A covenant of demigods fronted by a fallen angel.

My first contact with your work was that live version of The Exorcist. When and how did the mask become your trademark?

It was a multiple-stage development as far as everything that led us to this point! We were watching an anime series called Knights Of Sidonia (“Shidonia no Kishi” in Japan) and there was a character named Captain Kobayashi, who was a member of an immortal elite sect of their society, and they all wore these stoic masks. We had been searching for a vocalist to front the project to no avail! I got thinking that I could create a mask and use myself as a muse to lay out exactly what we should do aesthetically, and basically, the flesh out, what mode the band would operate in. Then, when the singer was established, they could wear the mask, and I would fall back to being a guitarist. It came to me that my shoes were hard to fill, and I eventually just grew into the role of a front person. Being nonbinary, and relatively androgynous made the evolution very organic.

How do you currently approach the writing process for Phantom High?

I came from a hip-hop background, and I was acclimated to writing to “beats”. So when I began writing songs for this band, I always started with drums, and then fleshed the song out from that foundation. After I have laid down the initial energy of the track, I then set up a rough arrangement, and will vibe out what the music tells me the song should be about!

Are you, Peril still the captain of the ship or it has become more a collaborative, organic effort?

Still the Captain Kobayashi LOL! As things get back to normal and we can return to jam spaces and rehearsals, I look forward to exploring some organic collaborations!

Photo by Lyon Smith

You put a glam core twist on Lady Gaga and Childish Gambino tracks and I know the early influences of Phantom High zip back to bands like Korn, Deftones, or Slipknot. Any newer bands that are striking your interest?

We all have pretty different tastes in what we listen to and are inspired by bands like Korn, Deftones that we grew up with, for me I am listening to Crystal Lake, Fit For A King, Loathe, My Ticket Home, Code Orange, Cane Hill, I See Stars, Ghostemane, Marmozets, it goes into some pretty abstract stuff too haha.

Lots of artists have an alter-ego on stage that sometimes is the total opposite of the real-life person. What’s the main difference between Phantom High, the masked musicians, and Phantom High, the unmasked individuals?

It’s crazy really, I feel more of myself in my stage persona sometimes, many times. If anything “Peril on stage” is just me, but with all of my normality, and social tact omitted! I do like Motocross, street racing, and firing ranges, but I also like Jellycat bunnies and fashion, so I guess flip a coin for which version of me you get on any given day!

Coming across as a lucid dream hoping for the end of coronavirus, ‘Black Divine’ is implicitly a cynical view of ‘dead bodies acting like people’. What are its main themes and how would it (the song) be served best?

I wrote it from my view subjectively about how it is to be a completely honest and unfettered version of oneself, and how in that embrace, you are regarded by those around you who choose not to be open to that pursuit.

What important messages are we missing as listeners?

The song concept was originally taken from something I read regarding Ancient Egyptian culture, where they had “Sacred or Divine Feminine and Masculine” energies. Divine Feminine included the arts, music, etc, and so I mashed it up with our dark aesthetic and tacked “Black” onto it.

Photo by Lyon Smith
Photo by Lyon Smith

What do your daily lives look like?

Very different respectively, Seven and I are on an odd schedule, she works evenings so I adapted to her set schedule to maximize my efficiency in having the place to myself for production and writing! Seven works in tech, Joey works in IT, Balire is currently in school for music production/industry, and I am self-employed with music production and graphic design.

Guilty pleasure time. What would you say are some of your current most guilty pleasures? All is fair game- food, books, video games, or even cock n’ ball torture, whatever floats your boat. Let us have it.

I have no shame. I just try and do the things that make me happy and instill a sense of meaning in my life. I look forward to being able to travel again and do road trips and also have access to my family who lives on the East Coast of Canada/US. I recently bought an RC buggy to get away from my normal production stuff, I haven’t really spent money on anything that was unrelated to music in the last 10-15 years! I also started a solo album and corresponding Onlyfans page if my IG isn’t twisted enough- it gets much “twistier” LMAO!

What do you hope to do with your music in the future? I mean, do you have any crazy schemes or goals?

We really want to expand to a worldwide stage, soundtrack/syncs, concerts, festivals, clothing and fashion, and some really unorthodox collaborations, I have a new strange idea every day.

The interview was originally posted on CVLTARTES BLEMISH ISSUE.

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Cover Photo: Jairo Lopez
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