Even though GHOST have only been haunting the metal scene for nine years, the five Ghouls around the satanic popes Papa Emeritus I, II and III already reached the status of a true legend. Not just because they mix sweet synth pop elements with harsh heavy metal riffs, but mostly because of their twisted imagery that changed on every one of their three albums and created a sinister cult that plays with religious clichés. Gearing up for a European & UK tour to celebrate the unholy mass and sing hymns like “Year Zero” or the catchy “He Is” and by now, everyone should know that GHOST are not a one-dimensional Anti-Christian rock band, but rather a complex act playing with religious, social and philosophical conflicts.
Metal Wani’s Editor In Chief Owais ‘Vitek’ Nabi had a chat with A Nameless Ghoul of Swedish Grammy Award Winners GHOST. He discusses the upcoming European & UK Tour, his opinion on why GHOST is an extremely different band than the rest, how the band manages to retain the Ghost sound even though the frontman Papa Emeritus changes every record, why he’s not a fan of Swedish Gothenburg metal scene and how GHOST made metalheads realize that there’s more to Sweden than just Extreme metal.
He also talks about how Ghost songwriting structure is way different than most of the bands around, current status of upcoming studio album which has lots of heavier, apocalyptic, darker elements than before, conceptual idea, musical direction and plans to enter the studio in August.
He throws light on why some section of fans feel the GHOST sound reflect a sacred, euphoric communion, how band creates a happy place by combining fear and intimacy, his opinion on collaborating with Lady Gaga in the future, the song that will fit for the collaboration and more. Here are some of the excerpts:
On touring UK after a year and a half, A Nameless Ghoul said:
Fanbase in UK is terrific. I think last time we played in January, we did the Palladium. Oh wait! we cancelled Download. We are stoked to come back to UK. We are looking forward to it.
On maintaining the signature sound of GHOST even after changing Papa Emeritus after every record, he said:
From a practical point of view, you’re interested in, on the one hand, preserving the sound, or the elements that make up the sound, and you still wanna progress. I think one of the secrets behind our preserving ability is the fact that we don’t necessarily have to have the same six people in the room to make that sound, which helps.
It’s always a blessing and a curse when you have some of these classic bands over the course of rock and roll history, where in order for them to sound like that exact band, you need those four individuals, and if one is missing, it does not sound like that. And, fortunately, we don’t have that problem. Because performing GHOST and recording GHOST has never really been the same thing. So that we can preserve our sound; we don’t have to rely on… if some people come and go, which is good. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE is the same thing. Everything goes through Josh’s [Homme] hands, and therefore it sounds like QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, regardless of who he brings in and out of the band, which is, I guess, a similar situation.
A Nameless Ghoul also talks about the upcoming record and whether band is planning to write a darker, heavier record this time as compared to the melodic, soothing ‘Meliora’:
The ideas for the new record will be quote-unquote darker, because it’s thematically set in a different… in a darker setting. ‘Meliora’ was supposed to reflect some sort of utopia/dystopia in the modern society, whereas this new one is gonna be a little bit more apocalyptic, a little bit more back to the medieval times, which, obviously, is associated with darkness.
Obviously, in metal, in extreme metal, you have a myriad of records that are thematically in the Middle Ages, but the idea for this new album is to combine… So where [other] records [covering similar lyrical themes are] drowned and surrounded and drenched in death, it’s gonna be a record about survival. So that constantly working with those polar, sort of, elements is also a difference, I guess, between… If you find a black metal record that is about the Plague and the death, you will have only death — everything is just black and everything just ends black. Whereas one of my driving forces writing a record like that is to write a record about the survival of that and the prosperity.
Yeah, it’s gonna be a darker record. Is it gonna be all through and through heavier? I don’t know, obviously. But we do have melody and we do have songs that are not so heavy. From my point of view, from where I’m sitting, knowing a little bit of the material coming in, it’s gonna be both. It’s gonna have everything from heavy, crushing metal to big, ballady anthems.
Regarding the status of the recording sessions for the new GHOST album, A Nameless Ghoul said:
Right now we’re in the writing phase. As most modern music acts, you tend to record as you write. And we have never been a band that goes into a room and stands in a ring and just jams things; it’s more of a… you go into a room and record songs, and when you record it, it sort of comes back and you listen to it and then you do it again. So we’re in that phase right now. I’m not done with the record. It’s not gonna be recorded until… We’re gonna start for real in August. As soon as we come home from the American tour, it’s gonna start.
Popestar UK/ Europe Tour Dates
Fri 24 ENG, Norwich UEA
Sat 25 WAL, Cardiff Great Hall
Sun 26 ENG, London Forum
Tue 28 ENG, Leeds O2 Academy
Wed 29 SCO, Glasgow 02 ABC
Fri 31 ENG, Manchester Apollo
Sat 1 ENG, Birmingham 02 Academy
Sun 2 ENG, Brighton Dome
Tue 4 LUX, Luxembourg Rockhal Club
Wed 5 GER, Cologne E-Werk
Thu 6 HOL, Amsterdam HMH
Sat 8 GER, Hamburg Docks
Sun 9 GER, Wiesbaden Schlachtof
Mon 10 BEL, Brussels AB
Tue 11 FRA, Paris Olympia
Thu 13 SPA, Barcelona St. Jordi Club
Fri 14 SPA, Madrid Barclaycard Center
Sat 15 POR, Lisbon Sala Tejo @ MEO Arena
Sun 16 SPA, Bilbao BEC
Tue 18 SWI, Zurich Volkshaus
Wed 19 ITA, Milan Alcatraz
Thu 20 AUT, Vienna Gasometer
Fri 21 POL, Warsaw Stodola
Sun 23 GER, Munich Kesselhaus
Tue 25 GER, Berlin Huxleys
Wed 26 DEN, Copenhagen Valby Hallen
Thu 27 NOR, Oslo Spektrum
Fri 28 SWE, Stockholm Hovet
Sun 30 FIN, Helsinki ICE Hall