“I tried to bend till I break, but our love is like phantom pain.”
It’s the kind of lyric that is specific, but can also signify almost anything – a break-up, a falling out with friends, or an up-and-coming band foiled by a pandemic. When COVID stopped the world, Austin pop-punk/emo band Halfway Atlantic (HWA) determined to use the time to bring new music, complete with videos, into a scene on pause. “Phantom Pain,” just released on Spotify and YouTube, is the centerpiece song in that effort. With “Phantom Pain,” HWA follows up the August release of pandemic anthem “Better Days” with a raw, heart-on-the-sleeve emo power ballad, complete with a moody music video shot by Ryan Coursey on the lonely streets of shut-down Austin TX.
“I wanted to write something that was honest to my own experiences, while at the same time relatable,” the relentlessly German lead singer Matt Warmuth said. “You can be overwhelmed by a wave of conflicting emotions when a relationship ends – and that love doesn’t immediately disappear. It’s painful and disorienting; your mind and your body are connected and those anxieties can tear you apart, physically.”
The band, which consists of Warmuth, guitarist and backing vocalist Paul Greenamyer, guitarist Matt Bise, bassist Patrick McCrea, and drummer Sal Ferrari, faced unusual challenges recording tracks in a pandemic. Most recording studios were on lockdown, and band members had different risk factors for COVID and different approaches to social distancing.
“It was a huge wrench in our plans,” McCrea said. “We’ve been very DIY oriented since day one, but the inability to comfortably and safely see each other was a challenge none of us were ready for. We had to be very deliberate throughout the entire process. We’re better for it, but I wouldn’t want to have to do it again.”
HWA persevered, finding creative ways to get the takes they needed. At one point, Warmuth’s bedroom closet played double-duty as a vocal recording booth. “It was actually easy to sing in there,” Greenamyer said. “Apparently I can really nail my background vocals when my audience is a Eurotrash wardrobe.”
“Phantom Pain” was written by Matt Warmuth, Matt Bise, Paul Greenamyer, and Scott King, produced by Halfway Atlantic, and mixed and mastered by Cristoph Hessler from The Intersphere. The song is now streaming on Spotify, iTunes, or wherever you listen to music. The music video was shot by Ryan Coursey and edited by Holger Göhl.