FRITZ HELDER & THE PHANTOMS with CHROMEO , FLOSSTRADAMUS , NASTY NAV and others, at the Social (1100 Queen West), Wednesday (July 11). $15 advance, more at the door. myspace.com/random_play Rating: NNNNN
Considering that Fritz Helder & the Phantoms weren't originally supposed to be a band, it's pretty impressive that they've gone on to become one of T.O.'s best-loved electro acts.
Originally, Helder put together a few tracks with a producer friend to use for a contemporary dance performance, but the quality of those early compositions and the strength of his onstage presence led some of his friends to encourage him to take it to the next level.
"I was playing a lot in bands in my early 20s, but it wasn't anything too exciting. Then I started DJing but really wanted to get back into playing with bands," recalls bassist Fierce Helder from the headquarters of the House of Helder.
"Though I had some auditions with other bands, I wasn't really feeling their music. That was the whole reason I approached Fritz about starting it, because I loved all the original material he'd been making with his producer. It was totally up my alley, and I couldn't let it pass by. I pretty much forced him to start a band."
That dance background is still front and centre: Fritz and Pastel Supernova are Nelly Furtado's onstage dancers. Their theatrical and visually exciting show has definitely grabbed people's attention.
When Fierce says, "We're not a jeans and T-shirt band," she's not kidding. But that isn't to say the music is an afterthought. Over the past couple of years they've developed their own sound and are hard at work wrapping up production on their first full-length album, which should come out in the fall.
For the new material they do more singing and songwriting, allowing their personalities to come through.
"We're working on the album right now, and all of us are now incorporated into it musically. We're all producing our own tracks and getting involved, whereas before we were just playing the music that Fritz had produced."
In the meantime, the House 0f Helder family follow up the fabulous Gay Bash party they threw for Pride with a series of album fundraiser events in their impressive Parkdale backyard over the summer.
Get on their mailing list for your invite.