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​Phobophilic Goes Transatlantic

Music | March 23rd, 2023

By John Showalter

john.d.showalter@gmail.com

photo by Andy Wilcox

Many of Fargo-Moorhead’s talented bands and musicians have been able to gain fans around the country. Some of this, of course, is due to social media making it easier than ever to put one’s art out into the world, but the rest is good, old-fashioned touring. Local favorites have hit the road and performed from sea to shining sea.

And now, Phobophilic is planning to go international and play across the proverbial pond. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview member Vincent Tweten about Phobophilic’s transatlantic touring and the band in general.

Tweten is the drummer for Phobophilic, which also consists of Josh Poer on guitar, Aaron Dudgeon on vocals and guitar, and Christian Alm on bass. All of them are from Fargo and have been involved in several area bands.

“Josh, Christian, and I have been playing together for somewhere around 12 or 13 years across several bands, mostly in the hardcore or punk scene,” said Tweten. “In late 2016 Aaron and I wanted to start a death metal band and it just made the most sense to round out the lineup with the people I’ve already been playing with for so long. We played our first show at the Aquarium for The New Direction Fest, and I believe Josh, Christian and I are the only three people who’ve played the Fest every year since its inception some 10 years ago or so.”

Speaking of Phobophilic’s sound and influences, Tweten had this to say. “I’d describe our music as nauseating death metal. We like to keep the listener guessing as to where the song is heading and not repeat ourselves too much.

“The influences that shine through the most musically would be Finnish bands like Demigod, Adramalech, and Demilich, as well as bands from the states like Death, Morbid Angel, and Cynic. We take a lot of influence from music outside of the metal landscape and my approach to drumming is a bit more jazz-influenced than more traditional metal drummers. Lyrically I’m greatly inspired by French existentialists Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, and Jean-Paul Sartre, as well as Carl Jung, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Douglas Harding.”

Since their beginnings in 2016, Phobophilic have kept themselves busy. They have had several releases, among them the 2019 EP “Undimensioned Identities” with the EU-based label Blood Harvest, the split “Horrific Manifestations” with the Canadian band Sedimentum in 2020, and their debut LP “Enveloping Absurdity,” which was released in 2022 under the label they signed with, Prosthetic Records. There have also been a couple of self-released demos.

“The album was a huge step for us as a band, musically and thematically,” said Tweten. “I wanted to shed the cosmic horror themes we were focusing on with our earlier releases and instead write an album about my real thoughts and philosophical interests, especially highlighting existentialism.”

Phobophilic have already toured extensively in the United States, having recently completed a full US tour with Undeath, 200 Stab Wounds, and Enforced, that visited most of the states as well as Canada. In April and May they will be doing another US and Canadian tour with The Black Dahlia Murder headlining. A few years prior, they also played a shorter tour with their friends in Gatecreeper and played LDB Fest in Louisville and Death Nexus Fest in Philadelphia, their first East Coast tour.

However, an invitation to play Killtown Deathfest in Copenhagen, Denmark, in August is the first time that Phobophilic will be playing in Europe, which Tweten described as an incredibly cool fest that he had only ever dreamed of attending. “I would say we have a decent amount of European fans, but there's really only so much attention you can gather online and I’m looking forward to expanding that audience as we tour.”

He added, “We plan to tour up to the Deathfest, stopping in other European countries for a couple weeks and are finishing that planning now.” When asked if he was nervous about touring overseas, “I’m a little nervous but incredibly excited for the opportunity because none of us have actually been to Europe and it’s a dream come true to get to go there because of our music. It’s a huge honor that we don’t take lightly and we hope to make Fargo proud.”

Those who are interested can easily find their music on Spotify, Bandcamp, Youtube, and most other streaming services. There is vinyl for sale on their Bandcamp and merchandise available on the Nightshift merch store. Copies of the record can also be obtained at the local stores Orange Records and Vinyl Giant. In social media, the band is most active on Instagram @phobophilic_. You can also catch the band at the final New Direction Fest at the Aquarium, at the end of March.

IF YOU GO

New Direction Fest 10 

The Aquarium, 226 Broadway N Upstairs, Fargo 

March 24 and 25, 2023, All Ages Always 

$12 per day or $20 for a two-day pass

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