One of the “Nameless Ghouls” from the mysterious Swedish buzz band GHOST was interviewed on the May 4-6 edition of Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.
To see a full list of stations carrying the program and when it airs, go to FullMetalJackieRadio.com.
Full Metal Jackie: What’s it been like being on this MASTODON/OPETHtour?A Namless Ghoul: Oh, very joyful, I would say. We’re playing to a lot of people, and it basically feels sort of like a continuation of the tour that we did in January. We’re hitting some of the same cities on this tour, but we’re also hitting a lot of places where we didn’t go on the last run, like in Texas, just generally South, also Canada and the northern part of Canada. It’s going to be fun, especially since we actually canceled the tour there; we were supposed to go there. So by the end of this tour, we pretty much covered most places except for Florida, I guess, or Arizona or New Mexico, but we will get there.
Full Metal Jackie: The debut record from GHOST, “Opus Eponymous”, has [created] quite a buzz and you’ve got high-profile supporters like James Hetfield [METALLICA] and Phil Anselmo [DOWN, PANTERA]. What do you think other bands like most about GHOST?
A Namless Ghoul: We like to think that our playfulness in terms of not — I almost said think too much — obviously, we think, but we feel a lot and we try not to limit ourselves to genres. Even though we’re a hard-rocking band, we try to mix everything from death metal elements to new-wave choruses. And I think that sort of resonates to… I wouldn’t say only an older generation [because] we have a lot of new, younger fans, but I think that anybody who is older than 35 might have a stroke of nostalgia or whatever.
Full Metal Jackie: There’s definitely hints of some classic rock even in the music.
A Namless Ghoul: Yeah, absolutely.
Full Metal Jackie: Which came first, the style of music or the idea for the image and how do they influence each other?
A Namless Ghoul: The whole project, the whole band started off with a song that turned into three songs, and by the time there were three songs on the table… it came very natural during the making of those first songs — that it was supposed to be in a certain lyrical way and the content of it was supposed to be a very orthodox, is probably the right word. That whole theme screamed theatrics and all of us are old fans of horror and just plain old-school entertainment, whether it be entertainment or theatrical or musical, and the songs spoke that way. So it was very clear very early on that this was going to be a very theatrical band. And that’s what we do.
Full Metal Jackie: KISS eventually unmasked, so did SLIPKNOT. Can you foresee a day when GHOST won’t be anonymous?
A Namless Ghoul: I think there is a difference between being anonymous and unmasked. Where SLIPKNOT actually wear masks still, while KISS during their unmasked days didn’t. Obviously, it’s a thing of the times. What we’re trying to do, it’s very hard to maintain. If the actual goal was to not be known, we try to maintain that, but in the long run we can’t really expect that to be something everlasting. Most of our fans are actually quite keen on not knowing, which works to our favor, but I think there is a difference between people knowing who is behind the mask or being unmasked. We can’t really see ourselves going up on stage and afterwards just dropping the masks saying, “Oh, it’s me, it’s me, actually. Can you see?” No, no, no… We don’t want that. We don’t want to spoil it. That’s the whole reason why we are anonymous and we try not to show ourselves. We try to eliminate, not the human aspects, but the humane aspects, if you want. We want to put Papa Emeritus in the limelight. He’s supposed to be the living character, even though rigor mortis has basically set in in his poor old body. But that’s the face of the band. He’s the person, everybody else are just puppets.
Full Metal Jackie: So far you’ve covered ABBA and THE BEATLES. What makes a non-metal song suitable for a metal band like GHOST?
A Namless Ghoul: Most of those songs that we’ve chosen to cover, or, that is to say, basically, songs that you haven’t heard yet, or songs that we have been working on, are always songs that we can find a different take on. We don’t see much purpose in just playing other people’s songs. Most covers, traditionally, are just plain playbacks of the original, which is not really our thing. We want to find certain songs that resonate one feeling and if you can turn that around, like we did in “Here Comes The Sun”, which is in its original very hopeful, very very romantic tune about the arrival of spring and love, I guess. By just changing a few chords and basically just tuning down to minor, it had a totally different meaning. And “I’m A Marionette” is not really that weird, because that song in its original is actually quite dark, but it’s a forgotten song. Most people that know ABBA don’t know that song and it fits us very well and we think we can make it… absolutely not better, but we make it different.
Full Metal Jackie: What do you think is the future of GHOST and what was your goal of where you would see the band?
A Namless Ghoul: These 18 months since we released the album has been a lot of touring. We play a lot of concerts and our goal has always been to put on a show that was way more theatrical than we have had the opportunity to, sort of, perform or display in this type of touring. Even though this is a tour where we’re actually allowed to flex our muscles a little bit, you can’t expect to have a production. We have our windows, we have a few things, but I’d say that our short-term goal, for now, when we have a new album out, will be to start bringing forth a way more theatrical show that will be a lot more intriguing with a few magic tricks.
Photo credit: Stephanie Cabral