During his first public "unmasked" interview, which took place at Los Angeles's Grammy Museum on May 1, GHOST frontman Tobias Forge described how he assembles material for the group's albums.
"I've always tried to write songs that we don't have," Forge explained. "This is the thing that at points inspires me to write, but it's also, every time you manage to muster an album and release it, it gets harder and harder. Without boring you with too many standard musical giveaways, you have the fast one, then you have the heavy one, then you have the song that reminds a little bit of that song, then you have a little bit of that, then you have the keytar thing, then you have the saxophone gag. It gets harder and harder [to avoid repeating yourself]. I see every record a little bit like a film, so each and every film — record — needs to have its own dramaturgy, and it has to have its own little autonomous roller coaster ride that's supposed to feel pleasant from start to finish."
Forge further explained that he envisions how songs will go over live as he's writing them. "I always want it to be a pleasant song to hear, but also a pleasant song to play," he said. "I play all the instruments needed to sort of make a song happen, which gives me the ability to [think], 'Here's a good guitar part,' 'Here's a nice bass part for you,' 'Here's a good keyboard part,' and 'Light guy, can you get a little light over her right there?' You sort of distribute the song so that it feels like a good song for everyone."
Forge acknowledged that his role as GHOST's primary songwriter is somewhat similar to being a director of a film — albeit one in which he also stars. "I guess that's the easiest way of seeing it. I just happen to play a part in it," he said. "I see it more from an objective view than I think a lot of artists are able to do, because — except for moments like these — I don't have to think too much about... I don't have to worry about what I look like, and that means I can step out of the character, I can step out of the stage, even though I guess for every record, lyric-wise, it comes closer and closer to home. It's still not [like] some artists, who every time they make a record, they open up their diary and tell you everything about their lives. I like a lot of artists like that, but I'm glad that I'm able to sort of step out of that. I'm not expected to be that character, and I know a lot of artists are troubled having to live up to the idea of being that person."
GHOST's new album, "Prequelle", will be released on June 1 via Loma Vista Recordings. The disc was recorded last year at Artery studios in Stockholm with producer Tom Dalgety (OPETH, ROYAL BLOOD) and was mixed in January at Westlake Studios in West Hollywood, California with Andy Wallace (NIRVANA, SLAYER).
GHOST kicks off its first tour in support of "Prequelle" on May 5 in Riverside, California.