During his first public "unmasked" interview, which took place at Los Angeles's Grammy Museum on May 1, GHOST frontman Tobias Forge discussed the series of events that inspired him to form the band and how the group's lyrics have become less "fictitious" over time.
"The first record, when I wrote it, I felt very, very enthusiastic about the writing process being so playful," Forge recalled. "The first song came out of nowhere, and just felt like this weird blend that somehow worked out. It was almost like a heavy metal parody song, but it spoke to me in a way, like, 'Wow, this song really feels special.' That was 'Stand By Him' from the first album [2010's 'Opus Eponymous']. A friend of mine, [Gustaf Lindström], we had played in the same band before — he was the bass player of REPUGNANT. Some of you might know him as Carlos Sathanas. I was Mary Goore. I played him 'Stand By Him', and he was just, like, 'Well, we should form a new band.' I said, 'We only have one song. You can only get [so] far. Let me do this — let me see if I can come up with two more songs that are are written in the same playful way, where it feels like you can mix anything. And if that works, maybe we can do something with it.' I think that the order was 'Stand By Him', and then came 'Death Knell' and 'Prime Mover'. When I had those, it felt like, 'Wow, this m.o. feels like something to build on.'"
When writing GHOST's second album, 2013's "Infestissumam", Forge says he resisted the urge to repeat himself. "It would have been easy to try to make 'Opus Eponymous II', and just stick with a routine," he said. "But it just felt like if this is going to go anywhere, we need to take big steps every time. We need to create songs that we don't have already. We need to go both slower and faster, and wider and thinner. The one thing that I really felt that might come as a surprise to some people, but the lyrics on the first record [are] maybe kind of fictitious. I like a lot of occult-oriented sort of music, where basically, they just sing about a recipe for black mass. That's fine, and I love it, but it's hard to do that for album after album after album. Sooner or later, the candle will burn down. I figured that, 'Well, if there are people listening, you might as well say something that has a little bit of substance.'"
GHOST will release its new album, "Prequelle", on June 1 via Loma Vista Recordings. The record 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).
GHOST played the first official show of the "Rats! On The Road" U.S. tour on Saturday night (Saturday, May 5) at Riverside Municipal Auditorium in Riverside, California. In addition to the previously released new single "Rats", which opened the concert, GHOST played four more songs from "Prequelle" album, including "Faith", "Dance Macabre", "Miasma" and "Pro Memoria". "Miasma" featured a saxophone solo from Papa Nihil, the aged "original" Papa Emeritus.
The band broke its show up into two sets, with the first featuring 12 songs and the second consisting of 11 numbers. The group spread out the new material across both sets, interspersed with fan favorites and hits like "Cirice", "From The Pinnacle To The Pit", "He Is", "If You Have Ghosts" and show closer "Square Hammer".
The band has expanded its onstage lineup to include at least eight musicians, not including the guest appearance from Papa Nihil.
GHOST next performs in Houston, Texas on Tuesday night (May 8).
The Swedish-based act also played a surprise warm-up show on Friday night (May 4) at the Roxy nightclub in Los Angeles, where it aired three new songs during a 45-minute set. The Roxy concert was only announced one day earlier and tickets — priced at $6.66 — were made available starting at noon the day of the show.