Phantom Productions, Incorporated
Creative Entertainment & Production Since 1964
Chris & Martin Theophilus, Directors
Celebrating 50 years
1964 to 2014
It's always been about the music!
Martin began playing trumpet in the 5th grade in Alpine, Texas. By the early1960's he was recording music with early tube reel tape recorders. In the 8th grade he joined the Alpine High School band. By his second year the band had acquired a Sony 300 tape recorder and Martin began assisting with the band's recordings. When he was graduating from AHS, his parents helped him purchase his first stereo recorder that would allow sound with sound. That capability enabled him to provide recording support for Grainger Hunt with the band the Believers (left). The Believers went on to record at Ron Newdoll's professional San Angelo recording studio where the Cavaliers had just cut the number 1 hit "Last Kiss." There was a wonderful satisfaction in assisting musicians develop their material.
That experience led Martin to create Highland Sound Company in June of 1964. Martin majored in Music at Sul Ross University and engineered almost all the music recitals, band and choir concerts. He also produced their tour albums. His parents helped Martin convert part of their home into a recording studio and area bands recorded in the studio and Martin completed on-location recordings as well. Some productions were for band demos, some were documenting concerts, others included a movie sound track and audio support for radio remotes.
The essence of the company was to provide reasonable recording services to assist in the musicians' development.
Over time the equipment became more professional and Martin began completing on-location albums around Texas for Austin Custom Records. In 1968 Martin attended a state training session in Austin and experiencing the music, he set a goal of having a recording company in Austin. It took 10 years. In 1978 Martin set up the Highland Sound Company recording services in Austin and converted a Dodge van for on-location recording (left). Shortly thereafter, it was decided Highland Sound didn't really reflect the image of the company. Having worked with phantom powered microphones, Martin liked the "behind the scenes" connotation of phantom and Phantom Productions, Inc. was formed.
Another leap forward occurred when Martin met Peter Butcher (right) a British producer who had moved to Austin. Now the music that was being recorded by Phantom Productions, Inc. had a chance to go out world-wide thanks to Peter's connections.
Frustrated by the problems musicians were experiencing managing the business side of the vocation, Martin entered into his first artist management contracts.
In 1984 Martin met Chris, who is also from Great Britain and her total commitment to the music business accelerated Phantom Productions to a whole new level. We began managing artists and representing them internationally. Phantom Productions joined with the Texas music delegation at MIDEM in Cannes, France (left). Phantom Productions was able to complete agreements that created Phantom Productions, UK with offices in England and Hong Kong. Phantom Productions' representatives were established in France, Germany and Japan.
Phantom Productions was now not only supporting their musicians with audio recording, Chris & Martin moved the company into video production as well. This provided Phantom's artist with a whole new avenue to distribute and promote their music.
In Monte Carlo, a country artist, Mark Like Daniels (right with Chris & Martin), managed by Phantom Productions, was signed to the Monte Music Group (Richie Valens world wide publisher) and subsequently to Gene Simmons of KISS for a 7 album contract on Simmons' custom RCA label.
Viewing the continuing frustration musicians had with the business side of the business, Chris and Martin initiated a project to create a music business program in Austin. Austin Community College responded and a two year degree program was established. Martin initially taught Music Marketing in the program and Peter Butcher also was an instructor prior to his early passing in 1992. The ACC program is still going strong as the Music Business, Performance and Technology program.
While at MIDEM, Chris had a meeting promoting our musicians with some Canadian music folks. They were impressed with Chris and Phantom's presentations and recommended Phantom move into corporate music booking. This again increased Phantom Productions' resources for their musicians. Chris made a connection with David Perkoff. David had an incredible number of musicians and opportunities, and Phantom Productions, Inc. had the organizational resources in place. So Phantom and David Perkoff Music began working together. Chris and David (left) book hundreds of gigs a year for the musicians. Phantom Productions, Inc. now began providing video support to the music booking services. Our studio was completed in 2002 and Phantom continues to maintain our long time association with musicians like Tracie Lynn (right).
Martin and Chris began receiving other production requests that resulted in Phantom Productions,inc. producing videos for the Hot Air Ballooning community. We also began receiving more and more corporate bookings as well as media projects with the University of Texas. Through the UT Texas Center for Disability Studies, Phantom Productions has been a media source to persons with disabilities.
Phantom Productions, Inc. also is donating interview productions to the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording, including Ray Benson with Asleep At The Wheel, Jerry Tubb and Nick Landis at terra Nova Mastering Studios, Lisa and Freddy Fletcher at Arlyn Studios, Malcolm Harper of Reelsound Recording, David Hough, Audio Director of Austin City Limits, Rupert Neve, Rupert Neve Designs, Floyd Domino and several more.
We've never lost sight of the basic mission which is providing opportunities for musicians. We continue to support the music community through our membership in NARAS and AES. Phantom Production, Inc. turned 50 in 2014 and it continues to be an incredible trip!