A Nameless Ghoul From Ghost Talks ‘Meliora,’ Touring + More
A Nameless Ghoul from the band Ghost joined Full Metal Jackie on her weekend radio show. The discussion turned not only to the band's 'Meliora' album, but also how the "change" in singers has affected their sound and direction. And the Nameless Ghoul addresses the temporary naming of the group Ghost BC. Check out the chat below.
How are you?
I am fine. I am fine thank you. Enjoying the very rainy Swedish summer. This summer is exceptionally mild and very very cold and rainy and gloomy and [laughs] inspiring I guess.
What does changing the identity of your singer each album give you license to do different musically?
Well I mean, it’s basically, you can almost regard it as changing the actor for the role rather. So if you go see the Phantom of the Opera one year, then you go see it again a few years later, it’s probably gonna be someone else playing the role of the phantom. And that is how you should regard what we are doing. The change of Popeyes. It’s a different character playing the same role. That is why they are sort of similar.
After changing the band name to Ghost B.C. for the last album, why not keep it that way rather than reverting back?
You know, in our world we never changed anything. The B.C. was just an amendment we needed in order to please Universal in America. So it was basically just a legal thing that we never used ourselves. We never, never, ever, ever, in the history of the world, refer to ourselves as Ghost BC. It was just a legal thing. So, anybody, any magazine, or any billboard, or any marquee thing, if "B.C." was there, so that was just by mistake. It was just done in haste so they didn’t know better. Because for us, we tried to make it as clear as possible. The BC was to be regarded as silent. As like you know, LLC’s. You know, if you go, if you are craving Taco Bell, you are going to say, I am going to go to Taco Bell, not Taco Bell Incorporated. But obviously I understand that that as too complicated for people to understand.
So we were really trying our best to sort of get ourselves out of that little problem. Right now it seems to have worked. But again, it was just a legal thing. It was just major label policy that you basically have to produce a paper. As you sign with a major label, especially in America, you have to produce a paper stating that you and you alone own the right to use the moniker under which you are performing. I mean everybody has to do this, even Rihanna has to do this. So, if let’s say for example, that there was another Rihanna when she signed to whatever label she signed to, she would be the one called Rihanna B.C. So that’s basically why every band you see nowadays has to, there has to be a spelling error in the name or you have to have a sentence for your name.
There's going to be a fall tour, which kicks off Sept. 22. How much does the imagery of Ghost influence the music and lyrics, and visa versa?
They go very much hand in hand. I’d say originally, what set off the idea about the band was obviously the music. That was the main thing to begin with. For us internally, the image came very quickly upon sort of hearing the music. But we were very adamant about the music coming first. So even though, obviously, the majority of the people that had heard us now don’t know about this, and this is a bit too far back in time, all five years, but actually there was a time lapse of about six months, between our first sort of demo hitting the underground circuit until our album actually came out. That was when the first picture of the band came out. So there was an issue of a total of six months when actually we accumulated quite a lot of attention to the band without actually having presented a picture of the band. So in our heads, that proves even though obviously as I was saying, that seems far away now, a lot of things have happened after that, and our initial steps were definitely taken without people sort of having a preconceived notion of what we look like. There wasn’t like a known idea of what the image was like. Again, we take it as that the music actually came first.
What was the starting point that determined the overall sound and lyrical direction of Meliora?
Well, for quite some time for a few years ever since it was clear to us that we were going to become a band and become a band that released at least several records, we knew very clearly that for us to be able to not only continue being interesting but having it interesting for us. We need to revamp what we're doing now and then -- every album cycle, basically -- sort of Iron Maiden style. We knew early on, I had the idea that it was going to be a futuristic album. At that point, I wasn't really sure when that was going to be or when we were going to do this. But on the first, prior to starting the Infestissumam tour, this is probably a month or so before the actual album came out, Infestissumam, we did sort of a wide production rehearsal. I remembered it, because I had a new guitar rig and just trying out that guitar rig I started playing this riff because there was an effect in the rig that made this spacey echoed sound. The first riff I started fiddling with at that point was a riff that sounded very futuristic, sci-fi. It dawned on me at least, at that point, that OK, this futuristic album is going to be the next album we make. That riff is actually the first riff on the album. The intro that you hear on the record, which is the main riff of "Spirit," that was that riff. That kicked off the idea of the album.
Musically, Ghost is rooted in a traditional classic rock type of style. What makes that style a good starting point for exploring different musical ideas?
I don't know. Back in the '60s, '70s there was obviously way less songs made. [laughs] So, the craft of a lot of bands back in the day was obviously very untainted. It wasn't as formatted as it ended up being. But to be real truthful, we mustn't forget that there was a lot of not so good bands in the '70s and '80s, even in the '60s, too. We have chosen to remember the 10 big ones and the 20 not so big ones. Then there's the hundreds behind them that have been forgotten because they're not good enough. I can only speak for myself personally, but I think that a lot of people that have that sort of archeological approach to music where you're tending to dig back a little, that there is something in that sound.
What I mean with that sound is, I guess the sort of un-digital / analog organic execution of rock music back in the day that is very appealing rather than obviously nowadays at least for the last 15 years, has a very framed in very digital un-realistic sound that may come off as very muscled and powerful and cool therefor, but there is also very mechanical and cold about it. It at least makes me gravitate a little bit more towards the old sound.
What else is in store for Ghost for the rest of the year?
The most central part is the tour coming up now. Right now we've had somewhat of a quite lull season this summer just because we haven't been touring. We've been doing a few gigs just to basically fulfill some engagements that we had agreed upon just to get a little but more familiar with some of the new songs. This is sort of pre-seasonal thing where we're in the middle of trying to connect the old set with the new songs, so it's not really the real show that some people have seen so far. With the aim of becoming a very theatrical band, right now we are planning a lot of things we are going to do on this new show that we're doing this fall. We're trying to get that together and we have, 65 almost 70 shows between the end of August to Christmas. That's going to be the first stab of touring, which is all across America and Europe.
We have a full year of touring ahead of us. I'm just thrilled about that. I'm looking forward to having the album out and playing the songs in front of people that have actually heard the album. [laughs] It's always a little weird when you're doing shows where you're playing several new songs, because as much as you might play in front of people that really likes the band, still -- they are not familiar with the new songs. It feels as if you're almost losing them at that point, which you might not be doing but it feels like that. So it's always more rewarding playing songs that people have actually heard. We're all really looking forward to that. It's going to be a blast coming to America again. It's always so much fun touring there.
Thanks to A Nameless Ghoul for the interview. Ghost's 'Meliora' album is available via Amazon and iTunes. Look for the band on their North American tour at these stops. Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.
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