Cameron Buchholtz of Rock 100.5 The KATT conducted an interview with GHOST frontman Tobias Forge at last month’s Rocklahoma festival, which was held in Pryor, Oklahoma. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On performing new songs live before they are officially released:
Tobias: “Yeah, it’s always a risk doing that, obviously, because it’s like having a trailer for a film that shows too much of the film. And I think also nowadays when studio recordings are not necessarily just a capture of the band playing it, it’s obviously quite directed and sort of in place and with a lot of steroids in it, of course, you want people to hear the fully fledged, the best version of it first, so that they fill in the gaps, hearing it live later, rather than the other way around. But I’m also embracive of the old-school way of doing things, so I think that it’s worth presenting them in a very live version and then you hear the recording later.”
On GHOST‘s more stripped-down live show:
Tobias: “I wouldn’t use the word ‘stripped down,’ because we actually increased the personnel quite radically. But we have taken off the majority of the so-called backtracks, which means that whereas in the past, where there was only one singer — no one else was singing anything — those harmonies that we’re known for needed to come from someplace in order for it sound a certain way. So they were magically in there from a computer. Which was something that bugged the hell out of me — I didn’t wanna do that, but that was the only way to do it. And in order to play our songs, you need to have two keyboard players playing at the same time, because there’s a lot of multi… you need to have a three-armed keyboard player. So my plan was always — even five or six years ago — to have a band that was eight or nine people. It’s very expensive, and the more people you have, the more potential [there is for] not just personal problems, but the more people you are, the harder it gets for everybody to play in unison. So you need to have people that are very used to that and that have a certain mindset. And finally we got to a point where I think we got that. We were able to get rid of… I’m saying a majority of the backtracks, because technically, we’re still on… another technical term — it’s basically a click track. Just because that’s what you do — every band does that nowadays because you have to do that in order to sync certain things. So we have a little bit of an outro… we have outro situations and intro situations and certain things that are technically still on tape. But when the band is playing, that’s all live, analog, organic, which feels so much better — it’s a major upgrade.”
On how long ago he had the concept worked out for GHOST‘s new album, “Prequelle”:
Tobias: “The major foundation of the theme of the record and what was gonna happen, that dates back maybe three or four years. So, definitely, I always try to have that in mind making the record. And a lot the things that you have in store do not materialize; they might materialize later. From my point of view, a lot of the things that we’ve done over our entire career have always been a big failure, because it was never the way that I planned it. But then there’s always upsides with it that turn out to be better or greater than the original plan. And some of the things I just sort of re-forge in a way and just do it at a later date to sort of further underline something.”
On whether he already has some vague idea of the next record and the record afer that in his head right now:
Tobias: “I know what we’re gonna next time, yes. It will be a work in progress up until the day that I master the album. But I know where the story sort of goes. And with simpe mathematics of how a tour cycle usually pans out — a record comes out, you tour for 18 months, then you go back into the studio, that takes six, seven months, and then it’s 18 more months [of touring] — I think we have a five-year plan. And then I have another project at the end of that tunnel that might or might not materialize. It’s a little bit of a side thing that takes a ton of collaboration and many stars aligning. And that’s been in the works for years. So we will see if that happens. But that is as far as I can see right now.”
“Prequelle” landed at position No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart. The disc, which arrived on June 1, shifted 66,000 equivalent album units in the week ending June 7. Of that sum, between 61,000 were in traditional album sales.
GHOST‘s first week benefited from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer in association with the band’s spring U.S. theater tour, as well as a pair of arena dates later this year.
“Prequelle” was tracked last year at Artery studios in Stockholm with producer Tom Dalgety (OPETH, ROYAL BLOOD) and mixed in January at Westlake Studios in West Hollywood, California with Andy Wallace (NIRVANA, SLAYER).