Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel, “If I didn’t change something, I would have turned out to be Slash”

Phantogram vocalist/keyboardist Sarah Barthel recently spoke with Marie Claire. A few excerpts from that interview follow.

On her hairstyle change:

“From the beginning, I had black hair, the simple bob with the bangs. I kind of embraced Cleopatra a lot, especially with my accessories and jewelry. Then I grew that out and tried to bleach the tips, but they turned bright orange because they’re so damaged. I’ve been growing my bangs out for 10 years. I always have them, and I just love and hate them so much. Then I chopped that stuff off and started growing my roots out and bleaching them white so I could have white and black. Then it fell out, and my physical therapist also told me I needed to stop head-banging as much because it messed my neck up. So I needed a different kind of vibe and energy on stage, so I decided to cut something different. I’d gotten so used to that being a part of my performance that it’s caused some long-term damage, so I have to think about that now. That’s when I went short. It’s different, it was smart, but it’s hard to not head-bang on stage. It’s really hard.”

On which look feels most true to herself:

“I think all of them do, and as an artist, it’s natural and normal to transition and grow as long as it’s organic and real. I was stuck with that bob haircut for way too long. It was one of those things where everyone was pumped to see it go (not me). If I didn’t change something, I would have turned out to be Slash. Slash is Slash. I would’ve had to have the cut forever. I wanted to switch things up and also do things differently on stage.”

On being one of the few women on *any* festival lineup this year:

“It’s kind of always that way. Right now, it’s a weird year for festival lineups, and I think everyone maybe had a little realization of like, ‘Well, how do they pick these bands and the headliners, because it’s always like the three main bands?’ For me, it’s normal. There are a few [women], and we all love each other, and we all get together, and we’re like ‘F*cking yeah!’ It’s cool to be the only female. Me being a woman is exciting to people, because it’s just woman power. I play in a band, and people don’t see it as much—they just see pop stars, and if you’re female you should be a Taylor Swift or something. But I’m not that, and I don’t want to be that. I represent a different part of the music industry, so I’m at festivals with all the dudes while Taylor Swift’s at all the arenas playing for kids. It’s just different, but we’re all doing our thing.”

Read the entire interview at this location.

Phantogram launched their summer tour on May 17th with the band’s first show in Los Angeles, CA. They are currently promoting their latest album, Three, released on October 7, 2016. The album debuted at number 9 on The Billboard 200 album chart, selling 25,000 copies in its first week of release. The duo’s previous effort, Voices, topped out at number 11 in 2014 (w/ 1st week sales of 21,000), while their 2010 debut, Eyelid Movies, did not chart. The first single “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” can be heard via the embedded clip above.

Phantogram 2017 Tour Dates