GHOST frontman Tobias Forge recently spoke with Germany's Star FM. The complete two-part conversation can be streamed below (Forge's responses begin at the 6:48 mark). A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether he was surprised that GHOST's mystique was preserved for several album cycles:
Tobias: "Yes, I guess so. I was counting on it to be diminished, destroyed already very early on. But now in hindsight, looking at how everything played out, I think there was a dynamic between... one, most of the people in the world don't even give a shit, and the ones caring were fans. Many of them — not all of them, but most of them were either choosing to sort of stay away from that, the same way that I actually as a fan sometimes stay away from snooping around and things, just because I like to not know. It's nice sometimes to be in the wilderness of not knowing. The ones that knew were also willing to play the game, so it became a positive. The trick was not necessarily people from the outside wanting to look in. It was actually people from the inside wanting to burst out. I think it helped a little that I over the years, I was in the luxurious position of getting just enough pats on the back, just enough recognition that made my ego content, so that I had no desire to... I don't use social media anyway, but had I, I wouldn't [have] had the burning desire to take a photo that just accidentally shows that I am in the dressing room, and you see a mask in the back. I had no desire to do that. I tried to set a precedent there within the camp that it's way cooler not to flash it."
On whether the lawsuit filed by former members made him consider disbanding GHOST:
Tobias: "I don't think the big magic of the band has been blown. For me, it has never even been an option not to do this, because I did it before none of them were even in there. It was never conceived in such [a] manner that they would it like it to be conceived, so for me, I am sticking with the plan that I set out years ago, and I'm doing my thing, and I have my desire to do things and I have my obligations and I have my contractual, you know... We have a plan. That was [a] murmur — that was a disturbance, but there was nothing in that that made me not want to do this. With somewhat of a perspective and a little bit of hindsight, I'd rather say that I think it potentially was the thing that it needed in order to sort of be pushed slightly forward. Sure as shit, from a media point of view, I don't think that we could have done the same thing that we have done previously once more — you know, 'Here we are again, Nameless [Ghouls].' That doesn't mean we have to tell everything; that doesn't mean that we have to film everything; that doesn't mean we start [to] tweet and show pictures of what we eat for breakfast."
On new album "Prequelle":
Tobias: "There are a few things that [were] meant to be different with this record, not only in its content, but also in its storytelling. I'm also daring to say that this time around, we did record a few covers, with the intention of what we set out to do some time ago with previous things, but it ended up being EPs. This time around, I want them to sort of be additional material rather than having an EP coming out between this album and the next, because I thought that that was a little bit repetitive. I had the idea for years that as much as this anonymity thing or the Nameless Ghoul, that won't live forever the same way that people will find it slightly repetitive if Papa I, then Papa II comes, then Papa III, then Papa IV, then Papa V. It becomes very repetitive. Just because of the imagery and the theatrical element of the band, you have to have other elements that represent aging. The aging that you get, or the maturity... by being a person in your career, you get so much for free, just because you can have a beard on one record, then you can shave it off. Then you can dye your hair, and you go through various changes that sort of hand-hold the listener through your career and the various stages in your life, whereas this project, from a narrative point of view, needed a little bit of a special treatment just because you didn't have that. For this record, I definitely think that we needed a few things to be different, and a few things to be very similar. It's not as blatantly naive as 'Opus Eponymous', because that was written from a completely different perspective, where it was sort of detached. It was like one person writing about sort of a fantasy world. Fast-forward to now, and I think this record is very, very real, very personal. There's a gap between those two, but it's furthermore explaining similar things. At the end of the day, one of the biggest misconceptions of GHOST is that it's just about the devil. It's always been about mankind and living. Even though 'Prequelle' is a record about death, essentially, it's a record about survival, and I think that that is something that's gone through all the records. Even back to 'Opus Eponymous', there was a double meaning to things that doesn't necessarily have to do with evil sermons out of some old grimoire somewhere how to summon the devil. That is a symbolism in order to paint a slightly more interesting picture. It's the salt that makes the dish a little tastier."
On bringing his intended vision for GHOST to life:
Tobias: "A lot of the things that we're doing now are things that I've had on my agenda for years and years and years. More than often, what you see, or what we've been able to recreate, has usually been a tampered-with version of what I have in my head, because the original idea has always been bigger. Every time I am in the mode of creating a show, there's always some level of gravity that comes in play, either of a monetary sort or there's a space issue. If it's not the amount of buses that we can cater to having people/personnel, it's the amount of truck space we have or the stage size, or maybe there's another band playing that day that also has a production. There's always something fucking with it, and I spend a lot of time trying to get this show that we're going to bring on the road now to be as close to my intended show as possible. I think it's looking really good, but it's also a start."
Upon its release via Loma Vista Recordings last month, GHOST's latest album, "Prequelle" landed at position No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, shifting 66,000 equivalent album units during its first week of release. Of that sum, around 61,000 were in traditional album sales.
GHOST's first-week tally 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).
Interview part 1 (audio):
Inteview part 2 (audio):