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Phantasm: Making It In Philly.

July 24, 2012
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Phantasm drummer Jay Yachetta reached out to us a few weeks back and we started talking about how the band arrived in Philly. Yachetta wrote the tale below. Phantasm will perform on Saturday at the TLA. See here for show details. Photo by Niles Weiss.

In 2007, as a band, Phantasm moved to Philadelphia from a small town in upstate New York near Buffalo, called Jamestown. We (Aaron White, Steven Rosplock and myself) chose Philly to be the hub of our operation because all of our past Philly experiences through touring had been very positive. It seemed like a place a band could grow an audience. Not to mention, it’s geographically a wonderful spot to be for a traveling band – New York, Baltimore, Harrisburg and DC are all now a stone’s throw away.

When we decided to move from Jamestown, we thought we had reached our peak there. We were drawing crowds of more than 200 people in a small town but the numbers were not growing. We believed that we needed to gain more exposure for ourselves by opening for bigger acts. These acts were not coming to Jamestown. We decided to position ourselves in a place where we could find audience members who would appreciate our musical niche. We also wanted to create a home base where we have opportunities to gain much more exposure.

It wasn’t immediate but it started to work.

As we were getting ready to relocate we were in contact with the guys from local rock heroes Jealousy Curve, and Steve LaFashia gave us a lot of advice about where to live and what avenues there were for a new band in the area.

We ended up in Manayunk (which seemed much safer than many of the places we were looking at). We played a lot of open mics and went to any show we could get into and introduced ourselves to all the bands. This started opening a lot of doors for us to get weekend gigs at places like Grape Street (when it was on Main St.), North Star Bar and Doc Watsons.

It’s almost five years later and Philly and the contacts we have made here, have given us the opportunity to open for: Living Colour, Mos Def, Closure In Moscow, The Memorials (featuring Thomas Pridgen of The Mars Volta), Halestorm, Terrible Things (featuring Fred Macherino from Taking Back Sunday), Just Like Vinyl (featuring Thomas Erak from Fall or Troy), Michael Angelo Batio, and The Sleeping.

A lot of people complain about Philadelphia and even move away to pursue music. The truth of the matter is there a ton of opportunities here. Taking advantage of them in ways that will elevate your band is the key. We turned an opening slot for The Memorials one year ago at The Grape Room into a three-week tour starting kicking off in August. We didn’t ask them for this opportunity, we made it happen.

Phantasm performs at the TLA on Saturday as part of the Free Your Mind “For Locals, By Locals” show with Crobot, Black Stars and The Formulary.

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