During a recent conversation with Eddie Trunk, Ghost leader Tobias Forge was asked about the recent “blowback” the band’s been receiving in form of Satanism accusations. You can check out the interview below (transcribed by UG).
Do you feel that [these accusations] could potentially be an obstacle or a limitation for you at some point, or will you just keep knocking down the wall and move forward?
“I think the nature of our show will of course have – as opposed to Coldplay, we will always have a handicap that some people will shun away. I don’t necessarily see that as an obstacle to overcome, I think that there are enough people out there.
“We haven’t reached all people that would potentially be interested in what we are doing yet, so I can live with the idea that not everybody likes you yet. This is not for everyone. Going forward, I’m assuming that talking about the protesters…”
Yeah, there’s some stuff in the news lately, which is not all that unique. Going back to the days of KISS you saw that going on, the difference being in the lyrics… I mean, you are dressing as a Satanic Pope – where do you want to take that? Do you want to continue pushing the envelope, or do you see yourself creating a character that backs off from all that?
“No, I think that within Ghost there are certain parameters that I do as a professional musician who’s making my livelihood – this is what I do, this is my life, so I have to accept that there are certain parameters that I need to sort of move within.
“I do believe that even though some of the artists that had similar troubles with the moral right, I think it’s all how you present yourself and how you handle that.”
I think that the most interesting thing is that I’m sitting here addressing you by your real name. That wouldn’t have happened not too long ago, right? I mean, this is a byproduct of some unfortunate things that have happened throughout the band’s history. How’s that been for you?
“As long as I’ve been doing Ghost, I’ve been keen on maintaining – not necessarily anonymity – but a low-profile.
“But on the other hand, I spent 25 years not doing Ghost, where 20 of those years I wanted to be nothing but a famous rock musician. So it’s not like I started to playing rock in order to become known and recognized.”
Talking about that – in Sweden, you were in a few other bands, and I find it interesting because one of the bands you were in was sort of like a death metal band. Would that be accurate?
“Several of them, but the one I spent the most time with is Repugnant. It started in 1998, we’ve disbanded in 2004 after some six years.”
Did you have great success with that band or was it regional, like in Sweden?
“No, I was a tape trader in the ’90s. I started tape trading when I was like 12, 13, something like that. You know, you ordered demo cassettes, and you played recorded cassettes, so the idea with Repugnant was to be very old-school because, in the later part of the ’90s, people made demo CDs, we made demo cassettes, which are coming back again.
“I was sitting at the kitchen at home and my mom, like, made copies of the demos and sent them away. We did have, I wouldn’t say a worldwide following, but you know, the scene was this big.
“I think in the greater scheme of things, it was really good to have done Repugnant, like from a fame point of view because having Repugnant in the baggage aided me when it came to doing Ghost.”
In Repugnant, were you the singer? Did you also play an instrument as well? You were also in a band Crashdiet. Anybody that knows anything about Crashdiet knows that they are probably a complete opposite of a death-metal band. In that band, you did what?
“I played guitar, I played drums for a while, I guess the point was me being a guitar player. It was technically not my band; I helped form the band, but it wasn’t necessarily my band, I didn’t regard it as my band.”