PHANTOM PLANET'S JACQUES BRAUTBAR
interview by d.j. kirkbride
photograph by suzanne dinglasan

PHANTOM PLANET IS A GROUP OF LOVABLE, ROCKINí SCAMPS FROM CALIFORNIA. YOU MAY HAVE HEARD THEIR HIT SINGLE, ďCALIFORNIAĒ, OFF THEIR LAST ALBUM, THE GUEST. WELL, NOW THEY ARE BACK WITH A BRAND-SPANKINí-NEW SELF-TITLED ALBUM, A ROUGHER SOUND, AND A KICK-ASS VIDEO FROM DIRECTOR SPIKE JONZE. READ ON AS D.J. KIRKBRIDE CONDUCTS AN EMAIL INTERVIEW WITH PHANTOM PLANETíS GUITARIST, JACQUES BRAUTBAR, TO GET THE SKINNY ON THEIR MUSIC, THEIR VIDEOS, AND THE WHOLE NINJA VS. PIRATES DEBATE. SERIOUSLY. DIG IT.

D.J.: Your new album comes out in January. Nervous? Excited? Hungry? Like burritos?

Jacques: It's always exciting to release a record. I can't wait to get on the road to promote it. I am always hungry. And I love burritos.

D: The new albumís called Phantom Planet, right? The whole self-titled thing is usually for a band's first album, isn't it? So, is this like a new beginning for Phantom Planet?

J: We were never into the "self-titled debut album" idea, which is why we made a decision to name our first record. For this, our third record, we didn't want to put any words on the cover. We wanted the artwork to speak for itself. Itís actually out of necessity that the record is referred to as Phantom Planet. Otherwise, we'd refer to it as "the record with no title" or "the artwork".

D: I saw the video for your first single, "Big Brat", on our site, oddly enough. Itís great! Everyone here on staff is all abuzz about it. Where did the idea come from? Were you zany kids just wanting to make a zombie movie, and then Spike Jonze (director) said, ďHey, letís make it a video!Ē Or was it Spike's idea? Or,.. something more sinister?

J: The idea of making a zombie video goes back a while for us. It wasn't until Spike came up with "the making of the making of" idea that everything fell into place.

D: The song has a little different sound than what I associate with you. It's a little harder or harsher. Can more of that be expected on the new album?

J: Yeah. Whatever you think "Big Brat" sounds like, however you'd like to describe it; more raw, harder rocking, harsher,.. that's the overall vibe of the record. We learned a lot about what kind of band Phantom Planet is while on tour for The Guest; it's stripped down and turned up.

D: There are some lineup changes in Phantom Planet. Care to discuss? Whoís the new guy? Who are the old guys?

J: Jason (Schwartzman) left Phantom Planet to pursue a career in acting. The new guy is Jeff Conrad. He's the former drummer of The Siren Six and Big City Rock. We've known Jeff for a few years, and have always admired his playing skills. One thing led to another, and now we get to rock with Jeff fueling the fire every night. It's awesome.

D: Okay, you started this band in high school. Now youíre making it all happen. I thought Iíd be making a great living writing or making movies by the time I was 25. Now Iím 26 and writing for this tastes like chicken rag for free because my editor, Insane Wayne Chinsang, says real writers write not for money, but for creative expression. Therefore, heís going to spend all his millions on Guinness. Any words of encouragement or advice?

J: No. I think you put it well.

D: What are your tour plans for this new album?

J: Phantom Planet World Tour 2004! We win again!

D: If you werenít a rock 'n' roller, what would you be doing?

J: Hmmm,.. Iíd be a music student. Wait, I am a music student!

D: You donít have to answer this one. I mean, I do respect you as artists, you know? And this is no insult or just a goofy question for the sake of goofy questions, but I need to know: ninjas or pirates? And why? Iím really curious. Itís for my state of mind more than anything else.

J: Ninjas. Because they are the perfect stealth assassin.

D: What bands are you guys into right now?

J: Lightning Bolt, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Radiohead.

D: This is a standard tastes like chicken question that must be asked: Do dogs have lips?

J: No. They just have skin flaps.

VISIT PHANTOM PLANET HERE.

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