It has been quite the year for Sweden’s Ghost. There have been countless news stories that have kept the anonymous band in the spotlight. Earlier, it was announced that they will no longer need to have BC in their name, which most ignored anyway. And when it was mentioned that Dave Grohl had at some point put on a ghoul suit and performed with the group, a lot of fans took to speculating his exact involvement. Although, I think we can safely assume there will be no ghouls sitting in a throne on this current headlining tour with Purson, which is set to promote their third full-length, Meliora, released back in August. This tour has been a talking point for many, as their show in Philly was moved from Sept. 26 to the 29th due to the papal visit in Philadelphia.
Of course, this couldn’t be any more of a perfect story for a band such as Ghost; where entertainment and performance is one of the most important aspects to the music and appearance. I had a chance to talk to one of the band’s Nameless Ghouls where we discussed the act’s recent release, the process of choosing cover tracks, and what the band has in store for their Black To The Future Tour. We also touched upon some of the group’s favorite musicians and how some of whom have helped launch Ghost’s career in an unbelievable way. And, we of course brought up the band’s anonymity and what the most difficult aspect to their performance is. Check out what Nameless Ghoul had to say below:
Congratulations on the success and first-Ever U.S. Top 10 Album with Meliora. Not bad!
That was cool (laughs). Our ambition at the beginning was to muster up enough material to get a record done. And in turn, that would allow us to play several shows a year. That is kind of how we figured it would go. The idea behind being an anonymous band is that nobody would know who we are and we will have fun a few times a year when we get to perform. Obviously, that is not what ended up happening (laughs). Now that we have been making more records, and playing a lot more shows and all, there are a lot of layers to the business. Being in a band like this, it’s almost like what you do the least is play. Sure, we will play a show for an hour and a half or two hours a night, but there is a lot of planning and PR that goes into it.
Because you have been doing this for a few albums now, is keeping anonymity a bit easier or still something you remain careful with?
Our first album was released back in Oct. 2010. We thought we would be outed by, let’s say, late Oct. 2010 (laughs). We have just been surprised ever since (laughs).
I think that’s what so great about you guys. For the most part, your fans don’t really care who you are. They like the curiosity aspect to it all and they care more about the performance and music than the people behind it.
Exactly. If you don’t want to know, don’t check. But if you do, the information is out there, somewhere. As we have been saying throughout the years, regardless of what people know about us, it won’t change our motive or performance in any way. As long as we don’t do that, I don’t think we are jeopardizing things. It would be a completely different story if we did an Unmasked tour or anything to that extent.
A lot of incredible musicians have come out and said that they are fans of the band. Does anyone in particular stand out to you
Metallica has been one of my favorite bands and probably a favorite for half of the band as well. For the other half that wouldn’t say Metallica, they might say Guns N’ Roses is their number one band. It’s been cool over the years to get to know Duff [McKagan]. Most of us were also big fans of Nirvana. And in a way, it’s been kind of mind-blowing to take a step back and realize the relationship we have with Dave now, compared to where we were before we started this band (laughs). But we all are so completely humble that not only has being in this band created such incredible opportunities, but it has given us these relationships.
And with all of these people including Phil Anselmo, Jerry [Cantrell] and Sean [Kinney] of Alice In Chains, and the guys in Iron Maiden, we would not have become as successful as we have. We were not released by a label that wanted us to become big, at least not in Europe. Hadn’t it been for the appreciation of these people and that they asked us to come on tour with them, that they supported us, or started talking about us on sort of a grander scale, there was not one penny thrown into the PR machine to get us anywhere. We are so thankful because they all have literally helped us get to where we are.
Another person that truly helped us a lot was Glenn Danzig. We were doing a festival with him in France a couple of years ago and he either had to change his slot with another act or cancel his performance. Regardless, he allowed us to take his slot at that event. And there, all of a sudden, we were headlining a major festival in France. That really changed everything for us (laughs). In that sense, yay Glenn (laughs).
You guys are constantly expanding and adding to your stage performance. What is the prep like for a Ghost tour?
Usually, the most difficult part is dismantling the ideas that we come up with (laughs). When you come up with an idea for a show and you go to enact it, you need to plan it all out into the itinerary for the tour. In other words, you gotta plan what you can and can’t do. There is a lot of back and forth amongst ourselves and those that help us out.
As the artists, we obviously want a great arena show from day one. But it’s great to come back to the same town and switch it up in any way. Whether it is at a different venue, or adding another aspect to the show. It’s good to mix things up. You really gotta portion your ideas out a little. We know throughout different legs of the tour, there is a lot that will be added on.
And right now, the setlist creation has been such a joy. It’s great when a new release adds something to the show. With the addition of Meliora, we are going to play about eight of those songs live. So all of a sudden, whatever setlist you saw a year ago, it’s going to be completely different this time around. Then you can start going out and portioning the songs. You can take a song that you love a lot and maybe take a break from it for a little bit. Whereas in the past, we might have had to play everything we have.
What is the process of making a cover? Making something like “Here Comes The Sun” so dark and sinister.
There isn’t really a set process or anything like that. We are always listening to music and as we started doing it, the radar has always been on. It is almost like if you are a photographer, you know, you are going to look for that Kodak moment. The list is always on the table and there is constantly a song on there that we are debating doing. I think right about now, we have it narrowed down to about three to five songs that we are looking to record in the future.
Ghost will be joined by Purson on the Black To The Future Tour. They will arrive at Terminal 5 in New York, NY on Sept. 27. They will then take the stage in Philadelphia, PA on Sept. 29 to perform at Union Transfer. Meliora is available now. For more tour dates and information, head on over to ghost-official.com.