During a recent appearance on Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon, Ghost leader Tobias forge discussed the importance of the band’s image, as well as the early days and how the whole project came to be.
You can check out a part of the conversation below:
Ghost has a mix of pop rock, melodic rock, metal, and on the new album ‘Prequelle,’ for example, you listen to a song like ‘Dance Macabre,’ which to me has almost [KISS’] ‘I Was Made for Loving You’ kindness to it. If you were just a regular band with a guy with a white t-shirt and jeans singing these songs, do you think you would have had the same attention? How important was the whole imagery, staging, and creating the character?
“I think that the image was tremendously important for the band. However, I think that we never would’ve gotten anywhere if we didn’t have the songs. One thing I am very proud of with regards to the image is that consciously we presented the music first…
“During my adolescence, and to this day, I loved bands that sounded a certain way, but also had a certain lack of ‘accessibility.’ Bands like Profanatica, bands like Necrowar, bands like that, where you hardly knew what they look like because they’re so clandestine.
“Back in the pre-internet days, when I got so deeply in love with black and death metal, there was hardly anything to see, you didn’t know what they look like.
“It’s just black-and-white picture, you’d seen five picture of them, tops. One being on the back of [Mayhem’s 1987 EP] ‘Deathcrush’ – you don’t see him, and it’s like those aesthetics have still a strong impact on me. And that’s something I wanted to do with Ghost.
“All these hundreds of shows that we’ve made, not making any money whatsoever, the only thing that sustained this band, being able to pay everyone – it’s because of the t-shirts.
“So, hadn’t it been for the logotype and the aesthetics, we wouldn’t have the brand to sell on t-shirts. We would have never been able to tour.”
Are you amazed or surprised at the success you’ve had with Ghost? Did you have a point where you were like, ‘OK, the music thing is not going to work for me’?
“The epiphany came to me in late 2009 where I was a year into parenthood and I’d worked at a job for a year. Just to be very straight, me and my wife being parents was very planned and very enjoyed, but I was definitely not happy with my working situation.
“I felt, ‘Wow, it’s incredible how far away I am from my dreams’ in terms of what I want to do with my life on a working basis. ‘What do I do?’
“Since I had Ghost, which was the project I felt really strongly for, it seemed to be the most enticing thing that I had been working on at the time. So I just decided there and then that I’m going to put all my strength in that basket, and I’m going to do it wholeheartedly, focused, to the extent that I’ve never been focused like before.”
When you started putting out the concept together, did you always see it as a solo project, or did you see it as, ‘This is going to be a band and I need to find the right players for it’? Tobias Solo thing or ‘I gotta go find a band now’?
“Originally, I was doing Ghost together with an old friend of mine whom I have played with me in both Repugnant and Crashdiet. In 2006, when the first seed of Ghost was planted, we had just stopped playing together, we just found ourselves in a position where we were just friends.
“When I presented the Ghost idea, it wasn’t called Ghost at the time. We had a song, ‘Stand By Him,’ we decided together that this might be a fun thing to do together.
“Then in 2008, when we did our first recordings together, on those recordings he was the engineer. While having entered the room, I had written 100% of the material, and I played everything and sung on it, we’ve sort of disqualified the idea of putting a band in order to get material, to perform.
“From a writing point of view, it was technically a one-man project, but our intention was to do a band together.”