Erol Alkan: "'Engine' was released on the 14th November 2007. At that point in time, it was the only piece of music we had for Phantasy. We had no idea what to follow it up with, or when, but we knew we wanted to be a label which supported new artists, a stepping stone towards them securing a record deal with a larger label. I had already started working with Late Of The Pier (LA Priest aka Sam Dust's main band) who had just signed to Parlophone, so LA Priest seemed to inhabit the space of a side project back in 2007. I often refered to Phantasy as a 'singles club' during our first 10 or so releases, looking back, this feels pretty accurate.
The original version of 'Engine' is a real journey and extra layers of mindblowing when you know Sam made it when he was 15 or 16. For me, it perfectly wielded the left field of electronic dance music with an independent spirit which is often hard to find. I asked to remix it (as I wanted to do on every single Phantasy release going forward) as I needed a version which fit my Dj sets around then, and this almost didn't happen as I lost the session on a crushing hard drive crash just before I finished it. The version which made the record is a rough mix through my (then new) Trident Flexi Mix desk, which I had felt was too over cooked but eventually grew to like after a few plays in clubs. If you ever wondered why it sounded so *fizzy*, this is why, the mix which made it out was never intended to see the light of day. There are 3 separate vinyl pressings: 'Black', ' Clear Green' and 'Green Marble'.
Fast forward to 2020, and LA Priest has just released his second album 'Gene', which I helped make. Retaining these relationships, personal as well as creatively, is a fitting illustration of what makes Phantasy tick. I'm glad we are able to kick off this countdown (or up?) with a release which not only embodies this, but is a big part of our musical aesthetic."
The sleeve art was handled by Will Sweeney (on the front) and Susumu Mukai (from Zongamin) who provided the lettering on the back. Also included below is an unused sleeve idea.
We came across Primary 1 (real name Joe Flory) on Myspace, which back then was arguably the greatest way to discover new artists. Joe's earliest lo-fi demos (later collected on the excellent 'Mess Detective' mini album) reminded us of the first Ariel Pink records, we loved them so much so that we instantly made contact and met.
'Hold Me Down' was the first piece of music to be released by Primary 1 who later went on to sign to Atlantic Records, work with Nina Persson (from The Cardigans) and Chilly Gonzales, and was even rumoured to be producing Kylie. Even though he had by then moved to a new label, it wouldn't be too long until we released more music from him...
The original was backed by two remixes from Yuksek as well as The Shoes.
Released on 12" black vinyl and download, the front of the sleeve featured an illustration by Susumu Mukai, whilst the back was handled by Gina Barber. Below is one of the unused sleeves from the design process.
Erol Alkan: "'Back in July 2008, I received a direct message from a Myspace page belonging to Fan Death, asking if I would want to listen to a track they had finished which they thought I may like. I remember I was in a hotel room in Amsterdam killing some time before a gig so I replied that I'd love to listen. Minutes later, I received an email attached with an mp3 of 'Veronica's Veil' and fell in love with it and asked if I could sign it to my new label, Phantasy.
I had no idea who was behind it at the time, our conversation was pretty cryptic throughout, but then, as we talked more and more, it dawned on me that I may already know the person at the other end of this exchange. It wasn't a few months later till I eventually met Dandi (who I had met before through Late Of The Pier) and Martha when they came over to the UK. By then I had signed, remixed and released 'Veronica's Veil' as the third single on Phantasy. On a personal level, it's still one of my favourite reworks but that's more down to the original's string arrangement and vocals... I spent a month on the remix before I got it right, I think there's around 3 different versions of it floating around on a hard drive.."
The hype surrounding Fan Death (named after a South Korean urban legend surrounding the dangers of leaving your electric fan running overnight) got to boiling point, and 'Veronica's Veil' could be seen as Phantasy's first 'hit' single when it was eventually released on December 8th 2008.
The Guardian wrote: "They're a girl duo who recognise that all the best disco records were sung by women, and they sing in the blank, distracted manner of all the finest disco divas. Really, they hardly sing at all – they open their mouths and pout and this spookily, exquisitely blank, almost Teutonic sound comes out. And, again like all the finest disco acts, they're anonymous, a blank canvas on which listeners can project their ultimate fantasies of romance and dancing, their wistful feelings of longing and regret. They make us think about the allure of sorrow, the sadness of the glamorous life and what the Pet Shop Boys used to call "the void at the heart of dance culture"
It was also the first video we put out there, which the band shot themselves. We pressed this on two seperate vinyl editions: black and splattered clear vinyl, both of which sold out immediately. The sleeve was designed by their friend, Ryan Chapman.
Phantasy’s fourth release was it’s most high-energy to date. It was also another debut from fresh talent on the scene in the form of Dirk Boogie and Mollono Von Bass, two eager young Dutch kids paying keen homage to the legacy and energy of high-energy and Chicago house. More than a decade later, and this duo transpired to in fact be one Erol Alkan and a certain Boys Noize, marking their first collaboration, albeit under a sneaky alias.
The real star of the show was Austin Boston, whose vocal catchphrase ‘Always, Anytime, 24/7!’ would ring out across The End during weekend raves and each Monday edition of Trash. His enthusiasm rings across the original and every remix on the EP, which provides a snapshot of the bubbling bass and electro scene at the time, featuring remixes from Starkey, Noob, Skull Juice, and Diplo, whose Jersey-club oriented edit came accompanied with an unexpected trip down Sesame Street.
Dance Area only ever made two more tracks; a remix of ‘When You Hear The Bassline’ by Major Lazer, and an unreleased cut, ‘We Can’t Stop Lovin’ It’. Wonder what Dirk and Mollono are up to these days…
The video was directed by James Connolly aka L-Vis 1990, and it was his first video! Pressed on black vinyl, all copies have since sold out.
PH05 / PH05RMX
Primary 1's second release with Phantasy was a collaboration with our good friend Riton. Released in September 2009 and back then, was famously described as the best paranoid rap track since Geto Boys 'My Minds Playin Tricks On Me', featured another video from James Connolly (aka L-Vis 1990).
Official remixes came from Style Of Eye, L-Vis 1990 and In Flagranti, who supplied a blistering warped disco remix which to this day remains one of our personal favourites...
Released on white vinyl, with a screenprinted sleeve designed by Fergadelic.
Arriving with almighty sudden impact on Phantasy at the tail-end of 2009, Boris Dlugosch’s ‘Bangkok’ first got an airing when Erol Alkan inadvertently premiered it during a performance at Parklife festival in Australia, unaware that the set was being broadcast to the world on Triple J public radio…
A brief melee of track ID requests followed, and the track was signed to Phantasy and revealed to be the work of German producer, Boris Dlugosch, a vital figure in the German music scene since his residency at the legendary Hamburg club Front, throughout the 1980s. Proving his timeless skill as a producer, Bangkok transported him to the forefront of noughties electro in playful, earworming style.
Roska provided his own mutant take on UK funky for a remix on the flip, while David Rudnick contributed one of the most amusing and memorable covers in Phantasy history for the artwork. The record was released with both black and pink vinyl editions on November 30th, 2009.
Erol Alkan: ''Blueberry' and 'Best In The Class' was to be the final release from Late Of The Pier, and Phantasy's 7th single.
'Best In The Class' was originaly recorded for 'Fantasy Black Channel', but wasn't completed in time for the album release, so we held it back for an EP we had planned to come later. I think we had started to record 4 tracks in total but ended up completing these 2 in the studio time we had.
Both tracks were recorded and mixed by the band and myself at The Garden and Strongroom in Shoreditch, pretty much the same set up as we had for the album. I remember we had a lot of fun recording, we used my new Efectron delay which I'd just bought off Ebay across as many sounds as we could, and this was possibly the most furtile studio session I've ever been involved in. Nothing was off limits. Oh, and the one of the kids who we recorded on 'Blueberry' is the same kid who did vocals for Justice's 'D.A.N.C.E', you can even hear a little snippet of his singing teacher (who accompanied the kids) on the final chorus..."
The band's creativity extended beyond the music, with Faley making the 'Blueberry' promo and Potter directing 'Best In The Class', the first time either of them had experimented in making music videos.
"It’s a versatile effort by a group that had no need to prove themselves so capable. Their place in Britain’s underground pop cannon is assured." - DIY
'Blueberry' was released first as a digital single on the 14th December 2009, with 'Best In The Class' following on the 27th February 2010. Both tracks made up the vinyl release as a double A side single, and pressed onto blueberry coloured vinyl, and immediately sold out. The sleeve art was designed by the band.
Released on 14th December 2009, it was the first time both sides of the same single were to be named Radio 1's 'Hottest Record In The World'.
Remixes of our 7th release, Late of the Pier, came from our good friends Soulwax ('Best In Class') and Simon Bookish ('Blueberry') released on transparent blue vinyl on the 23rd August. All copies have long sold out. Another close friend of the label, Daniel Brereton, was responsible for the remix video for Soulwax's remix, and would later go on to direct the incredible videos for 'Forever Dolphin Love' and 'A Hold On Love'.
- This single was a follow up to 'Waves' and 'Death Suite', a double A which we released on BNR.
- Of those tracks, 'Death Suite' was made at my studio in around 3 or 4 hours from start to finish. 'Waves' took much longer and was a real game of tennis between our respective studios.
- 'Avalanche' was made in a few hours at Alex's studio, built around some pitched down, droney voices we put against the little arpeggio which runs through the track. It's perhaps one of the only techno records to feature a snippet of Dylan Thomas. It was later to be vocalled by Jarvis Cocker, but we will get to that in a few releases time...
- 'Lemonade' took a bit longer to make. It was originally titled 'The Other Side' and almost made the cut, until we decided it wasn't good enough and put it in the folder where music goes to die, unless miraculously ressurected. It wasn't until I found a jam session between Alex and me and heard a riff which both of us had forgotten existed, that I took the riff and placed it over the drums from 'The Other Side'. The first version of 'Lemonade' was born and we completed it when Alex came to London for a show we were both playing at that night.
- That show (on the 5th Feb 2010) was Decked Out's 10th Anniversary, a charity event at The Coronet for Kids Company. I was playing b2b with Xavier De Rosnay and Alex was paired with Dj Mehdi so it was debuted twice that night. The reaction kinda forced us to release the track as soon as possible.
- Despite a few people claiming they have heard that riff before, it is not a sample.
- I designed the sleeve at the 11th hour, the night before the record was pressed.
- 250 copies were pressed on transparent vinyl, and a further 500 on black. It was released on the 25th April 2010 and the vinyl sold out in a week.
- Both 'Avalanche' and 'Lemonade' were to be released as singles in their own right, with a new set of remixes and versions.
PH09 / PH09RMX