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Deutsche VersionInterview mit Phantom-X (28.12.2005)

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HH: Phantom-X started originally as a Dio cover band chosen by rock radio DJ Robert Miguel but soon you started to write and play your own songs. Do you still work as a Dio cover band?

Kevin: No, we've progressed past that. Originally, the DIO tribute thing was just for fun and to play. As we started writing our own original songs we became truly, Phantom-X. We still will throw in a Dio tune in our set from time to time just for fun and I will always be a DIO fan.

HH: What was the reason to continue as a "real" band?

Kevin: When we were writing the songs for the CD, it was evident that we had something pretty cool here. The songs are strong and we started playing together like a band that could handle their own. These two things constituted Phantom-X to take it more serious.

HH: The vocals in "Enchanted" sound quite different from the vocals in the other songs. Very smooth but with lots of feeling. It surprised me to hear them because they're quite unexpected but I like them very much. How did this performance come up?

Kevin: Well, the lyrics are inspired by my wife. I am not the type of lyricist to write a love song. I am too much interested in the darker side of things, but I was able to capture the way she makes me feel and the magical way our relationship has taken shape. As for the vocals... vocal performances should always compliment the lyrics and the mood of the song. That's what I was shooting for here.

HH: This style of singing is only used in the mentioned song. Can we expect more singing of this kind on future recordings?

Kevin: I would think so! I pride myself on being able to sing smooth and moodful when the song requires it and to also be able to get as gritty and gruff as needed on the opposite end of the spectrum.

HH: "Storms Of Hell", "Rise Of The Phantom", "Discovery" and "The Mask" are the first four chapters of a concept story. Further parts will follow on the next records. Why didn't you use the full story on this album? Why did you separate it?

Kevin: Trust me, as a creative force I wanted to do a concept CD right from the get go. But, I knew our metal music listeners probably wouldn't understand it straight out of the starting gate like that, this being our first CD and all. So, I thought it would be smarter to give the story in doses over the next few releases. Plus, I didn't want Phantom-X to get trapped into every CD having to be a concept. This way we have the best of both worlds and it allows the band more freedom. Also, if you want to see what happens next in the story of the Phantom... check out the next CD!!!

HH: Can you please give a brief overview of the story? What can we expect on the following parts?

Kevin: Well, I don't want to give it all away and the story is not actually completed yet because in our bands writing situation I want the other members to be able to contribute to the story. But basically, it's the story of a demon born in hell and starts an uprising to assume power. He becomes a demonic warlord. On his quest for power he finds a talisman of sorts hidden in the deepest darkest depths. This talisman (The Mask) gives him power beyond compare. A power he doesn't realize until he puts on the mask to wear. This brings us to where we are in the story. I will tell you that in the next few chapters he will meet his soul mate (a witch with the darkest magic known) and the story will take a couple of unexpected turns. I don't want to give it all away to soon.

HH: What was the reason to do that kind of story?

Kevin: The inspiration came from the search for a band name. We are an old school sounding band so we needed an old school name. Phantom-X was the perfect choice for us. In my search for a name I read so much material looking for it that in the process this story started coming to mind. I knew from the beginning that it was too much for just one song and that it would have to be explored through a concept format.

HH: On "Pain Machine" there's a guest vocal appearance of Jason McMaster from Watchtower and on "Blood On The Moon" one can hear Robert Lowe on the mic. How did these cooperations come up?

Kevin: Jason, I met when my wife and I had a night club open here in Dallas, Tx.. His band, Broken Teeth, came to play for us several times. Of course, I had aways been a fan of his voice, so he was gracious enough to come sing on "Pain Machine" with me. Now, many years ago I worked at a music store called Sound Warehouse with John Perez of Solitude Aeturnus. John and I became great friends and still are even to this day. I would frequent S.A. shows and eventually became friends with all of the guys (guitarist, Edgar R. and I go back as far as 1982 together as I helped him name one of his first bands - Battalion). I enjoy listening to Robert sing and he too was kind enough to sing on "Blood on the Moon" with me.

HH: On "Metal Warrior" which was originally written in 1982 you deal with a very sad topic, the murder of Dimebag Darell. How did you receive the message of his death and how did you react?

Kevin: I was in complete shock and then the sadness set in. It was completely senseless! The lyrics to Metal Warrior were written in 1982 and I think they are a grand tribute to Dime. He is a Metal Warrior. Long Live Dimebag Darrell! We miss you brother.

HH: You are also the singer of Omen which are well known over here in Europe as one could see at the Bang Your Head festival 2004 where Omen played two gigs. Is it helpful for Phantom-X to have a famous singer in the band?

Kevin: I don't know if I'm famous. I know Omen is famous. I would think that the associations Phantom-X have with Omen are a good thing.

HH: What do musicians like you which are anchored in the classic heavy metal genre think of the so called Metalcore music which is very popular nowadays?

Kevin: I don't know if what you call Metalcore is what we have here in the U.S., Nu-metal. If so then my thoughts are... ... I have always been an old school singer. The music that I listen to is old school or at least has that kind of sound or feel. To me, there is only true metal and all else is generic. Its too bad that the general metal listeners have been brainwashed into this thing.

HH: Imagine Rise Of The Phantom is an animal. What animal would it be and why?

Kevin: Maybe... a black panther. Black for obvious reasons because metal music is a dark art form. It can be fast and furious and it can attack out of nowhere and completely devour you. Then again it can be so graceful as it walks along the edge of the cliff of a 1000 ft. drop. Sure-footed and full of confidence!

HH: Thanks for your time! Any last words for now?

Kevin: Thank you! For any of your readers who don't know about Phantom-X please visit www.phantom-x.net. Come getya a pull!

Lord Obirah

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