Ghost: Curiouser and Curiouser

If that was the basic rule that people lived by, there wouldn't be an AC/DC...

A band whose anonymity has made them distinctive; Sweden’s Ghost have headed out on the Big Day Out tour this year and accompanying Papa Emeritus II are the Nameless Ghouls…. I believe I chatted to ‘a’ Nameless Ghoul recently to get some insight into this bands success, controversy and Papa’s luck with the ladies for Metal As Fuck...

"We're Starting the Big Day Out tour in Auckland, we arrived yesterday and it’s kind of slow at the moment, these tours are a little different to what we’re used to in Europe or North America. When you’re touring continentally you head around by bus and play almost every day whereas in Australia and South America you’re flying between shows so there are a lot of days off and more of a hotel based life. I really like the bus vibe, it has a little bit more of a labuor (in a good way – you feel like you’re working all the time) whereas if you aren’t spending a lot of days working you start to depend a little more when you are and lose focus a little. Touring consecutively you get a lot better at playing live because you are playing all the time".

Everyone loves a good mystery and the band are very well known for keeping anonymity – however have there been any occasions where random people coming forth claiming to be ‘A Nameless Ghoul”? “Not to me directly, but to members of the band, yes. It was the other guitarist, we played in Gothenburg Sweden, I think it was, it was an after party at a club somewhere, he bumped into a person who claimed to be in the band [Laughs] it was pretty funny, the guitarist said ‘oh really?! You are? Tell me some things’ [Laughs] he was left unknowing, but he got a pic in the end” [Laughs]

Ghost seemed to happen all over night; the preparation of the band did take a long time to setup, yet Ghost owns the world stage in a very short period of time. “I think what happened was, that as much as realized (one of two years before) we announced everything – that the idea potentially could have been a fairly immediate thing, but we started talking about it – the idea, yes! It sounds fun, interesting. It was the same thing that convinced us that it was a good idea, convinced the public. Probably, I guess so”.

Ghost have toured the states several times and one thing that continues to pop up in the American news feed is the controversy surrounding the band; now Ghost are very tongue in cheek – how has this affected the band and has any of it been negative? “Not really, from an American point of view we’re doing quite well. I know that from a commercial stand point there will always be a small hindrance. But bearing in mind that we are on a major label – so we were signed on the premise that we are not commercial in a sense, and these labels are used to dealing with very commercial , mainstream artists. From a promotional point of view; people in the circuit cannot look away from the fact that, had we not just sung about certain things there would have been probably a completely different market. As much as people might think we are commercial – we are basically banned from most of the American radio stations, there is a big area of media that won’t touch a band that does what we do. But that’s just a commercial aspect and an aspect I don’t really care about that much – it wasn’t the purpose for Ghost. We’ve never had any problems playing live. It also depends on the level you’re operating. In the greatest scheme of things there will be more openly controversial and hostile bands; bands such as Deicide who were renowned for having to cancel shows just because of protesting”.

This is exactly my point though; I found it strange that there is so much controversy surrounding Ghost in the States compared to many other bands. “Grey-zoning I guess. We aren’t a household name like Manson or Ozzy. They had completely different media attention. The comparison is towards more swampy black metal bands, I guess they don’t hover above the radar at all; we’re in between it all right now. Its different times now, from a censorship perspective. I think a lot of the movements from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s – they know better now these days then to scream out people shouldn’t listen to certain types of music because its ‘dangerous. Obviously when the whole burger thing happened, that created a lot of issues” It sounds delicious! “It is delicious yeah, I’ve actually had one, it’s quite tasty, so if you’re ever in Chicago….”(actually the burger - The Ghost Burger -  was only available at the Chicago restaurant in question for a month last year - food Ed)

In the last few years – you have been building momentum from your first album, the impending doom; the latest Satan is now here. You have mentioned that the next album for Ghost is going to be a little more metal – any particular reason behind this? What can we expect from Ghost? “The new record will be about the absence of God. Audibly I think that from a guitarist stand point, the new material that’s currently being built is likely more instrumental as opposed to Infestissumam which was very vocal driven all the time. We are very pleased with the record but from that instrumental aspect, a lot of us felt we wanted to build on the idea that the band is to be more theatrical in the future so we can’t really have Papa singing all the time. No one should have to sing for 3 hours straight, you need more elements to it. Yes, the material we have so far has slightly some more metal in it”. [Laughs]

What challenges would you face when writing for Ghost? “The hardest bit is not to repeat yourself, especially when it comes to lyrics. I’d like to think that people don’t know what to expect from us anyway sometimes when you write something you’re like oh that’s so predictable that we’d do that  and then you have to find the fine line between what is good predictable and what is bad predictable, because if you move on the idea that you can’t do anything predictable, if that was the basic rule that people lived by – there wouldn’t be an AC/DC [Laughs] and I am speaking very warmly of that band because they built a formula that they can repeat and still be one of the greatest bands in the world – there are very few bands who are able to do that and its inspiring in many ways because it proves that you can find that one part in your DNA, the one ingredient in your cuisine that people really like and throw it into different dishes all the time and has a familiar taste to it”.

Well we are freaking hungry for a Ghost dish! You are playing this year’s Big Day Out which is a very diverse mix of styles, people and genres; should be interesting for you to penetrate. “Yeah we’re going to find out, we are stoked about our headlining shows also, they will be cool!” Ah yes, the girls will adorn Papa as I have come to learn he is quite the ladies man? “Yes, it’s quite awful”.