GHOST mastermind Tobias Forge, who was publicly unmasked in 2017 when former bandmembers sued him, forcing him to reveal his identity, has told Music Feeds in a new interview that it has been easier to promote the band since his anonymity was taken away.
"There are advantages and disadvantages to both sides, I've found," he said. "They have their quirks. It's slightly more practical now, sure — I can walk into this room knowing we're going to do an interview, and there's not that awkward moment where we pass by one another and neither of us knows who is who. The thing is, when I'm out here publicly, I'm here as a representative — as a side figure — of this band. I will never be able to overshadow the profile of the band, the figures in it and its visual representation. This is not the official representation of GHOST — if you look at our records, our videos, our Instagram, our social media, our magazine covers, I'm nowhere to be seen. That's not me. Anything where it's me talking, that's just other channels that aren't officiated by the band itself.
"The funny thing has been that, as soon as I let my guard down and came out in the open about all of this, there have been a lot more media opportunities that have come my way," he continued. "The metal media was basically saying, 'Okay, we've been playing this charade with you for seven years. When are we getting the scoop? When are we getting the real you?' They felt it was their duty to cover it, and we felt as though we'd exhausted all of our options. To keep the band's image up, we said no to so many publications. After so many years, it was down to me to question why exactly that was.
"Sure, there's plenty of trash out there, but there's also a lot of places where we now get to speak to a lot of high-end publications. Take France, for instance. They're fascinated by the band — to them, it's very… [puts on French accent] cultured. [Laughs] At the end of the day, my job is to promote my band. It's as easy as that."
Asked how his relationship with fans has changed since the big reveal, Forge said: "There were many years where the so-called anonymity was a very poorly kept secret. It often led to awkward, weird moments. People would come up to me, because they knew who I was. They'd want to get a photo, and sometimes I would make exceptions if it was for a kid. If someone has their son or their daughter with them… I can't say no to a little kid, y'know? They wouldn't understand why I would want to turn that down. What would happen, then, would be some other guy would come up to me straight after that. 'Hey man, I saw you take a photo with that kid. I want one, too.' Not even so much as a please. And suddenly I'm the jerk in that situation. I just wanted to shut the whole thing down, like, 'I'm not taking photos with anyone.' It was such a Catch-22 for me. Now, unless I'm like in some super-shitty mood, I take photos with people. I don't want to let anybody down. I don't want people thinking I'm an asshole. I'm just trying to be as cordial about it as possible."
Forge recently said in another interview that his current stage persona, Cardinal Copia, has a very good chance of sticking around for GHOST's next studio album.
Tobias performed as a "new" Papa Emeritus on each of the band's first three LPs, with each version of Papa replacing the one that came before it. Papa Emeritus III was retired in favor of Cardinal Copia before the release of last year's "Prequelle".
Forge told Billboard that he is already focused on the band's next recording project, with plans to be in the studio again by the beginning of 2020. But GHOST still has an extensive touring schedule to get through for the rest of 2019, including a opening stint for METALLICA this summer.