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Asheville, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017 | SELF

Asheville, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2017
Band Rock Indie




"Fantømex: Consent Agenda"

Citing Influence from post hardcore bands such as At the Drive-In and mewithoutYou, Western North Carolina punks, Fantømex, emerge with their strong debut album, Consent Agenda, an eleven-track set of punk rock ferocity. The band has been active since 2017, formed by longtime best friends, guitarist Isaac Crouch and drummer Edwin Mericle, and completed by vocalist and lyricist Abigail Taylor, together with bassist Max Miller.

Not shy about their propensity to fast rhythms and an overall enjoyable kind of intensity and voluminousness, Fantømex's writing and presence are characterized by the band's ardent delivery which is even more augmented through Taylor's sharp vocal poise and bold enunciation. Stirring up memories of the post punk acuteness of bands like Au Pairs and Delta 5, the sound of Fantømex adds a layer of technical dexterity and complexity to the already intriguing honesty of their compositions.

Consent Agenda is lead by single Martha's Favorite Colour, a highlight piece accompanied by a DIY video put together in quarantine. The band describe its lyrical content: "The lyrics behind the song deal with growing up in a small, southern town and the ongoing struggle with religion; feeling at once both very at odds with and somehow in need of it. It's about a love-hate relationship."

Other album standouts include the dynamic opener, Yesterday is Dead, the seven-minute slow-burner, Morning Glory, and the witch-hunt-themed track, The Ballad of Black Phillip, inspired by the film, The Witch. - destroy//exist

"Keeping It Real vol. 9"

Hailing from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Fantømex is a female-fronted punk rock foursome. After making the conscious decision to move from playing in other bands to form their own group, Edwin Mericle (drums) and Isaac Crouch (guitar) founded Fantømex. Vocalist Abigail Taylor soon joined them with thought-provoking lyrics and a compelling voice. Not long after, Max Miller (bass) rounded off the quartet with a punchy bassline and imaginative songwriting skills. Fantømex released their debut album Consent Agenda this year.

A combination of L7, Courtney Love and At The Drive-In, Fantømex has a sound that can blast you out of your seat. Aggressive and lively, Taylor’s throaty vocals blend well with the instrumentation – it’s easy to see why they are so popular as a live band. Amidst all the energy, Fantømex are lyrically insightful and reflective. Consent Agenda examines issues such as mental health, religion, female empowerment, climate change, Trump and much more. - The Other Side Reviews

"Fantømex’s ‘Consent Agenda’ Perfects the Track List Order"

~This Fab Four takes activism to a melodic level.~
Fantømex, a rising band of four in Western North Carolina, released Consent Agenda which comprises of 11 tracks in total. The band has received critical recognition for their work, being recommended by one of our favorites in an interview : “Fantomex comes to mind because they just released their album and it’s absolutely fantastic! They’re really incredible musicians.” — Aimee Oliver of Harriers of Discord.
If you’re looking to jam to tracks that portray the mood of our times — #MeToo, Trump, etc. — this is the perfect album for you.
Listen to the album from start to finish. We promise that you don’t regret it. - The Riff

"Fantømex Makes Music Fit for Our Times"

~This Fab Four takes activism to a melodic level.~
In the day and age of streaming, the art of the album is missing. In fact, some go to argue that vinyl is better as it forces you to jam from start to finish.
But listen to Fantømex’s Consent Agenda and you’ll see that they’re the exception to the new rule.
Fantømex, a group of four featuring Edwin Mericle at drums, Isaac Crouch at guitar, Abigail Taylor at vocals, and Max Miller at bass are based between Asheville and Morganton, North Carolina.
It is no secret that they are — even in a pandemic — making moves in our crazy times. Consent Agenda was just released two weeks ago from today and they’ve been featured on the Holy Crap Records podcast.
We talked to Fantømex to learn more about their journey as rising musicians.
Noah: How did Fantømex start?
Edwin: Isaac and I went to high school together, where we formed out first band — an instrumental prog group called Pax Imperia. We’ve been close since then, touring with the band Israel Darling during college and jamming together just the two of us occasionally. I’ve played in numerous bands since I moved to Asheville in 2007 but none of them were really ‘my band’. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed everything I ever did, but I wanted something more, something that wasn’t ‘someone else’s band.’
So I called up Isaac and said, ‘lets do something.’ We started writing songs together and practicing. I think knowing each other for so long and having similar musical tastes made writing really easy.
Isaac kept mentioning that he thought his girlfriend, Abigail’s singing, would fit really well with what we were doing. She had a jazz and folk background but Isaac believed she could really stretch and sing something heavier. I remember he did a test of her vocals with our song Morning Glory. He sent it to me and I was blown away. I don’t know what idea I had for a vocalist was at the time but Abby surpassed those expectations immediately.
As far as bass, we started playing a buddy of mine from work, Schuyler, but he moved to Durham, NC to go back to school at work. Isaac then got his friend Matt to come in and play bass; they had been in a previous band together. Matt was awesome! He picked up our stuff fine and was a lot of fun to play with. We played with Matt for about a year before he had to move for employment. Matt is on the album we just put out, Consent Agenda.
We then put a few ads out looking for a bass player and Max hit us up. He came to one of our shows and we got along swimmingly. Max sent us recordings of him absolutely raging over the material we had sent him — and we knew this was the guy. Max had previously been in a mathy/prog group in Asheville, called Galena as a guitarist. Bringing on Max changed our band for the better, Max has so many creative juices in him, he really makes writing new songs more fun and easier.
Since then we’ve been playing shows around Western North Carolina (until COVID) and working on finishing our album, which came out on April 20th.
Isaac: I’ll second the general feeling of wanting to write and play music that truly excited us, after years of playing in other bands. Not to say anything bad about those bands, I had a whole lot of fun, but it was refreshing to create something that scratched a more energetic itch that those other bands weren’t able reach for me personally. We kind of both went through a similar musical puberty together in high school which I think gave us very close alignment on what we like to listen to and what kind of music we want to create.
I actually met Abby at a show of her other band that plays folk/americana — Sycamore Bones — and was always curious of what her voice might sound over some more distortion-driven, heavier music. I didn’t realize how well it would end up fitting with the music and adding an extra dimension to it that didn’t exist before.
Abigail: When Isaac and Edwin asked me to join as the vocalist and lyricist, I was both really excited and super nervous. Writing and singing for this type of music is like nothing I’d ever done before, and I think I had this kind of narrow view of who I was supposed to be or could be as an artist. So I felt awkward at first as I was figuring out what I wanted to say and how I wanted to sound, and how to make it fit with the intricate math rock that they were pumping out. But it was an intriguing challenge and it didn’t take long to feel like it was a natural fit…especially when we started playing live. Performing these songs and dancing around and falling on the floor and singing pretty one minute and screaming the next is honestly all I have ever wanted to do.
“The important thing I’ve learned is that we have to keep at a constant hustle and to understand that submission declines and the negative opinions of strangers are just that. If you let every ‘no’ get to you, you will fail…..and then what was it all for? Our losses from this might be big and sometimes feel burdensome, but the wins we get, even if tiny, are amazing and fuel our momentum to march on.” — Edwin Mericle
Noah: I like how you narrate this ‘musical puberty’ that you went through. Can you tell me more about what changed between high school to today regarding your musical tastes and influences?
Isaac: I think we both, along with our wider friend circle in high school, really got into the indie rock/post-hardcore scene of the 2000's which provided a lot of inspiration for playing music and starting a band. Groups like At The Drive-In/Mars Volta, Radiohead, mewithoutYou, Blood Brothers, Minus the Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, and Explosions in the Sky formed a basis for our tastes in music.
For me at least, my tastes have broadened significantly — I fucking love 50's doo-wop pop music and Motown now, and I went through a big 70's prog phase. But those influences still form the basis of my songwriting influences when I sit down and play guitar. So Edwin and I experiencing a lot of the same music during those years made it so when we got back together more recently, we were on the same page.
Edwin: I don’t think my tastes have really changed a whole lot, from the list of bands Isaac mentioned, as far as influencing our music. They might have, like Isaac said, broadened some.
I really got into Queens of the Stone Age in college and I love a good Viking metal band and have found classical music, especially Beethoven, to be incredibly influential. I got my bachelor’s degree in jazz percussion at UNC Asheville. I don’t listen to jazz a whole lot but learning the techniques in college have definitely enhanced the way I play and think about music. I think overall, the biggest difference in playing with Isaac now and playing together back in high school is that we are simply much better and mature musicians now. We actually have the chops and mindset to play our favorite kind of music now.
I think the catalyst band, of those Isaac listed, that set a standard for influence is The Mars Volta. They changed the way I thought that music could be played, especially for drums. Things can be creative and prog-y and chaotic and still sound beautiful. Jon Theodore, TMV’s first drummer, to this day still holds the bar for me as far as striving to be as good as someone.

Fantømex kicking ass while performing live, per usual.
Noah: With a lot of influences and techniques in mind, how do you go about creating a song? Does it start from a specific instrument, or even the lyrics?
Isaac: Most of the time they start on guitar, although every now and then we’ll start with a drum beat Edwin comes up with. The verses of Two-Face started like this, he had an idea for a beat that has three measures of 7 counts and then one of 5 counts and we went from there.
At first it was just me coming up with parts on my own and taking them to Edwin and we’d arrange the song together. Sometimes we’ll come take a part from an improv jam and use it in a song, although that’s kind of rare. We used to do that a lot in high school but I really enjoy a more intentional writing process with more structured songs. Vocals usually come last — we’ll record a demo and Abby will do her thing, and once she’s got something we’ll see if there’s any room for some harmonies or background vocals. Usually my singing parts only come about when she gets stuck.
I’m excited about the newer stuff we’ve been writing because Max has brought a lot of his ideas to the table as well. Since he’s joined we’ve been doing a lot more writing on the spot, during a practice. One of us will bring a verse or a chorus, or multiple parts, in and we’ll work on the arrangement and adding other parts to it together.
Edwin: We also don’t live in the same city, Isaac and Abby live about an hour from me and Max is in-between us. It is not always as easy to throw in more practices than the ones we have scheduled. So we try to record everything we can and put it up on Google Drive. Not always good recordings but good enough so that we can remember the progress we’ve made on a song and/or work on adding ideas to parts or riffs that need work, on our own time.
There’s a lot of sending riffs and ideas out online to help drive the next practice forward in writing new material.
I’m also a sucker for odd times and weird structures. I want the music to be fun and challenging. Something that well keep my chops up and my mind sharp.
Abigail: I mainly write poetry, and rarely write melodies or songs of my own. So that somehow helped me when I started writing lyrics for the stuff Isaac and Edwin were creating. It’s like I start with a blank slate and each song feels like a brand new little puzzle I’ve got to figure out, and that’s such a fun way to write a song to me. When I listen to our songs on Consent Agenda, it’s fun to see how the writing process has evolved in certain ways since we’ve been playing together.
Personally, I can follow the growth of my confidence as a writer and performer from the first song we wrote to the more recent ones. The moments in which I just let loose, get weird, and scream are currently my favorites because I didn’t even imagine I could do that before I joined the band.
It has also been so freeing that the guys are like, ‘Here’s a song…have fun.’ And I do.
Max: While being relatively new to the band it’s essentially what everyone else described. Someone plays a riff, we all agree that riff fucking rocks, we build around that riff creating a loose song structure, and make a shitty recording of it and meditate on it.
After that it’s cherry picking the best parts to refine them to create a whole new bridge or chorus or verse. Re-record that, send it to Abby where she ties a bow on it.

Noah: Abigail, how would you say that your songwriting has evolved over your time at Fantømex?
Abigail: Starting out, I guess you could say I played it safe. I slowly dipped one more toe into my own weirdness little by little. I really fretted over lyrics at first, taking lots of time to iron out every little detail, but still not super confident about what I was trying to say.
My band mate in Sycamore Bones, Andrew Massey, who is a really prolific songwriter, encouraged me to try more stream of consciousness writing and to try and just let ideas out without judging them. Doing that more made me more comfortable with myself as a writer and allowed me to be more honest. I also gradually played around more and more with my voice. I’d been used to just singing prettily. Letting myself be okay with my voice not sounding perfect or ‘pretty,’ and playing around with a screech here or a pitchy yell there helped me find new ways to write lyrics and new ways to sing them.
Noah: What music is Fantømex making right now, if any?
Isaac: Although our album was just released, most of the songs were written over a year ago. So we have a decent handful of songs written since then.
We’re not radically altering our sound or anything, but I’d say we’re definitely experimenting with our heavier and faster tendencies more so lately.
Like any art, our music is an outlet for emotion. I think Abby and I both pay too much attention to what’s going on in the world, and we’re lucky to have this band as a way to channel some of the anger and frustration that results from that. Almost as a form of therapy. I think it definitely comes through the music, and with everything that has been going on lately, the meaner, more energetic and technical sides of our writing has taken more prominence since we wrote the songs on Consent Agenda.
Part of that has to do with Max coming in to the mix as well, because he comes up with all sorts of weird and nasty riffs. Being stuck in quarantine for a while, and not having much self control when it comes to putting down my phone and ignoring the the news… I think I could really use a good practice or show right about now.

Noah: How does it work to be in the same band and not be able to let’s say meet each other everyday and jam? Are there any pros towards being a ‘remote work band’?
Edwin: Really just constant scheduling and adapting. We try to alternate our weekly practices with the different towns. One week we’ll do it at Isaac’s and the next we’ll go to Max’s…but that doesn’t always work and we have to change on the fly sometimes. But everybody understands and we all care about what we’re doing that the travel is worth it.
It’s also why using the Google Drive is so important. If we can’t practice one week, we can at least try and throw ideas at each other through that. The pros to us living in different spots is there are two places our band can call home: Asheville and Morganton, North Carolina. It gives us two sets of unique fans.
The quarantine and working remote has definitely made things harder to get new material finished. In our current state, we definitely write better when we can work of each other, playing live in a room. But we also have a plethora of ideas on our Google Drive and this has been a great time to revisit those and ‘clean house’ — see what works and what doesn’t.
Noah: What are the unique differences between the fan bases in Asheville and in Morganton?
Edwin: All in all, Asheville is just bigger. There is a huge art scene here, whether it is music or art or crafts or food or film, Asheville has a lot of culture. There is such a variety of bands to play with here and different places to play.
Growing up, Morganton was super boring and really had nothing going on. Now it is an up-and-coming part of Western North Carolina. The same crowd of people that are our age, who come to the Morganton shows are the same type of people who come to the Asheville shows. In Morganton, for now at least, there are just not as many people to play with or as many places to play. I feel like it is something that just comes with having a bigger city. More people, more options, more varieties.
Because Morganton is smaller, our shows there are a little more intimate, maybe. Most of the time we play there, we know almost every guy and gal at the show and in a way that changes the show experience. Those people know who we are and are there for us…and we know them and that close relationship with the crowd can really make a show great. Not that we don’t get that in Asheville, and we are way more likely have new people discover our music by coming to an Asheville show — which is amazing in its own way. But with a bigger city and so many other musical opportunities for people to choose from, the chance of having a good crowd isn’t always guaranteed.
Noah: Let’s talk about Consent Agenda. One thing I noticed is that the album order is very on point, as in going from Martha’s Favorite Colour to Starbender was well placed. How do you go about the organization of the album?
Isaac: That’s one of those things I really notice about my favorite albums, so it’s awesome to hear you say that!
I think we started with the boundary conditions, the first and the last track, and thought about how we wanted to introduce folks to our music and then what that last impression would be. Then we filled in from there. We had a tentative track list going early on during recording that we only made a few major changes to. For instance, we ending up not using one of the songs, then going back in and recording Martha’s Favorite Colour later in the process, so that led to a small revision in ordering. We initially thought the interlude track would be a shorter part before the final solo in Two-Face, but it ended up not really fitting so we were going to put it as an unlisted secret track, then it found a home right in the middle as kind of a breathing point.
After we did that the overall beginning, middle and ending, and how each individual track’s ending transitioned to the beginning of the next, felt right. A lot of it is that sixth sense or whatever you use when it comes to music in general, you just kind go with what feels good to you.
Also Edwin and I wrote the main gist of Yesterday is Dead a few years before we started the band, so that probably had something to do with it being the opener as well.
Edwin: I know that, at least during the end of the recording process, I just listened to the songs over and over, trying to see how songs fit together, making suggestions to the group, really trying to find the right feel and disbursement of dynamics within the songs. Like Isaac said, order is important. We wanted the album to flow just right, and I think we found that.

Noah: Let’s discuss digital distribution. How do you go about getting people to listen to your music on the Web instead of just Morganton and Asheville?
Edwin: We have our album on all major streaming platforms: Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and YouTube.
Under normal circumstances we would gain fans and spread our music through touring the album….but that isn’t really an option right now; so we have to find ways to reach people online. About a week or two before the album came out, I began scouring the Web for places to submit our music to: mainly playlists and blogs. There were a few radio stations — I know that a radio show called The Sonic Blender on CILU Radio (102.7 FM) out of Ontario, CAN is planning on playing our song Two-Face on the air within the next week or two. The music video we made for Martha really helped spread our music outside of Western North Carolina. When that came out, I put a few ads out on Facebook and Instagram targeted to places we’ve never been — known big music cities and such: New York, LA, Austin, London, etc. We got a decent amount of attention from that. I’m still continuing to work on getting our album out there.
We don’t have a publisher or an agent or a manager or anything, it’s just us. We’re having to figure out a bunch of stuff we didn’t know how to do: where to go with our material, how to talk to various amounts of different people we’ve never met, when to push, when to pull….most of the time, I feel like I’m blindly shooting and hoping it makes it into the goal. The important thing I’ve learned is that we have to keep at a constant hustle and to understand that submission declines and the negative opinions of strangers are just that. If you let every ‘no’ get to you, you will fail…..and then what was it all for? Our losses from this might be big and sometimes feel burdensome, but the wins we get, even if tiny, are amazing and fuel our momentum to march on.
Noah: So what is the goal of brand marketing for the band? Are you looking to become nationwide? Or are you looking for a smaller group but of super fans? What’s Fantømex’s ambition for exposure?
Edwin: I feel like that is a hard question to answer. I don’t feel like it is something we’ve ever discussed in depth.
Our one true goal is to make music; music we love that we hope other people will love. As far marketing ourselves, I think the goal is to realistically just try as hard as we can. Of course, we want to have as many people listen to our music as humanly possible, no matter where, who or how; as well as see us play live. In my head, I assume that the recognition will be a slow build, gain local fans and then hopefully watch that fandom extend to other places. If we become nationally famous or something, then hell yeah! At the same time, I’ve been in this game for a while and realistically, I know that fame is hard to come by. I will take every victory I can and keep pushing on. If we don’t make it big, I won’t be any less proud of what we have done.
Isaac: I think the dream of making a living doing what we love is there, which we can’t do without widespread exposure of course. But first and foremost the goal is to have fun and create something we can be proud of.

Noah: What have you noticed about the artists who do end up becoming ‘famous’? Is there anything in common that you have seen?
Isaac: Seems to me to be a mixture of talent and connections.
If you have a lot of talent you’re going to get noticed and the music will get out there. If you don’t, but have the right connections or a lot of money, that can still take you pretty far. Proximity to a big metro area helps as well since you have access to a lot of people that can see you live, however I think that’s less important these days.
Edwin: I feel like that can have a pretty broad answer and go a bunch of directions, or maybe I’m misreading it, but I think one thing that people associate with gaining fame is a change in state-of-mind, in some one or another. That greater recognition opens up doors everywhere, both good and bad. It gives you a power to influence that you didn’t have before. What you do with that influence is important.
I don’t know really any famous people but the two examples of people who have gained a little bit of recognition, use their power for the greater good of their community. An old friend of mine that I used to be in a band with in college, Molly Burch, lives in Austin, TX now and is really starting to take off as a singer. She’s toured all over the country and across seas. What really strikes a good chord with me is when I see Molly using her reach to her many fans to speak out about unjust activities and sometimes political corruption down in Texas.
There is also a podcast, called Holy Crap Records that is based out of Asheville. They play and discuss underground music from all over the country. Though I don’t think they consider themselves ‘famous’ by any means, they definitely have a pretty big following, especially around Western North Carolina. In the past year, they’ve used their voice to form a non-profit group called Musicians for Overdose Prevention, whose goal is to get the overdose-reversal drug, Naloxone, into as many bars and venues as they possibly can.
Noah: I really liked what you said before about artists using their influence for good. Earlier in the interview you discussed that you use your music as an outlet to address your concerns of the current. What are some of these concerns and what examples from your music can you elaborate on regarding issues of the time?
Abigail: Just like most music and poetry and art, I think our lyrics definitely reflect the time in which they were written…within the past couple years. Bad Brakes is one of the songs that sticks out to me as far as dealing with current issues, and also represents a big moment in my life personally. I was following the Kavanaugh hearings pretty closely when I wrote those lyrics and I was kind of experiencing my own moment of renewed empowerment. I’d just finally mustered the courage to tell off this creepy guy — to put it kindly — at the bar I bartended at, which had been long overdue. Movements like #MeToo are empowering and should not be underestimated.
There’s also a lot of religious imagery and a lot of ‘witch hunt’ imagery happening in this album, which I know wouldn’t have been the same if they hadn’t been written in the era of Trump. I sort of realized later on what a lot of lyrics meant after I wrote them — which happens when you try a more stream of consciousness method like I mentioned earlier.
I realized that a lot of them are about struggling with mental health and with the love-hate relationship with the small-town conservative/religious [area] I — and I think most of us — grew up in. The Ballad of Black Phillip is inspired by the film The Witch, but also the images that come to mind when people of power and privilege say they’re the victim of a witch-hunt. We also kind of deal with America’s obsession with guns in Yesterday is Dead and the decimation of our habitat in Postcards from Space.

Noah: Max, can you talk to us about your transition from not being in the band to joining to now? What is that like?
Max: I’d say it was smooth and simple in all honesty. Like most bands nowadays, Craigslist is a huge tool for finding other talent. I found these guys through a Craigslist post & seen their name on local bills before.
I hit them up via email a few times talking about my interest in joining them, what are the expectations, influences, practice scheduling, etc. They gave me a few songs to rehearse to before the audition in which I took it a step further and recorded my interpretation of playing bass versus mimicking the old bassist and sent to them for review before we ever met.
A few days later I went to see them play a show before my first audition about a week later.
The first audition was just instrumental and feeling each other out, personality and skill wise. Second one was all together we did about three to four songs.
After that I was inducted!
I was pretty nervous as I have primarily been playing guitar for 17 years but love rhythm parts so I dicked around on bass a lot.
Now? I feel at home with these folks and we can jam effectively as well as feel where the other person is at when live. They have been super welcoming of me revising old parts, introducing song ideas, and more.
Word of advice for any person auditioning: Determine expectations of them and what you plan to bring to the table, and don’t put on airs.
Noah: Any bands you know of that we should listen to? Can be or not be in the local scene.
Edwin: In Morganton: Andrew Massey and the Midnight Americans. Andrew plays bass in Abby’s other band, Sycamore Bones — which is also dope!. He is an amazing musician and fronts this other project. He just put out a six song EP that is so good.
The Benson. A Morganton fusion trio whose talent surpasses the small town they live in. These guys need to be playing jazz clubs in New Orleans or New York. Holy shit they have some chops.
Dynamo. In. Your. Face . Rock and Roll. Such a wall of sound. And that sounds has so many faces: they’re metal one minute, 80's rock another, Southern rock one and then a punk song comes out of nowhere. But it all sounds cohesive and true to them. They are such a good band put on a hell of a show.
In Asheville, Ancient Ethel. A two piece from Asheville that has more stage presence than most 4 member bands. The play nasty-good blues rock that gives you all the feels. They also put out an EP last year that is raw, lo-fi goodness.
Shutterings. One of the only other math-y bands we’ve played with in Asheville and we love them. Take Minus the Bear and put Omar Rodriguez-Lopez on guitar and Danny Carry on drums and you get the greatness that is Shutterings.
Ugly Runner. I had the opportunity to fill in on drums for a little bit while they were looking for a permanent drummer — I didn’t have the time to commit long term. Brit-rock sound with some of the the most intricate, yet subtle and smooth song arrangements I’ve ever played. I love these guys and they make such great, great music.
I know you guys wrote a whole thing on Harriers of Discord but I just want to emphasis how much we love that band and how freaking good they are. I know they’re coming out with some new music and I’m super excited about! - The Riff

"Fantømex – DREAM TOUR"

Looking through the other Dream Tour articles on Digital Tour Bus, we went with a slightly different approach due to the current worldwide quarantine. We haven’t been in the same room for over a month, so to make things easier and more fluid, as far as communicating, we decided to each pick a band/artist we would love to bring on tour with us.

Guitarist – Isaac: Fugazi
Going through their discography from first to last, you can hear the transition away from 80’s hardcore punk that inspired all the great post-hardcore bands that sprung up afterward. They also had that DIY-at-all-costs philosophy that I think inspired thousands of bands to just get out there and make it happen without relying on big labels. I know my own tastes, writing style, and ethics wouldn’t be what they are without Fugazi paving the way, so it would be fascinating to tour with them and experience it firsthand.

Singer – Abigail: David Bowie
Though our sounds are far from similar if I could tour with and simply just meet one artist it would be Bowie. His music, lyrics, and theatrics have always been somewhat of an obsession of mine and I can see now how much he’s inspired the way I write and perform. It’s fun to think about what it would be like to have toured with him and watched him live as a performer and performance artist. I also love how he was continually recreating himself and introducing his fans to the many sides of Bowie.

Bassist – Max: The Chariot
The Chariot is a Punk-Metal band that is the pinnacle of raw live music for me. From going to many of their live shows that were either played in a small room on a rug right in front of you or a fully packed venue, they brought the same chaos or un-distilled energy that I believe can’t be matched from any other band. Meeting them at their shows has always been a treat because of how down to earth they all are as well. Lastly, they have always pushed the envelope in the punk and hardcore realm of songwriting that has developed a cult following from its fans.

Drummer – Edwin: Queens of the Stone Age
When I think about touring, I want to have fun and I can’t think of another band that would be more fun to be on tour with than Queens of the Stone Age. Queens has always been one of my favorite bands and the appeal of the band extends to more than just their music. Their songs hit hard, their riffs are rocking and catchy, and above all, they never take themselves too seriously. Josh Homme is hilarious and always seems to have a great time in everything he does. In addition, their current drummer, Jon Theodore, has been my biggest inspiration since he played with The Mars Volta. It would be amazing to meet and learn from him. - Digital Tour Bus

"Fantømex ‘Postcards from Space’ : Raging glimpse of do’s and don’ts of our lives, if in a soup of irreverence."

Off of our debut album, ‘Consent Agenda’, Fantømex’ single ‘Postcards from Space’ “is a sort of day dream about earth being left behind one day when humans begin to venture into other worlds after using up all of her resources, allowing her to finally regenerate.”

Western North Carolina based, conceived in 2017 by guitarist Isaac Crouch and longtime friend and drummer Edwin Mericle, the dominoes of time and space pushed the project to what it is today. With the dynamic earthiness of Abigail Taylor’s vocals and bass from Max Miller, the quartet is a raging glimpse of do’s and don’ts of our lives, if in a soup of irreverence.

With the growl of ‘Postcards from Space’, Fantømex bridges the gap between sounds like Sløtface and Fiona Apple. And when Fantømex brings the grunge rock into a shimmering expanse, you witness an unmitigated surge in attitude and gumption.

‘Postcards from Space’ is a lot of things. But one thing that it is in our minds is that it simply keeps you in rivets.

Emotions run dry, love depletes. The rioting goodness of Fantømex is here to stay. - comeherefloyd


“Biting guitar riffs covered in fuzzy psychedelic effects, punchy driving bass and infinitely complex drum beats make up the music of Fantømex. Add to that Abigail Taylor’s vocals, every bit as demanding on record as they are live, and you’ve got something that is more than just complex for complexity's sake. Fantømex carves out a space beside Math Rock that is more diverse and adventurous than previous pioneers of the genre. Essentially, this is an At The Drive-In fever dream after too many cups of coffee. This is music that you can stage dive or dance to and quite honestly, it will make you want to do both.” - City Daze Music

"Fantømex – Consent Agenda"

Are you sleepy but still need to be awake to do some stuff?

Since most of us are still under quarantine, do you miss saying the sentence “woaaah, there’s so much happening right now”?

Or do you just want some good music to listen to?

If you answered yes to any of my questions above then you should check out the debut album of the indie math punk band Fantomex, entitled “Consent Agenda”. This album consists of 11 tracks that would definitely challenge your earphones, headphones and speakers.

As an opener, “Yesterday Is Dead” brings amusement with Abigail Taylor’s sharp vocals. This song opens with a 15 second fuzzy guitar strum that seemingly says to its listeners “WAKE UP!”.

Followed by their second track “Bad Brakes” which is opened by a post-hardcore male vocal which gives an element of surprise. This song was followed by the tracks “Martha’s Favorite Color”, “Starbender” and “Postcard from Space”. These three songs have punchy and complex drum beats as their flagship element. They also have erratic vocal melodies that highlight their front man’s impressive vocal range.

“(Interlude)” marks the halfway point of this album. Again, another surprise has been thrown on our ears because after 5 tracks of chaotic sound, this band gives us a much slower and smooth sailing 6th track. The vocal harmonies in this song match the acoustic arrangement infused with some subtle electric guitar riffs. This is the shortest track in this album, and I wish it was longer.

Their 7th track “The Ballad of Black Phillip” gives us a shift of mood, introducing their heavy driving bass, drum beats and guitar loops. Its alternate playful male and female voice add to its flavor. Their intonation and conversational type of melody here was executed very well.

Followed by the tracks “Age of Man”, “Cinderella” and “Morning Glory”, high notes harmonized with deep somnolent male vocals are more often in these tracks which stirred up some memories from the earlier era of Paramore.

Their 11th and last track, “Two-Face (Words of Comfort Reserve for the Wealthy)” have lesser high notes, prominent mid-tempo drum beats and guitar strums. Its chorus goes phase shift with faster tempo while its bridge gives unexpected and yet smooth turn. Ingredients for a perfect song for your next playlist.

This album shows how Fantomex became adventurous in their sound. It’s diverse, heavy and gives a lot of fast rhythms. I really admire the sharpness, playfulness and range of their vocals which really matches their psychedelic and energetic arrangements.

Let’s all hope that we can hear more of this band in the coming months. For sure, they still have a lot to offer. - Buzzy Band

"Fantømex: Gaslight"

Western North Carolina indie punks Fantmex emerge with their new four-song Terraformed EP, featuring the lyrically sharp and existentially conscious Gaslight, a dynamic track which showcases the band's post hardcore and math rock qualities.

Fantømex explain the song's origins: "The original, silly placeholder title for this song was "Bullshit Bluebird". Isaac, our guitarist, was woken up by a blue bird one morning, after which he wrote the dissonant intro to this song, thinking 'what would scare the bird away?'"

Restless and rich with female strength, Gaslight delivers a wonderful juxtaposition of mesmerizing melodicism and explosive vitality.

The band expand on the track's lyrical content: "The lyrics of the song are about a lot of things: turning 30 during a pandemic and the existential crisis that comes with that, taking responsibility for your own actions, thoughts and feelings, and trying to be 'present' in the world we live in." - destroy//exist

"Gaslight by Fantømex"

Fantømex is a punk/post hardcore band from Western North Carolina, composed of guitarist Isaac Crouch, drummer Edwin Mericle, vocalist Abigail Taylor and bassist Max Miller. Drawing influence from post hardcore, post punk and alternative rock sounds, Fantømex have released one album and some standalone offerings, followed by the new EP Terraformed.

The highlight track Gaslight is an angst-filled work that highlights the quartet's concepts of female empowerment as well as their powerful sound and presence.

Fantømex describe: "The original, silly placeholder title for this song was "Bullshit Bluebird". Isaac, our guitarist, was woken up by a blue bird one morning, after which he wrote the dissonant intro to this song, thinking "what would scare the bird away?

The lyrics of the song are about a lot of things: turning 30 during a pandemic and the existential crisis that comes with that, taking responsibility for your own actions, thoughts and feelings, and trying to be “present” in the world we live in." - darkeninheart


The North American band Fantømex, presented at the beginning of this month of June, their newest work, the EP entitled “Terraformed”. With 4 songs, the work mixes with unparalleled competence, elements of Alternative Rock and Post-Punk, generating a dense sound, with more atmospheric moments, but that doesn't give up good melodies. The EP is already available on the main streaming platforms, and can be heard on Spotify from the link below. - Roadie Metal

"Terraformed is Fantømex's New EP"

Good day Noir Family,
Welcome to Edgar Allan Poets indie music corner. A space dedicated to the best new artists and bands that we find around the web. Today’s featured band is Fantømex and their new Ep Terraformed. Are you ready for a wild ride?
There are bands that wind you over with one note. I was very impressed with this band and I enjoyed everything they do.
The rough and sharp sound and the sexy and irreverent voice of the singer are fantastic.
These guys exude rock from every pore. There are no beats and computers in this music. In these songs, there is sweat and blood and hours spent in the rehearsal room to find the perfect balance and energy.
This music is pure passion and hits you straight like a punch in the face.
The singer’s charisma is undeniable and her attitude reminded me of Courtney Love. The is a band to listen to live, with the stench of armpits and beers running in your veins.
All the songs on Terraformed Ep are solid and consistent with the band’s artistic vision.
In the world, there is a need for this music and fortunately, Fantømex is making it.
Go listen to them, this is the real rock…let yourself go \m/ - Edgar Allan Poets


Consent Agenda - Released 4/20/20
White Hole (single) - Releases 9/12/21



Fantømex is an indie punk, post-harcore band from Western North Carolina; The journey started with longtime friends, guitarist Isaac Crouch and drummer Edwin Mericle, jamming together off and on for years; until in 2017, they decided to take it to the next level and form an honest-to-goodness band. The two had gone to high school together and played in two previous bands with each other. Vocalist Abigail Taylor came into the mix, writing intense thought-provoking lyrics, whose counter rhythms meshed with that of the music in a unique way. Not long after, Max Miller joined Fantømex and made the band whole with his punchy, fast bass lines and his ever-flowing, imaginative songwriting abilities. Influenced by bands like mewithoutYou, Frodus, At the Drive-In, The Mars Volta, David Bowie, The Blood Brothers and so many more; Fantømex’s music is fast, loud and full of angsty female empowerment. Fantømex’s live shows are a hypnotic and high energy performance that borders on theatrical. They are a performance not to be missed. Their debut album, Consent Agenda, is out now on all streaming platforms.

Band Members