What's your favorite Pink Floyd album? For me it's a toss up between Animals and Meddle.
SB: I haven't heard them all, but The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, A Saucerful of Secrets and The Wall are the records I've been listening to lately.
Okay, so when not making music, what do you guys do to unwind?
SB: Wow, it's been so long since we have had time to unwind. When we are off tour, we like to stay busy with music as much as possible. I'm looking forward to playing more guitar and possibly picking up the bass for fun. We also enjoy seeing our family and friends.
I see you've performed at festivals like SXSW and Camp Bisco. Are playing those any different than playing "regular" shows? Would you want to make a habit of playing [festivals]?
SB: SXSW is a giant clusterfuck for the most part. It's hard to find a minute to take a deep breath and enjoy being in Austin. We definitely take advantage of being there as much as possible. We like to play the game of seeing how many shows we can fit into four days. That's what SXSW is for and every band accepts that there is no such thing as sound check and you cross your fingers and hope all of your equipment works. Festivals like Camp Bisco are more fun because there is more time to enjoy seeing other artists play. Headlining shows are the most fun because everyone in the audience is there to see you and their attention is not at all distracted.
Eyelid Movies, besides being a fantastic title, is pleasurably danceable and also lined with somber moods. Is that balance something you tried for, or did it come naturally?
SB: It came more naturally than planned. We didn't necessarily want this record to be a dance party, but we wanted people to be able to bob their heads to the beats.
I've found a Phantogram remix of the School of Seven Bells song "ILU" that's pretty impressive. How'd you go about choosing to reconstruct that?
Josh Carter: The remix of SVIIB's "ILU" was the first and only remix I've done. I originally started working on it, trying to make it something crazy and punchy with my own twist. After about a week of working on this sped-up, weird remix of this song, I began to feel like I wasn't doing the song justice. I've been asked to do remixes before and never really wanted to because I'd think, "Why would I want to change a perfectly good song?" I've never really understood the remix world too much. After thinking about what the song meant to me, I decided to start fresh and bring out the elements of the song that touch me. So the remix is a focus on the natural beauty and emotion of the song -- more of a stripped down version.
Speaking of remixes, your songs are being re-worked left and right. How does that feel?
SB: We love that artists can create something else out of our work. Alan Wilkis' and Adiran Michna's remix of "Mouthful of Diamonds" is definitely worth checking out.
"The patterns control your mind, those patterns take away my time" -- I know what I get from those lyrics, but I'm interested in hearing what you have to say about such profound wordplay.
SB: Those lyrics can work a lot of different ways I think. To me, the patterns are coming from a crazy person's mind. They are constant delusional thoughts that someone might have when a relationship goes sour -- in other words, a pathological liar.
In addition to your own voices, your use of sampling also creates a trance-like vibe. What kind of stuff do you look through to find what you will ultimately use?
SB: Josh does a lot of sampling of himself on the drums. He also tends to find old obscure records from French artists or Detroit Motown groups from the '60s. There's no discrimination here when it comes to sampling. Anything that sounds cool can work well.
I've found some stunning acoustic cuts of songs like "As Far As I Can See" and "When I'm Small." Do these ever show their face in a live setting?
SB: Sometimes we play a stripped down version of "When I'm Small" at radio stations and in store shows. As for "As Far As I Can See," we only played that acoustically once, but maybe we should more often.
You totally should, it's breathtaking. So what does performing do for you? Is there anything you feel you can't express through music?
SB: Playing our music to our fans is just as important to us as writing the songs. It's a beautiful feeling when there is an emotional connection between us and the audience. It's very rewarding.
What is next for Phantogram?
SB: We are planning on spending January and February in upstate NY writing and recording for the next album. We also plan on heading over to Europe soon and will tour the United States again this spring.