Phantom Chemistry is a sick band from East Syracuse. What’s even sicker is that we shot a shot a sick 360 video with them in collaboration with 5th Medium, a VR and 360 video firm here on campus. We corresponded with the group’s frontman Mike Burriesci, which resulted in what may be the most interesting interview you’ll read today.
- Where does the name come from? (Phantom Chemistry)
The name was something I thought sounded cool in high school. I liked the ambiguity of it, you don’t get any clues of what the music will sound like from hearing the name. Maybe Phantom Chem is a rock band, maybe it’s smooth jazz. The name gave me a lot of leeway for developing the direction of the sound, which was convenient because I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in for style.
Also nothing came up when I googled it.
- How long have you been together as a band, and how has your sound changed in that time?
We’ve been a band for 8 years now, and our sound has changed a lot. We didn’t have the full band with a drummer when we started, It was just Teddy, John, and myself experimentally recording in my basement studio. The first album was entirely made with programmed beats and lots of spacey, colorful tones. We wanted to see how weird we could get, we even went as far to hide screaming and backward messages in the tracks. We added a bassist and drummer after that album. We used to always go in blind when recording albums but the last few years I started writing and structuring all the songs before we hit the studio. We still experiment a lot with tones and different instruments but It’s a lot more guitar driven than it used to be.
- What has been the proudest moment for you as a member of Phantom Chemistry?
It’s hard to pick one moment out of 8 years in this band. It should probably be a name drop of some big band we’ve played with or some award nomination but for me I think it’s a moment of realization I had after a show at Monty’s Krown in Rochester. It was the last night of a weekend tour of west NY. We played Nietzsche’s in Buffalo the night before and got our asses kicked by the 4am last call, it was an incredible night. So now we’re in Rochester, hungover and we’ve just finished our set. I walk toward the front entrance to have a cigarette and I notice everyone from the bar is huddled in the doorway staring at the 7/11 across the street. I go to find out what all the commotion is about and then I see it.
There’s this homeless guy across the street, lying on his back in the heavy rain, vigorously jerking off. It was hands down the most bizarre thing I’ve ever witnessed in public. It was like that rain scene from the first Spiderman movie except scarring and uncomfortable.
But as fucked up as it is, that was the moment I realized that this band is going take me places far outside my comfort zone, Places I would never even think about going to on my own.
Now I’m the kind of guy that gets anxiety just thinking about being in unfamiliar crowded places, But because of this band I started, this thing that’s a part of me, my life has opened up to a whole new world of experiences. That was one of the most ridiculous weekends of my life and it never would have happened if it weren’t for Phantom Chemistry.
- Do you guys have any other video? Was this your first time being filmed as a band?
We’ve done a few videos here and there. They were mostly acoustic sessions of some of our songs and a couple videos with compilation footage of shenanigans from shows and hanging out in parking lots before we played. We did do a video for our song Back Of The Van where we kidnapped our friend Mitch, from the band Feast of The Superb Owl. That was a fun shoot, we got to pull up and throw him in the back. Then we set up a fog machine and all these DJ lights in the van.
- What was it like being shot in 360?
Being shot in 360 was definitely the coolest video we’ve done. I didn’t really know what to expect when we were asked about doing it, I didn’t know much about the technology or how it worked at the time. 5th medium sent over a crew and they set up all these lights and tripods at our practice space. Everyone was so nice and professional, it was a really awesome experience.
- What have been some of the reactions to the video that you’ve gotten from fans, friends and family?
We got a lot of great reactions from the video. Once it was posted my phone started blowing up from friends of mine that saw it. I couldn’t believe how many plays and shares it received within the first couple hours of being uploaded.
- Do you think that 360 video has a future in the music industry?
I think 360 videos are going to quickly become the norm for bands looking to turn new fans on to their music. Being able to manipulate the angles of the footage makes people watch these videos over and over again to catch things they missed the first time around, It’s addictively engaging. Even if you don’t like the song you’ll probably watch it 2 or 3 times, and at that point it’s stuck in your head.
- What’s next on the horizon for Phantom Chemistry? Tours? Albums? Video?
Right now we’re a third the way through the recording of our new album, “Everything’s Great!” There’s 13 songs written for it and we expect to be done with the recordings in the next few months. After that we want to do a release show in Syracuse, followed by some touring.
- What’s the worst thing you’ve ever eaten?
The worst thing I ever ate was probably your sister’s pussy, but don’t tell her I said that. She’s a sweet girl and a generous lover.
You can check out Phantom Chemistry on the band’s Facebook page. Look out for their upcoming shows in the Syracuse area!
Photo courtesy of Phantom Chemistry