of Phantom Electric have had some colleges experience, some members with multiple degrees and certifications in Audio Engineering, Literature & Writing, Public Relations & Management, Computer Programming, etc.

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Tell us about your music career, band name, musical background, experience and skills.

The members of Phantom Electric have a diverse background in music. Many of them were session players, writing and performing with a multitude of Atlanta-based artists touring throughout the United States; the members of Phantom Electric have also worked as engineers and producers for various projects. The band name Phantom Electric was first realized between Nick Whitson and Sean Michelsen while living on a rural farm recording an album for another project they were recording back in 2013. For the next 2 years Nick began collecting demos and scrapped sessions from his other work. Fast forward to the Summer of 2015, Nick Whitson – with the help of Kristofer Sampson – rallies together Daniel Draddy, Peter Norman, Sean Michelsen, Matthew Pendrick, Sami Michelsen, and Isaac London to record the first installment of Phantom Electric tunes titled, “Friends,” a 13 minute Double-A.

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Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music video and the song. 

Phantom Electric draws its musical roots from many places – rock, county, soul, jazz, etc. The key factor in all the sound is – ‘it’s all about the song’. As it pertains to the two tracks that make up their debut release, “Friends,” it was all recorded live. Phantom Electric had never actually played together before recording these songs. It was completely organic. Everyone showed up, Nick played through the songs on his electric guitar as it was originally written, and together they created the sound of Phantom Electric in one night. Moving between moody space rock, and dream pop as one might say, and raw alternative american rock, Phantom Electric wrestled the spirit into the sound. The music video was filmed by Sami Michelsen, who capture the session as “Friends” was being written and produced. The intention was to capture the raw moment and the process, as most of the lyrics in “Friends” were inspired by the relationships between the band members.

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Tell us how to run a record label independently and successfully based on your experience as an artist. 

Get to know your artist. Artists need to educate themselves on how the Music Industry came to be as it relates to the Record Industry. Artists should educate themselves in business and maybe a little financing too. Also how to formulate a business plan and how to do constructive research and marketing. A label should be highly selective about artists and who they invest in. More focus should be on creating a sustainable business plan for an artist, incorporating a well matched booking agent, and business manager or artist manager, depending on what is more appropriate for the situation. There should also be more emphasis on planning and pipe-lining. At the core, it still comes down to the artist, how hard they are willing to work, can they take constructive criticism, and will they educate themselves accordingly.

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Tell us how you are promoting your music. 

Radio and press campaigns. Individual mailers. Playlists. Direct email marketing. Licensing. Limited performances. Network promotion.

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Tell us what makes you happy and what makes you sad. 

Happy – Writing music and good people.

Sad – World Hunger.

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Explain clearly the story or concept behind the song.

“The song, “Friends,” is a take on one’s character, looking in the mirror, recognizing and accepting your own responsibility and truth. I wanted to address overcoming your own mind to become aware of all things around you and your impact and influence on others in life; reflecting on past decisions against my better judgment, and had to leave a lot of people and places behind. It was a lot of ‘taking back my life,’ and posturing. I was in need of reorienting myself and finding a new direction to lead. As far, as when the song was written it was the end of Summer 2014, I was alone in a basement with my acoustic guitar, everything was weighing heavily on me, a lot of opportunities weren’t working out and a lot of plans were falling apart. I was also thinking a lot about my relationships with my close friends, everyone at the time was cool with me and glad I was back – I had moved away for some time, stopped working with certain people, disassociated myself – but everyone had a chip on their shoulder about it, or had issues to sort out amongst themselves. That’s where the chorus of “Friends” really stemmed from… ‘Oh my friend, what troubles you?’ There was a lot of backbiting going on at the time: pride, arrogance, deceit, manipulation, greed, self-righteousness—you can kind of pick up where I talk about those little ‘sins’ in the verses. In my mind I was kind of calling everyone out. When I first started showing to people, it was a simple song then, but it always really resonated with whoever was listening. I think there is a real spirit in the soul of that song “Friends” that people really identify with, maybe it’s the story of the human struggle and the things we’re willing to do to get by, and the beauty of being able to still love the people you struggle with.” – Nick Whitson, Phantom Electric.

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List the radio stations, TV stations and blogs that have aired or featured your new song.

Earbuddy premiered “Friends” just before the release in October 2017. Immersive premiered the video shortly after in the beginning of October. 99x Atlanta, premiered the song on Radio in November. “Feels,” the B-side, was premiered by PopMatters and Magnet Magazine. Nooga/Notes From Left of the Dial, also wrote about “Friends”. Phantom Electric was interviewed by Sound Connector and Vents Magazine.

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Give us links to where the song can be purchased. 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/ artist/phantom-electric/ 1293423833

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Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew or music video director, how the song was recorded and how the music video was shot. 

Kristofer Sampson, engineered “Friends” and played a critical role in the production of the recording. His presence in a session brings a calm and reflective vibe to the group, that nearly always focuses on the song at its core. “Friends” was all shot by Sami Michelsen and edited by Nick Whitson and Daniel Draddy.

Peter Norman and Nick Whitson met while working with Atlanta singer-songwriter Sara Rachele, turns out they were neighbors at the time, and began working together in 2014. Matthew Pendrick, a very active artist in the East Atlanta folk scene, became friends with Nick Whitson in 2014 while playing various gigs together when they both happened to be in town. Nick and Matt became roommates in Spring 2015 prior to recording “Friends”. Daniel Draddy and Nick Whitson had been playing gigs together for 6 years at this point, mostly work for hire. Daniel and Nick had also previously recorded two albums during that time that were never released. Nick Whitson had worked with Sean and Sami Michelsen since they were in high school, the trio had release several single, eps, and full length under various band names, finding some commercial success with their band Alchemy. The three of them also lived and worked together in producing other bands and singer-songwriters in the Atlanta music scene.

“Friends”, the song was written by Nick, alone in a basement on the acoustic guitar. The song was loosely worked a little here and there in a jam setting until Winter 2015 when Nick Whitson recorded a full band demo with Kris Sampson, one of Atlanta’s best rock engineers. The pair had been working on several other recordings for other Atlanta artists until then. Nick then compiled some demos and began rehearsing with longtime friend and drummer Daniel Draddy. For a few weeks in the early Summer of 2015 Nick’s roommate Matthew Pendrick (Slow Parade) and Peter Norman played around with a couple songs including “Friends”. Nick and Kris decided that the songs should be recorded live with video. Nick brought in longtime collaborators Sean Michelsen on bass and Sami Michelsen to capture the video footage. And in the Summer of 2015 they picked out a night to all meet up, all together for the first time, and record two songs. Nick spent two days prepping the space and building the set. As everyone trickled in during the day we slowly set up the audio equipment and spent a serious amount of time nurturing the creative energy and vibe in the space and amongst the group, it really felt like house party at points. What was really interesting was that nearly everything that had been previously discussed or rehearsed between particular members went out the window. We were starting from ground zero in a way, and that made all the difference in the world. Giving all the space back to song allowed everyone to find free space to create something dynamic and organic. It was like we were all in the room painting a giant picture together, figuring it out as we went along, until we got the final take that we all really loved.

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Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goal. 

The various members of Phantom Electric have been working in the Music Industry respectively between 10-20 years. As stated earlier, their collective work has been ranges – songwriters, producers, session-musician, engineers, vocal producers, production, booking, project management, performing. Future goals would include bigger stages, bigger tours, and more fans. At our core we all love the writing process the most; we would love to work with a publisher in creating opportunities that afford us more time to write music for the world to hear.

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Tell us what makes you unique from others. 

We’re a band of songwriters, we do our best to push the envelope in creating dynamic soundscapes that compliment any song at its core, and we aren’t afraid to use any sound to achieve that.

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Tell us your weakness and strength pertaining music. 

Weakness – Although we have worked together in various ways for years, Phantom Electric as a sound is still very new and unexplored, we have much to discover.

Strength – Our community, we came together because we love and respect each other’s skills and talent. That core belief and feeling really influence the music, and you can tell when you sit in a session with the band, it’s where the vibe really grows from, that respect and open energy we believe is reflective in the music.

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List your five favourite songs including the artists.

Pink Floyd – The Great Gig In the Sky

Fleetwood Mac – The Chain

Beatles – Let It Be

James Brown – A Man’s World

The Band – Sleeping

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Tell us your position on “DIY” Do It Yourself” and signing to a major label. 

DIY until you figure out if/and which label is right for you. There’s a lot of different ways to “make it” and plenty of ways to do a deal or multiple deals. Artists just need to get a little educated so they can make the best decisions for their project.

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Tell us the instruments put together in this song. 

Two guitars, bass, drums, keys, harmonica, and vocals.

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Tell us other activities you will like to pursue apart from music. 

Anything in the creative field. Community support for the Arts. Outdoor activities. Investing.

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Tell us about gaining the confidence to sing in front of a large crowd for the first time. 

“The confidence to sing in front of large crowds probably came from trusting in myself as a musician. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to play incredible venues with other artists and I learned a lot from those experiences, I learned a lot by always working with others and practising humility.”

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Tell us the best way to make money in the music business.

Could depend on your position. Publishing deals seem to be very lucrative for our friends that have them. Syncs/Film and Performances are always a nice pop with a royalty bump every year. If you can move a lot of merch, bravo! Some of the artists that we work and tour with make really good money on the road, but it takes a lot of hard work and smart planning to get, as well as knowing what you’re worth and not backing down.

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Tell us your experience pertaining TV/Radio plugging. 

It’s competitive for sure, and certainly hard to keep up with everything at times. But on nearly anything we’ve done leading up to now, with Phantom Electric, the radio and TV stations have always given us a big boost in fans and in our pockets when it comes to TV. It’s always helped us on the Industry side of things too; it’s kind of funny how some executives who didn’t care a month ago find out your song was on this or that and all of sudden you are at the top of their radar. TV and movie opportunities are really great, because we actually get to interact with the cast, crew, and extras. We’ve found that this kind of networking is great, because people will share online and with their friends, and typically these people aren’t always aware of you or when you’re playing because there is so much out there. At the end of the day it really depends on what works for you and your plan.

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Narrate your recording experience. 

Well for “Friends”, the song was written by Nick, alone in a basement on the acoustic guitar. The song was loosely worked a little here and there in a jam setting until Winter 2015 when Nick Whitson recorded a full band demo with Kris Sampson, one of Atlanta’s best rock engineers. The pair had been working on several other recordings for other Atlanta artists until then. Nick then compiled some demos and began rehearsing with longtime friend and drummer Daniel Draddy. For a few weeks in the early Summer of 2015 Nick’s roommate Matthew Pendrick (Slow Parade) and Peter Norman played around with a couple songs including “Friends”. Nick and Kris decided that the songs should be recorded live with video. Nick brought in longtime collaborators Sean Michelsen on bass and Sami Michelsen to capture the video footage. And in the Summer of 2015 they picked out a night to all meet up, all together for the first time, and record two songs. Nick spent two days prepping the space and building the set. As everyone trickled in during the day we slowly set up the audio equipment and spent a serious amount of time nurturing the creative energy and vibe in the space and amongst the group, it really felt like house party at points. What was really interesting was that nearly everything that had been previously discussed or rehearsed between particular members went out the window. We were starting from ground zero in a way, and that made all the difference in the world. Giving all the space back to song allowed everyone to find free space to create something dynamic and organic. It was like we were all in the room painting a giant picture together, figuring it out as we went along, until we got the final take that we all really loved.

Everyone in the group has had tons of different experiences in recording. We’ve been interns, session players, engineers, artists, and producers. We’ve worked in the box, cut to tape, tracked everything out, recorded live, worked in small and large studios, even recorded in the hotel rooms. We’ve all had lots of different experiences recording, and we are grateful for all of them and everything we’ve learned along the way.

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List your various works. 

Nick Whitson: Phantom Electric, Elevation, Alchemy, session musician and songwriter for Atlanta based singer-songwriters.

Daniel Draddy: Phantom Electric, session drummer

Peter Norman: Phantom Electric, Spectralux, Technicult, session musician and songwriter for Atlanta based singer-songwriters.

Matthew Pendrick: Slow Parade, Midnight Revival – Matt works with nearly every folk/rock artist in East Atlanta.

Sean & Sami Michelsen: Alchemy, Reptile Room – produced and co-write with various artists.

Kristofer Sampson: Ponderosa, Dead Confederate, Coat Hangers, B-52’s, including a multitude of other artists.

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State links to connect you on social media.

phantomelectric.com

facebook.com/pesounds

instagram.com/phantomelectric

soundcoud.com/phantomelectric

youtube.com/thephantomelectric

You can also find us on iTunes, Apple music, and Spotify.

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