Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook
WHO is The Phantom Sound?
“My name is Marisa Schlussel. I have always known I wanted to play music since I was a little kid. I played bass guitar first when I was 12, then picked up guitar not too long after that, but I played bass in most of the bands I was in, and did backing vocals.”
Marisa is currently completing her first solo self-titled album, produced by Ken Stringfellow (Posies, Big Star, R.E.M.) with Clem Burke, drummer of Blondie, playing on several of the tracks.
“I met Ken when I was living in Berlin in 2013 – she recalls – I always admired his career in The Posies and Big Star. I got the nerve to ask him if he would produce the band I was playing bass in in Berlin, I sent him a recording, he said yes. We had planned to do this for a couple of weeks getting everything sorted, then…I quit the band. It just wasn’t right, they had different goals than I had. So, I put my tail between my legs, while I was bawling my eyes out walking home, to tell Ken it wasn’t going to happen, but then a couple of conversations later, I found myself the next month in a Berlin studio with him recording songs for my solo project, The Phantom Sound.”
“I had asked friends and people I knew when I lived in L.A. to help out on the album here and there. I had Pierre De Reeder from Rilo Kiley play bass on a couple songs…then one night when we were recording Get to Me in Ken’s Paris studio, I had mentioned that I heard a “Blondie style” back beat happening on that song…Ken then said, “Why don’t we ask Clem?”. So, long story short, Clem listened to the tracks and said yes, he would do it, and he ended up playing drums on 6 tracks off the album.”
WHAT is she singing about?
“I write about personal things, personal experiences” Marisa tells us. “I find it really hard to write when it’s something I haven’t been through myself or know about. I can sympathise and empathise, but I haven’t tried that in my writing yet, at least for this album. I had a lot to say about my own experiences, so there wasn’t room for anything else.”
Her new single Get to Me “is about fear, and how sometimes what we see in reality isn’t really what is happening. We make our own realities something worse than they are, and it’s a cycle that is hard to get out of, and can be crippling.” Musically she is inspired by late 70’s punk, early 80’s new wave “I think that comes across in the single and the album as a whole.”
WHERE is she from?
“I am from Los Angeles, California, but have lived in New York City as well…eventually ended up in Berlin, Germany, and now London, England. I think all the places I have lived have shaped me musically, but I have a special place in my heart for NYC, as that is the place where music really started taking shape for me.”
“When I moved to Berlin, that is where I knew that there was nothing else for me. I had to be creative. I had to write music, I had to write words. I ended up writing around 30 songs during the year, and 12 ended up on the album. I think it was good that this recording process was slower than normal for most albums…it allowed me to contemplate more and gave me the time I needed to flesh out my emotions, and what I needed to get out and say.”
WHY ‘The Phantom Sound’?
“I thought of that name while living in Berlin, and it’s perfect for me. A phantom sound is kind of like a phantom limb. People that have lost a limb, sometimes feel as if the limb they lost is actually there…same with sound in a way. There are mysterious voices and other noises within music and sound that you think are there, but it’s a sound created by putting all these different sounds together. This happens to me a lot…maybe I am crazy 🙂 but…I think it’s cool…”
WHEN can I see her live?
“I am working on making live shows happen…stay tuned. I really want these live shows to be special. I have an idea for a stage show, something a few steps up then what you might normally expect from a club show, that involves getting the right people together to make happen. I think big, it sometimes doesn’t always work out the way I imagine, but why not try…dream big, I say…!!”
Watch The Phantom Sound’s video for debut single Get to Me