Either you are a lover or hater, it’s a fact that GHOST is one of the most discussed bands in the world of rock and heavy metal music nowadays and it can’t be different when you see James Hetfield posing wearing a t-shirt with the face of Papa Emeritus.
In other news, “Meliora” marks the third studio record of the band and has been set to be released on August 21st. On the other side of our phone line, a Nameless Ghoul talks about everything you need to know concerning the much anticipated album and the “big thing” that the band is wishing to fulfill…
It is a long way down…
Ok I’m talking to a Nameless Ghoul… That’s interesting itself. How difficult is for you to keep yourself nameless?
Well it’s very hard and when we are on tour it gets harder because people are hanging out around the venue and around our tour bus and, you know, we have no choice but to go in and out… We basically rely on our fans to keep it secret for themselves and usually most of them are actually very nice.
What if your identities revealed? Would it be destructive for the band?
Not really. I mean, for us, we’ve been expecting it for almost 5 years. Our world is all a matter of how we choose to deal it within the band afterwards. If being exposed means that we would taking up the masks and then start playing without masks I think that would be bad. But as long as we don’t do that I don’t think there is much harm done…I don’t know but I don’t think so.
Do you feel that sometimes your music is maybe overshadowed by your image?
Ahm… yes and no, it depends. Sometimes I know that some people are not giving the band a chance just because of the image because obviously there are a lot of people that don’t find our image very appealing but might like rock music. Fortunately, for us, in terms of wanting to roll, we do play a lot live and we do play a lot of festivals so we are having our way to turning people around that way because I think that in the end of the day you can have a really cool image but there are a lot of bands that have a cool image but if you’re music isn’t that good, there is no image that can get you as far as it taking us. It can’t get you just the image alone, that wouldn’t work. So I think it’s a combination but I think that music definitely comes first.
Let’s get to your new album “Meliora”. I can tell you that I’m really impressed. In my opinion it’s your most solid album to date. What do you think?
I think so too, thanks! I think it definitely shows the band and the whole product in a new concentrated form. I really like that it boosts us in our live shows, while our two previous records are definitely good records but they don’t have songs that we will play forever and the records themselves performance live, is not that close to how we play them live. “Meliora” is more in line with how we are at the time that we perform it. It’s our best record, absolutely.
How do you see the coming of the new Papa?
I don’t know, we have not toured with him yet so we don’t know him very well but we will soon!
“Meliora” means “the pursuit of something better” in Latin. Is this a reference to something specific?
Well, it’s actually a reference to a very cool theme of the record being a reflection of the state of mind and the state of our souls nowadays in a modern world. The world is apparently picking that we are pursuing something better. I follow what’s going on and you must be pretty well aware… are we really getting better here? (laughs) This modern world is created very bleak, there is something wrong, there is something skewed with the modern world and we are not giving really answers but we are trying to hold you through the nudity of the modern world and that’s why we have the title “Meliora” which is ironic…you know, the big modern world… better, question mark?
So are the lyrics of the album related with the title? The concept of the lyrics?
Well it’s not a story telling in the sense of King Diamond. It’s about a mindset, bringing the sound in front of a certain background, which is the modern brave new world, where mankind is given like a free card, without a god without guidance. It’s about ambition and greed and independence.
How would you describe the new album to a fan that has not listened to the album yet?
It’s melodic hard rock I guess. It’s hard to simplify it or to go into details. We are joking saying it’s “arena rock” (laughs). Because it sounds like a music that is played in a bigger format because we want our records to sound like something that you hear in an arena, not something you hear in a bar. I mean we want to be heard in a bar too but not to be played live in a bar. So yeah, we are joking saying it’s “arena rock” !
Can you tell us a few things about the composing process of the record? How does it work when you’re about to write new music?
Well, usually, it’s not really like everybody of the band in a room. We use to be maybe three guys of the band in a room… Actually, much of the music we have done to date, it’s done in a more of a home situation sitting in front of a computer recording and re-recording again and again. That defines what we put out, the every bits of everybody in the band. So yeah, it’s computer writing and then it’s a bigger bigger thing.
Does Papa contribute to the composing process?
No, Papa doesn’t contribute to the song-writing.
The video clip of “Cirice” betrays your love to the horror movies. Do you see horror films as a source of inspiration when you write music?
Yeah, definitely, films in general. The cinematic world is very inspirational, it’s a big inspiration for what we do, by default, obviously horror films too. Especially type of gore things.
Do you have any plans for another video?
We are currently making one video and then we gonna start a third one within short. Videos nowadays are obviously a very powerful tool.
For which song are you making the video?
Right now we are making a video for “From The Pinnacle To The Pit”.
That’s great! Can you maybe reveal when is it going to be released?
It is going to be released quite soon…
Before the release of the album?
Yeah, I guess before the release of the album. I hope so.
“Meliora” marks also the return of your original name without the initials B.C. What happened with that situation?
The B.C. was something that was put under (our name) because of an internal policy with our bigger label, a part of our bigger label. That happened because we basically didn’t have someone within the label, I guess, to fully go into the dialogue that it needed, and, as we changed label within the Universal system, we ended up working with better partners from the Universal that were more interested in doing the work needed to take the initials away. That is the short explanation to the situation. It was a way-way more detailed in real life but it was basically a policy thing within our bigger label and, you know, you can get a lot of things done within a major label if you are JB (Justin Bieber), or if you are like the biggest artist of the label, but if you are Ghost, you know, within the whole Universal system, it’s very minor and then you are a very low priority. They don’t prioritize shit like that, so they reacted to B.C., because of copyright.
Closing the “Meliora” chapter, the covers of “If You Have Ghost” left good impressions to the fans and the media. Are there any thoughts of covering other songs in the future? And which song would you personally like to cover?
There are a lot of cover songs we would like to record sooner or later. I don’t know how and when it will come out, but it’s not going to be now because right now we are having a new record coming out, so we don’t want the new record to be overshadowed by other things. We want our record to speak for a while and then, hopefully next year sometime, it’s gonna be something.
Did you expect such a success of Ghost when you started the band?
No, not really. It’s very hard to predict a lot of the things that have been come through and even though the ambitions we had were quite high in terms of how we wanted the shows to look like and what we wanted to come across but, obviously, there were a lot of opportunities that we could not foreseen at all. I mean, you can’t plan for Metallica to like you or Iron Maiden to like you and asking to tour with them so… no, we didn’t expect it but we are very happy (laughs)
How do you imagine the future of Ghost? How would you like to be in ten years from now?
What I would really like to accomplish with the band before we quit is basically to be able to produce the whole thing, the show that we’ve been talking, the theatrical part of the show. Right now, even though we are getting a few steps closer to the bigger idea, this fall, on this tour, we are still half way of all the things that we want to do. And It would be a shame in my mind if we didn’t get to the point where we can produce the whole thing. But it’s asking for a lot because, you know, in order to become that band and make that show, you have to be an “arena band”, you have to have a lot of people to pay for it otherwise it wouldn’t work. But I definitely think that we do have in mind that it’s a point we haven’t been yet. So hopefully in ten year period we will become that band. But also, I would like to be one of the few bands that realize when time is up and then I really hope that we will have the guts to quit. There are so many other bands and all the bands can be around at the same time, there is a time and place for everything but, there are some bands that keeps on playing and keeps on making new records without any purpose at all and we don’t want to become that band.
So, what’s next for Ghost? What are your future plans?
Right now we are rehearsing the songs daily. We gonna be touring all this year, so many shows. There is a lot of touring coming up, that’s the point.
Are you going to return to Greece?
We really hope so. My best guess would be next summer. Right now we are doing a European tour in November-December but it’s hard to say that Greece is not in because this part of Europe is not included. Maybe next summer and we hope so because we have such a beautiful and really strong fan base in Greece and we want to get there but it’s far away so we need to connect that with playing Turkey and this part of Europe but unfortunately it’s not going to happen on the following European tour.
Before we close this interview, can you even tell me with which of the ghouls are you? Which instrument? (Laughs)
I’m playing the guitar!