Ghost – In the Shadows
By: David E. Gehlke
Much ado about Ghost and their shtick, and that’s fine – we need a good one every now and then. The lengths in which the band goes to keep their true identities a secret is commendable, as is their proto-Mercyful Fate/classic metal concoction. On their Opus Eponymous debut, the Swedes come across less as a revelation and more as a defender of the 80’s metal faith, but when coupled with their mysterious image and penchant for theatrics, it’s a perfect storm in this climate.
The new year poses to be a pivotal year for Ghost, with an impending North American headlining run scheduled for January, to be followed up by their release of their sophomore album by summer/fall. After an aborted fall 2011 support with Enslaved in the rear-view, we snagged main Ghost man The Nameless Ghoul, but not after he had to secure “a dark basement” (his words) to chat. Read on…
Blistering.com: How bummed out were you upon cancelling your proposed North American tour this past fall with Enslaved?
The Nameless Ghoul: Yeah, things got really confusing right before the tour. Basically, in short, what happened was…being a band that is anonymous; it’s hard to justify all of this with immigration, which in turn, led to a slight delay in getting approval. When that delay went over the timeframe, the point of no return when you have to everything in order to commence your tour, we thought that things were so uncertain, we wished Enslaved to have a chance to find someone to fill in to do the tour. So we ended up cancelling and hoped that our visas issues are resolved, and now it’s a lot better.
Blisteirng.com: So this means you’re clear to hit the States in January. You’ve been over here before for a few gigs, but nothing of this scale. What are your expectations?
The Nameless Ghoul: I think it’s going to be really special because we’ve done so few headlining shows in the past. We’ve mostly done festivals and support gigs, and now we’re a part of a package. When you’re headlining, it’s a different thing. Production-wise, you’re allowed to do a lot more; you’re much more in control of your environment. Whenever you know the crowd is there for you and are fans of what you’re doing, it adds more cement to your style. Obviously, the key to rock ‘n’ roll is that you have give everybody everything every day, but people that are playing know that’s actually not true. Not having to use too many metaphors, but it’s sort of like a relationship…if you go out of a relationship and you’re saying “That was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever had” and then you hear the other part saying it was really mediocre, it shows that neither side is wrong. When you’re doing a show, every song needs a recipient. Whenever you have a large group of recipients, everyone is part of circle. You give and receive, so by headlining, it will be magical.
Blistering.com: As it stands, there’s quite a bit of appeal for Ghost in North America, so by what you just said, what’s the appeal for you in terms of playing here?
The Nameless Ghoul: Anybody living in the Western world and not living in America, you’re so fed with American culture throughout your whole life, which makes coming to the USA something slightly unreal for someone who’s never been there. The first time you go there or coming to New York, it’s basically like stepping into a film. All of us are very, very thrilled. We are fans of the music there, and the popular culture, so on a personal, it makes going to the U.S. a surreal experience. I think it goes hand-in-hand with a lot of the subculture traditions you have in the U.S. I get the impression that a lot of Americans are very much willing to be entertained in a way that a lot of people in Europe are not. We really don’t want to make opinions on certain nationalities, but it seems like with the U.S., you have your tentacles out more. There’s a willingness to be carried away into something. That’s why I think the buzz in the U.S. is slightly bigger than it is a lot of other places.
Blistering.com: The past year has clearly been your breakout year. Is there a tendency within the band to check out all the good press you’ve been receiving?
The Nameless Ghoul: In the beginning I was. Some members are more…but in the end, we are lucky we are living this lifestyle. We aren’t very metropolitan; where we live is a small town and most people that live here, don’t know about the band. But if you want to go out fraternizing in Stockholm with the hipster culture elite, you’d care about it more. We stay away from that kind of crowd. On the negative side, we miss out on a lot on culture, but it also makes a slightly more…I don’t want to use the word “exempt” in Ghost in this context, but I guess we are trying to be disassociated with a lot of the buzzing. We prefer enjoying some of that when we are out playing, because that’s when Ghost comes alive. At home, we don’t want to take part in that. It’s really not important.