The name of hip-hop rookie trio Phantom does not refer to the definition for “ghost” that first comes to mind. Rather, it’s rooted in science, describing the dispersing of energy.
The band’s vocalist Sanchez selected the name. While he was attending college, he developed an interest in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which is where the group’s name originated. He remembers one day watching a documentary in which he learned about the effects of time and space, and more specifically, phantom energy.
“It’s a non-existing energy,” he explained. “If it ever did exist, it would transcend, expand the universe faster than the speed of light, and I wanted to pick a name that would encompass this idea of ‘transcending’ our music, which is what our name really means.”
|The members of the hip-hop trio Phantom (from left) Sanchez, Kiggen, and Han-hae. (WA Entertainment)|
“I still don’t understand it,” member Han-hae joked.
“The other members don’t get it. They say they think it’s cool because of the pronunciation,” Sanchez said, laughing.
Aside from their playful humor, what make this group stand out from others are the age gaps between the artists and the members’ national backgrounds. Member Keegan, who is from Nagoya, Japan, is 33 years old; Sanchez, who is Korean but grew up in New Zealand, is 26 years old; and Han-hae, the youngest, is 22 years old.
“But what makes us the most different from other boy bands is that we write our own music,” said Han-hae.
“Like movie directors who write their own scenarios, when a script is passed on to another director, the scenario can be portrayed differently,” said leader Kiggen. “We, on the other hand create our own scenarios. This allows people to better understand us and it also allows us to express ourselves clearly.”
He went on to express how popular idol groups’ songs are composed by a small handful of well-known producers and how the music process is not only rushed, but ends up making everybody sound the same.
“With our music, it’s like a package fusion of jazz, hip-hop, electronic, all different kinds of sounds,” said Sanchez. “You can think of us as chameleons.”
The boys made their debut as a group in November 2011, with their first single “Hole in Your Face.” Phantom later released their first mini-album ― on which the members wrote all the songs themselves ― titled “Phantom City” nearly a year later in August 2012.
The trio also made a music video, which was a spoof of the popular Girls’ Generation song, “The Boys,” and uploaded it onto YouTube. Little did they know that the video would actually end up landing them a TV commercial deal, which helped launch their recognition as a group.
The advertisement agency in charge of the commercial was looking for talented, new artists when famous composer Park Keun-tae recognized them from the spoof video and found them new, exciting and humorous and recommended them.
They were asked to do a remake of the popular 1979 electro-pop dance hit “Gotta Go Home” by Boney M (the beats to this song were also popularly remade by the members of the techno duo Duck Sauce).
“They asked us to remake the song into something more modern, something with a little rap,” said Sanchez.
The boys’ remake of the track, titled “Ice,” was the featured song on the Hite Ice Point beer TV commercial that starred none other than figure skating queen Kim Yu-na.
Phantom is currently preparing for the release of their yet-to-be-named second mini-album, which is expected to be available Jan. 17.
“This album will be a lot warmer, more acoustic this time around,” said Kiggen.
“But still hardcore hip-hop,” Han-hae added.
By Julie Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org