Phantogram at Coachella: Duo Talks Summer Festival Run & Kardashian Sightings

Amy Harris/Invision/AP
Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter of Phantogram perform at Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Indio, Calif. 

As the summer festival bills were released this year, it seemed like Phantogram was on all of them; the indie-electro duo (and their touring band) have become a stalwart thanks to their always-energetic, crowd-pumping shows and a bevy of alt-radio hits that have moved them towards the top on lineups across the country. This year is the band’s third Coachella appearance -- twice as the duo, and once with their Big Grams project with Outkast’s Big Boi -- and it’s become a staple in the band’s touring schedule.

“It’s our intro for summer festivals,” singer Sarah Barthel told Billboard on Friday (April 21), before the band’s set later in the night on the Outdoor Theater stage. “We’re pumped about it.”

Coachella sets the scene for a summer that will be spent, in large part, on festival stages across the country. “Sasquatch, I can’t wait for,” Barthel said. “then we're going to do Lollapalooza, which is going to be epic.”

“Firefly is going to be fun,” added Barthel’s partner-in-rock Josh Carter. "We’re doing Reading and Leeds festivals [in the U.K.], and Lollapalooza.”

“And playing shows, hopefully forever,” Barthel added.

“We've grown as a touring band,” said Carter. “We've just toured, and grown organically, and built a fan base in a very natural way, not a this kind of Internet buzz sensation where all of a sudden people just start showing up to shows -- it’s been very gradual, very grassroots, and we take a bit of pride in that.”

The duo is currently working on new music for Phantogram -- and have confirmed there’s also a second record on the way for the Big Grams project, as well as some benefit singles to promote suicide prevention and awareness, and some TBA covers that will be released later this year.

But the focus is on touring and festival shows -- and there are reasons, other than the timing, that makes Coachella special for the band. “We don’t see Kardashians at any other festival,” Barthel said, saying she spotted one of the famous sisters at last week’s fest.

“It was backstage after our show,” Carter said.

“She was just there. Doing her thing. Doing what she does,” Barthel added. “So... yeah.”


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