Big Grams featuring Phantogram and Big Boi. Image by:
Big Grams featuring Phantogram and Big Boi. Image by:

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Written by: Jessa Brooke

Phantogram and Big Boi have made collaboration history with their recent release Big Grams on Epic Records.


The amazing thing about the power of music is the individual interpretation that is unique to the listener. Each person is listening for differing reasons. For some, the lyrics speak to them, and for others, the beat is all they hear and some. In connection to creating memories tied to a song or an artist. Similar to reading a book, music reaches out to the masses but has individualized receptions.

Phantogram is an artist that I discovered on Last FM back when Internet radio was unknowingly opening the door to a new approach at music discovery. ‘When I’m Small’ was the first track that was recommended from the band and the vocals of Sarah Barthel caught my interest. YouTube searches lead me to the video and it was an instantaneous favorite.

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The video was unique and intriguing. The fascination with the band sent me on a frenzied search for a show in the area and much to my dismay at the time their closest show was in New York in 2012. This would make quite a trek from Southern Illinois for myself.

In an age where Twitter was only emerging and Instagram was just an app for filters more so than social media, following the band was tedious. The effort of keeping up with the band paid off when I discovered they were listed on the lineup of the third annual LouFest in Saint Louis that year.

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Among hundreds of music fanatics I stood in the heat and slight drizzle of precipitation eager to finally see my favorite artist perform. My expectations were high after the videos of their performances in clubs and other venues but Phantogram did not disappoint. In fact, I was blown away by their natural ability to wow an entire crowd of people, and have fun while doing it.

After the performance the band visited the Spotify music bus and had a meet and greet with the fans. After they autographed my copy of Nightlife, I asked for a picture with them and was ecstatic when they accepted. Needless to say my entire summer was made that night and I knew this was an artist with endless potential.

Big Grams | Release date: September 25, 2015

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Some time later Phantogram began discussion of collaboration on social media with an artist named Big Boi. After working together on Big Boi’s 2012 Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors for the song ‘CPU’, the two groups started to bond. 

The sound was everything I loved about music mixed together, the bass, the lyrics, and the ethereal electronic twist Phantogram was known for. The two merged to become one in an amazing musical matrimony called Big Grams. Their first album, Big Grams was recently released and I could not have been anymore impressed with the final result of this genius collaboration. Fans have been requesting additional tour dates, but as of right now, the only dates on the books is a series of shows out west for Phantogram.

Big Grams on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

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The seven track album also features Skrillex and Run The Jewels. Choosing a favorite is hard when every single song makes you want to hit repeat. “Lights On” and “Drum Machine (feat. Skrillex)” are a close tie for favorite but “Born to Shine (feat. Run The Jewels)” deserves a mention adding a unique touch to the album.

Overall the rap, electronic, funk mixture present on the Big Grams album satisfies a varied music lovers craving for a divergence from the mainstream cookie cutter sound while also having the potential to top the charts.

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Phantogram Winter Tour / Muse

  • Moda Center | December 13 | Portland, OR
  • Oracle Arena | December 15 | Oakland, CA
  • Valley View Casino Center | December 16 | San Diego, CA
  • Staples Center | December 18 | Los Angeles, CA


National News

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Jessa Brooke, writer and media producer, is a talented reporter/editor that covers topics in technology, music and the environment.