Artist Interviews & Music

Entering the Phantom Dance Department with FV

Any chance to show love to a Philly band is always a very welcomed opportunity, especially when that band is of the emo-punk-pop genre, which I am a huge sucker for. And if you are too, then you should really get to know FV.

If your aesthetic is “throwing a goth party in a mausoleum with red wine and eye shadow everywhere” (sign me up), then you’ve found the right band. Their debut EP, Phantom Dance Department, is out now (my personal favorites include Steal It Now and Perfect), and if you enjoy Catfish and the Bottleman or The 1975, you will most certainly love FV.

We sat down and chatted outside before their show that night at PhilaMOCA.

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Tim (lead vocals/guitar), Sean (guitar/vocals), Chris (drums), Evan (bass)

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How did this band come to be? Funny enough, the guys were all indirectly fans of each other and their other bands; some of their old bands even played at the same shows. Tim and Sean met while they were both at Rowan University, and the song Fake Love brought them together, when they realized that this is the type of music they wanted to make:

Tim: So I made a three-song acoustic demo, Fake Love was one of those songs actually, and it went locally viral. Then it was time to go to college, where I met Sean.  The song brought us together, and we vowed to make something different than what was already out there. I met Chris at a Japanese House concert – we both went alone. He was looking at the drummer (of Japanese House) and he said “Oh, you see that thing up there? I have one of those.” And I was like, “Do you want to play music like this?”

Sean: We were all in bands, and I knew Chris, who was in a metalcore band at the time. And one day we played a local show, where we talked about The 1975, and I was like, “Wait, he’s in a metalcore band…he likes them?”.

Tim: There’s actually a picture of me from when Chris’ old band was playing a show, and I’m in the crowd wearing his band’s shirt, acting way too tough.

Evan: Sean and I were friends but had never collaborated, since we were in different States. But then he sent me a Facebook message after stalking my Spotify profile.

Sean: We went to a show Evan was playing with our friends Watermedown at the Barbary. We all knew of each other through the grapevine, but we were doing our own thing; we eventually meshed because we all wanted to do something different.

Evan: Our old bands actually played together one time – I was in a band and Sean was in a band called Breaking Tradition, and I watched his set one time and thought “This guy is insane”.

Tim: We all had the ambition to do something that was a little more pop. We grew up in a very punk/emo scene, and we really like that and that’s our roots, but we definitely wanted to explore something different.

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On their musical inspirations (I told them I got some Catfish and the Bottleman vibes):

Evan: I’ll get this out of the way – all music is recycled from other bands. There’s no such thing as authentic art.

Tim: For me personally, INXS; their lead singer Michael Hutchence is my idol and I rip him off in everything. He definitely wore what I’m wearing right now at a show before. I owe everything to that frontman.

Evan: I really love the The Cure, I grew up on them.

Chris: Stylistically, I’d say Bruce Springsteen. Drumming-wise, Dave Matthews Band – fantastic dummer.

Sean: I like a lot of Death Cab, The Killers and I listen to a lot of math-rock-ey stuff, but in that realm of a little more technical.

Tim: I would say that Sean’s guitar influences definitely make us stand out a little bit more in our genre; it sounds like the guitar of Death Cab is playing over The Killers. The twinkle-emo didn’t get lost in the genre change.

Sean: I don’t mean to play that way, it just happens.

The band agrees that there is a strong mutual love for both The Killers and The 1975.

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FV has already had headlining and opening gigs. We talked about who would be their dream headliner to open for: 

Chris: Bruce Springsteen all the way and Dave Matthews. Post Malone would be sick.

Tim: If Lorde wants to take us on tour, that would be sick.  I would love to open for Pale Waves and have a goth party all night – we’d go all out. There’s so much we want to do.

Sean: Catfish, Death Cab and COIN.

Evan: When Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm ten-year tour comes to America, I would love to open for them.

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On challenges of being a new, young band and making it all happen:

Chris: The challenges would definitely be being four, young twenty-somethings who work and need to pay bills. Getting together in one room to play after working full-time is a struggle.

Evan: Because we work full-time to support FV, we don’t have the all time we want to dedicate to FV stuff.

Tim: Another challenge is coming back to reality after an amazing tour. It’s definitely a two-steps forward, one-step back kind of deal. But you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

Chris: Maintaining friendships, too.

Sean: It’s an investment that we’re putting our all into.

And about the two times they avoided death?

Evan: On the first time we ever hit the road – our line-up wasn’t even what it is now – it was just two week of dead shows. One night, we took someone up on a place to stay in Alabama. It was a filthy, disgusting house – we were pretty sure we were going to die.

Tim: We walked in and there were two ski masks on the counter, and we just hoped they were really big twenty one pilots fans.

Evan: And our second tour in December was a lot more successful, we had a great time, but the first 48-hours were spent driving through the back roads of Pennsylvania in three different snow storms overnight. That was sweet.

Sean: Hot Fuss by The Killers saved our lives. The last song from the album – Everything Will Be Alright.

Tim:  We were going down this icy road, we got to the bottom and Evan said “The brakes weren’t working, but we’re alive, so it doesn’t matter.”

Sean: I was begging Evan to pull over and he said, “Absolutely not, we’ll get stuck if we pull over”, and I said, “We’ll die if we keep going”.

Tim: Another story before we even started making music – we all became friends and went to a 1975 show in Pittsburgh, and we basically lied and told everyone we were in a band. We told them we had been a band for a while and everyone believed us.

Sean: And at that point, we had to do what we said we are, so we became a band.

After our conversation, they played to a full crowd at PhilaMOCA:

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So what’s next for FV? A lot, it turns out, especially with the recent release of their debut EP.  They’re supporting a band called MILKK and they’re planning on doing some headline dates around those shows, and are hoping to do a tour in July. They also plan to make music videos and visual content for the new EP.

Members of the band also produce other records and are working on other projects. Sean is in another band called 2319, and Evan is producing their record and a record for Watermedown. FV has a studio in the home of their basement, where other bands can go to record. They are extremely supportive of everyone who has supported and inspired them. This includes Rich People, who opened for the band that night (it’s important to note that FV has cited Rich People as their dads).

If anything, I learned that there is a strong sense of support and community within this band and within this music scene. As they said at the end of our interview, “When bands breakthrough, they don’t breakthrough alone. And it’s amazing to have your friends come up with you.”

I’m really excited for these guys, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to interview them. Be sure to listen to them on Spotify and Soundcloud. Keep an eye on FV, Philly, they are certainly a band to watch.

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