The Phantoms Return With More Melancholy And Their Finest Work To Date


Phantoms is a traditional hometown success story, but it takes on a slightly different form in the world’s entertainment capital.


Vinnie Pergola and Kyle Kaplan, both Los Angeles residents, began their careers in television as child actors. Pergola appeared on That’s So Raven and The Bernie Mac Show, while Kaplan appeared on CSI: Miami and Hannah Montana.

“Their performance at The Fonda in 2007 changed everything,” Kaplan says. We needed to learn how to compose electronic music.


Following that sold-out, steamy event — the pinnacle of the L.A. bloghouse era — the then-17-year-old guys took the name of a Justice song and began recording dance music as Phantom. Because there were two of them, they evolved into Phantoms throughout time. They were young, but they immersed themselves in the L.A. scene, frequenting Cinespace Tuesdays and Banana Split Sundays — trendy child party hotspots at the time — and using counterfeit IDs to enter concerts, even opening for DJ AM.

“I feel incredibly grateful that we were able to be a part of that moment,” Pergola continues. Then came the EDM boom, which Kaplan describes as “pretty much the end.” Phantoms took a break, Pergola enrolled in Santa Monica College, and Kaplan resumed her acting career.


“Things were not going well,” he continues, “and I was unhappy there,” he says. “I simply want to make music.” “Let’s just do it and figure it out,” I said.

Phantoms had been reactivated by the middle of the 2010s, with the brothers recruiting friends from their performing days as collaborators. Nicolas Braun, Kaplan’s former roommate who participated in 10 Things I Hate About You and now plays Cousin Greg on Succession, provided vocals for Phantoms’ 2015 single “Broken Halo.” Hayley Kiyoko sang on a song from their self-titled debut album in 2017, while Vanessa Hudgens sung on “Lay With Me” from their 2018 album.

“We were the working class of child performers, not the stars,” Kaplan recounts on a warm Thursday afternoon on a rooftop patio in Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighbourhood. After meeting at an acting event when they were both 15 years old, Pergola and Kaplan formed a rock band in their parents’ garages in Encino and Simi Valley. When they discovered Justice, the planet shifted on its axis.

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