Thursday, February 02, 2012

Ghost Interviews Shed Light on Band Mission

OK yes I am still obsessed with Ghost. The combination of a KISS-like mystique and damn it a bunch of great songs is still totally turning my crank, and driving my wife and kids crazy as I stroll around the house singing "Death Knell!!!" Ha ha ha.

And this drives me to the Web where I am trying to learn more about this band.

In recent interviews I find some of the answers and as expected, this group is about putting on a great show, not selling your soul to the Devil. These guys are smart and know exactly what they are doing.

One of the guitarists was interviewed by the SF Weekly. I encourage you to read the whole article, called Swedish Metal Sensation Ghost on Anonymity, the Coming Apocalypse, and Sounding Like a Million Bucks in 1978 but here are the parts that grabbed me:

What Ghost has in common with that old black metal scene beyond the imagery and message, it goes back to the fact that when you read about bands like Mayhem, or Emperor, or Marduk, or whatever band from that time, there was no Internet. There wasn't anything except fanzines. Obviously when the shit hit the fan, the bigger magazines wrote about these things. But there weren't a lot of pictures. There were a lot of rumors. And that lack of access made things much more mystical and interesting. I think that has played a major role in what we're trying to achieve...

Where most bands nowadays try to raise their profile and their band's as much as possible because they don't want to miss out on anything, we're trying to do the opposite. Meanwhile, we're still trying to go forward in terms of getting better known. I know it's a bit of a paradox...But that's why we're trying to have Papa Emeritus be the star. Him. The old codger. The old pope. He's supposed to be the star. Not us as individuals. It's sort of like Eddie for Iron Maiden, except we have our Eddie singing.

...a lot of doom and bands that are in the scene that we're usually connected with are probably a bit more influenced by the harder stuff of Black Sabbath. Usually they sound like "Symptom of the Universe" or "Children of the Grave." That's all they wanted to sound like. And most doom bands are trying to sound like a less-produced version of the '70s, whereas I think in connection with Black Sabbath, we try to be as bold as they were when they did their ballads or their orchestral songs. We want our record to sound like a million-dollar production, but from 1978.

It's weird, because a lot of these really hardcore metal guys always refer to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath as being a miracle, groundbreaking proto-black metal album, where it's actually one of the softest Black Sabbath records. [It's] very mournful and openhearted. That same boldness is something we try to ... I'm not saying mimic, but we encourage ourselves to be very playful in the music that we're doing. We're not trying to fit in or think too much about what's cool or not. It's supposed to be passionate. I think you are really dead on that Black Sabbath and Mercyful Fate are necessary bands to have a band like Ghost.

As of right now, the next album is so far ahead in time. I mean, it's going to be out this year, but later this year. Nowadays you can't really play new material before the promotional period starts for the album, because once you play a song, it's on YouTube. It's everywhere. With the new album comes, not a new image, but a new show. Sort of like the next film [laughs]. So we're not going to incorporate any new material until the next album cycle starts. There's going to be a lot of changes, and the show is going to evolve drastically at that point. We're saving those goodies.

And from Portland's Willamette Week, we have Giving Up the Ghost: Don’t fear the Reaper—even if it’s a really convincing-looking Reaper. Some good stuff here:

“A lot of black-metal bands have an agenda where they actually say, ‘We want you to kill yourself,’” bemoans Ghost’s frontman. “We don’t have an agenda. Our uppermost goal is not to make people change anything. We want to change people into attenders of our concerts.” For an anonymous Swedish rock frontman who goes by the cryptic nomer “A Ghoul With No Name,” he’s pretty sincere.

“We as a group, we don’t have a militant agenda,” says the Ghoul, via telephone, when asked how serious his band is about the Devil. “We are entertainers. We are here to entertain everybody with a very horrid mind. Obviously, we’re six dudes playing in unison. So we’re a rock band. But we are drawn to create something that has more in common with theater or going to see The Omen at the cinema. Traditionally everything that’s remotely rock is devilish, and basically the first transparently really blasphemous artist was probably Elvis, with his sexually pulsating rock.”

I am trying to work out how to see the band when they open for Mastadon and Opeth this Spring, as they are skipping Portland. Maybe by then I'll have moved on to some other obsession, but I doubt it!

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