Can a band be neo-progressive rock and old school classic rock at the same time? It can if it’s Phantom Phunk. Their music will remind you of why you fell in love with vinyl in the first place, and yet, their sound is modern and fresh.
The origins of Phantom Phunk date back to 2014 when long time friends and fellow songwriters, Hector Fontanet and Sasha Cheine teamed up to share song ideas. That fall, they began recording their early compositions in Hector’s home studio, dubbed the Harmonic Factory. As their productions advanced, they sought out other musicians to help them play and record their songs. In January 2015 Sasha ran into Nicholas Emiliozzi, a childhood friend whose history of drum playing quickly inducted him into the group. Just a couple of months later in March, the three played at an open mic where they saw guitar player Juan Gonzalez also perform. Impressed by his profound appreciation for music and his ear for clever riffs, the three band-mates agreed to make Juan their fourth member.
In Spring of 2015, the Tampa based four piece spent the next year self-producing their debut album, Arboles Ossific. The ten song disc spreads across various genres and songwriting forms to create an appeal that extends beyond any one singular demographic. Featured songs include the Pink Floyd style instrumental “Distant Kaleidoscopes”, the arena anthem “Snowy in Florida”, the foot tapping “The Unheard Spirit Symphony”, the jam band epic “Tommy’s Cosmic Avocado”, and the hip-hop/electro-rock ‘mega hybrid’ “Jungle Crunch”.
Since releasing their debut, Phantom Phunk has undergone profound changes within their line-up. Most notably, was the exit of co-founder and singer, Sasha Cheine. Creative differences impelled the vocalist to explore other musical options, causing them to leave the day before the band began production on their second album. Without a singer, the group struggled on, continuing to record their second LP, Turtle Stand on their own. While expressing a raw sound with dissonant undertones, Turtle Stand musically and symbolically represents a trying time for the group and the divisions which struck to their core. The fracture left by Sasha’s exit however, created a space for the band to explore new options, leading to collaborative features involving Tampa rapper, Wayne Price, and bass player, Tom Kelly. After months of searching for a replacement singer, the group finally came in contact with Alexa Toro from the Flow Sisters. With vocal influences ranging from gentle R&B to edgy Rock ‘n Roll, Alexa’s spin on the Phunk’s repertoire puts them in the same vein as the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Paramore and Metric.
Since 2018, Phantom Phunk has transformed into a three-piece core, and now consists of Alexa Toro on vocals, Nick Emiliozzi on drums and Hector Fontanet on guitar. Tracks from their latest EP, Struggle With Me (2018), also include features from local hip-hop artist Cloud Master Price. The blend of alt-rock and hip-hop gives the group a progressive sound comparable to the Gorillaz and No Doubt.