Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (https://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
TPR: We’re mainly a group of friends who like to write music and that’s the most important thing. We all come from different musical backgrounds, although, we have a lot in common music-wise.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
TPR: The band originally started as a power duo, just me (Stefano, guitars/vocals) and Mattia (Drums). We started right before the whole pandemic thing kicked in so we wrote the most of our songs during lockdown and the subsequent restriction period.
After releasing couple singles we realized our sound was taking a different direction. What we were writing was different and we felt we just could no longer do it as duo. We then decided to add a bass player to the band and that’s how Albert (Bass guitar) joined the band. The Phantom Rocket is now a power trio, although we have an additional guitar player for live shows.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
TPR: I (Stefano) write the most of the songs (musically and lyrically) and I take inspiration from what I see around, what happens to me or other people. I’ve always written in first person and just lately I started to try seeing things from a different perspective so I got into writing some stuff from a different person’s point of view and I kinda like it ‘cause I feel like it opened up some doors that I never considered before giving me the chance to tell stories that otherwise I wouldn’t have told if I had to write ‘em from my point of view.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
TPR: Well, I guess you have to split aspirations from real possibilities as an artist today. I guess that every artist aims to get their music to be heard by everyone but nowadays it’s really difficult for an artist to get heard. With that being said, we as band, want to just keep writing music and play it live ‘cause that’s the main reason why we do this.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
TPR: I have a lot of good memories about my “career” so it’s hard to pick the proudest moment. I know it might sound like the obvious thing to say but, the proudest moment, is everytime you get to see your work coming together. Spending hours and hours writing, recording, practicing and then seeing the results of the hard work .. that’s what still makes me/us proud.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
TPR: As I said before, nowadays it is hard for an artist to get heard. Mostly if the music you make isn’t exactly what the latest trend is all about. Releasing a single, an EP or a full length album on streaming platforms is like being a waterdrop in the ocean, you need a good promotion in order to have a chance to be heard. You always hope that somehow, someone will get to hear your music and appreciate it. It’s a long road if you still want to do it “the old school way” but that’s how we like it. There are many other shortcuts with social media in these days but I guess that it just doesn’t work for us. I couldn’t see my self being a character on Tik-Tok or whatever other social network just to get a fan base that, subsequently, would listen to my music. I want our music to get to people and speak to people. I don’t care of having people “liking” my music just because it’s me.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
TPR: Normally we work with some booking agents in Italy or we just get the shows ourselves. Unfortunately, here in Italy, after the pandemic, a lot of venues had to shut down and many of the ones that made it through it changed their policy and just let cover and tribute bands play so it became way more difficult to book shows. We don’t have any exclusive agreement with any booking agency so we’re always open to receive offers. Regarding the upcoming shows, we’re waiting for our EP “Come Undone” to drop in September. After that we’ll start to plan shows and possibly a tour abroad.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
TPR: It somehow gave everyone a chance to spread their music, which is good on one hand. On the other hand, as said above, this makes it more difficult for everyone ‘cause there is no real selection. I could record some weird sounds with my phone and release it on Spotify as a single or even an album and nobody would keep me from doing it.. I mean, it’s ok but it just makes it harder for artists to show off.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
TPR: There are plenty of songs I wish I had written but if I really have to pick one that would probably be “Stand Inside Your Love” from The Smashing Pumpkins. It’s got nothing to do with our music style but I think that song’s perfect in every way.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
TPR: The music industry is such a jungle nowadays for the reasons I mentioned before. What I can say about what I don’t like, at least here in our country, is that record labels don’t have talent scouts anymore, they don’t invest in scouting new talents and it’s all entrusted to talent shows. I think that this lowered the artistic level and created a huge gap between Italy and other countries and this is an additional problem for bands/artists who want to do something with music. I mean, talent shows are in every country or so, but they’re not the only way for an artist to emerge. Apparently, in our country, it is and that’s kind of sad. I’d try to encourage clubs to give more space to emerging bands through financial grants. A sort of cultural reform that aims at promoting music and stimulate kids to pick up an instrument and do the thing. Of course, record labels play a huge role in this and they should go back at having talent scouts going to shows to spot new talents.
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
TPR: We’re about to release our new EP “Come Undone”. It’s a 4-tracks EP we recorded earlier this year. The first single which is the title track “Come Undone” will drop on Aug 2nd, 2023 on streaming platforms. Meanwhile, we’re working on new material but, as of now, I can’t tell if it’ll be for another EP or an LP. We’ll figure it out along the way.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
TPR: You can listen to our music on every streaming platform, watch videos on YouTube and follows us on Instagram (@thephantomrockets). As of now our merch is available at our shows but we’re working on a website with a shop section where you’ll be able to purchase our stuff.