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Phantom Forth


Auckland post-punk group Phantom Forth sprung from Paul Lukers initial steps into performing music. Luker had come from a background in the print industry, and had on occasion performed his own poetry alongside John Pule. Luker put his print-making skills to good use, creating books of poetry and eventually the music fanzine Empty Heads.

After enthusing about local bands of the punk persuasion in his fanzine Luker formed the short-lived duo The Silver Ferns with his flatmate Mike Neilson. Neilson went off to do sound production and Luker started putting together Phantom Forth some time later in 1981, drafting in keyboardist Lorraine Steele. Through Luker’s brother Mark they added guitarist / vocalist Debbie (who would soon marry Mark – making Debbie Luker Paul’s sister-in-law).

Luker has stressed that in the early days of Phantom Forth he was still finding his way as a musician, however the group did quickly develop their own distinct sound – drum-machine rhythms backing reverb and bass heavy melodies (admittedly heavily influenced by groups like Young Marble Giants and Cabaret Voltaire).

The group got involved with Flying Nun Records through their appearance at The Last Rhumba – a live show documenting the last show at a well known Auckland venue which was recorded and released as a scene capsule compilation.

Phantom Forth recorded their sole release The EEPP in 1983, however it wouldn’t be until November 1984 when the Flying Nun Records would finally released it, by which time Luker and Steele had formed the experimental side-project This is Heaven. This new group put out recordings on Luker’s own fledgling Industrial Tapes label; soon Luker’s focus switch from performing music to the label.




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