But Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel, the pair who make up Phantogram and who grew up in the even smaller nearby municipality of Greenwich, have flourished in Saratoga. In fact, the town itself isn't rural enough for their taste—they drive almost every day another 45 minutes into upstate farmland to a barn they call Harmony Lodge to write and record. Serving as their homemade studio/practice space/think tank/bat cave, the barn is equipped with various samplers, tapes, records, synths, drums, and both percussive and stringed instruments. It's there that Phantogram allows their natural surroundings and metropolitan influences to meld together creating beautiful, beat-driven, dreamlike pop songs.
When describing both the lyrics and sonics of their music, and the process of making it, Phantogram frequently reference dreams: "We ran across a description of dreams somewhere that used the phrase 'eyelid movies' and it really struck us both as something that fit our music," notes Barthel, while Carter explains further: "Daydreams, the spots you see moving around when your eyes are closed tight, and the shapes you see in the world—those are the kinds of things we want to surface in your mind when you hear a Phantogram song."
Hard to say from song to song whether the dreams are entirely pleasant or nightmarish (there tends to be a bleak undercurrent of loneliness and isolation in much of the band's work, counter-balanced by bright moments of swagger and joy), but this music is certainly vivid and exciting—springing as it does from an unpredictable mix of technological and organic roots.