One of the Nameless Ghouls from Swedish occult rockers GHOST was interviewed by the 93.3 WMMR radio station prior to the band’s September 18 performance at the Rock Allegiance festival in Chester, Pennsylvania.
On GHOST‘s new EP, “Popestar”, which includes covers of songs from bands like ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN and EURYTHMICS along with a new track called “Square Hammer”:
“In between the last two records, we also did what we refer to as a covers EP, which at that point was more like a fun excuse to do something with Dave Grohl. This time around, we went into the studio recording the full-length album [2015’s ‘Meliora’] with the intention of adding extra material, because when it comes time to release an album, it’s always favorable if you have additional material, because there are so many partners that demand extra material — one [song] for Japan and one for Best Buy and one for that, and one for that, and an exclusive there. So we had a little bit of a dilemma, because the [‘Meliora’] producer, he was, like, ‘I’m gonna record the album. No covers.’ ‘Okay. All right.’ But we thought we were gonna be done recording [‘Meliora’] by the end of the year, 2014, so we thought, ‘Well, we’re gonna have all spring [of 2015]. It’s gonna be great. So we can do B-sides, basically.’ The [‘Meliora’] recording took until May , to get it mixed and all that, so we had no choice but to just leave the B-sides out. There was no time [to get them recorded]. So we had to struggle a lot with all the different partners, to grease them up to the point of feeling loved without exclusive material. But that also ended up being, like, ‘Oh, we’ve got all these kind of cool ideas of covers that, sooner or later, might be good to record to prolong the pain of [the album cycle]. And we love it, but, obviously, if you don’t like the band, we would prolong it. And also, at that point, we had an additional song that would have gone very well together with the album called ‘Square Hammer’. So when we finally saw a little window of time, it was, like, ‘Yeah, let’s record ‘Square Hammer’ and I guess those four songs will be some sort of B-side to that.’ ‘Okay, then it’s an EP.’ All right, we ended up doing sort of an EP again with covers on it. That was, basically, the background story for it. It was never planned to be necessarily another covers EP. I wouldn’t promise that it’s gonna be a tradition.”
On the humor in GHOST‘s music and presentation, despite the band’s somewhat dark image:
“Yes, I think that that is also one thing that we’ve never tried to make a secret of — the fact that even though we have a lot in common… we have many things in common with bands that definitely sound a lot more aggressive than we do, like black metal bands… Our image is definitely more black metal than it is new street metal, whereas our music is not, obviously. But I think that one of the main differences between us and the more extreme black metal bands is that… If you go to a… They’re very close friends of mine, so this is very well meant… But if you go to a WATAIN concert, for example, or bands like that — there are several bands like BEHEMOTH, also very good friends of ours — personally, we have a lot in common, but we do our job very differently, and our aim to please definitely feels like it’s very different. When you go to a show like that [WATAIN], it’s supposed to feel like you’re basically taking an acid bath in hell, and a lot of people in the crowd definitely look like they are. And I love that too, but our intention was never to have that sort of ‘uncomfort.’ There are aggressive elements [in GHOST‘s music], and the further we go in our career, we add more highs and lows. So nowadays, we have a song like ‘Mummy Dust’, for example, which is usually a song that has a little bit more moshpitting than, I guess, ‘He Is’ has. But, for us, it’s always been very important to have a very, very varied-tasting seven-course meal, sort of, whereas… With no negativity in it, but I’m saying that most metal bands don’t; it’s supposed to be a little bit more of a straight, hard, rough pummel. And I think that that is sometimes what puritans might shun away from [in GHOST‘s music]. So it’s not for everyone. It’s fine.”
On GHOST‘s plans for 2017:
“After this, we’re done in November, we’re gonna go back home and start pre-producing the new record. And January-February, we’re gonna tour Europe. So the same show that we’re doing here [in the U.S.], we’re gonna do there, the new one. And I think we’re done after that, touring. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll have the time to go to some of these places that we haven’t done so far on this touring cycle, like Australia, Japan and another run to South America. I don’t know… Since we wanted to go down there, we’ve said that March-April would be the time for us, but we cannot do it too extensively, because we really need to go to record the album. So springtime is probably [the time] to record a new album, and [for the] new album to come out next fall, and then [after that we will] restart [the whole touring cycle].”