Interview

Ghost Wave

Ghost Wave

Wednesday 13th October, 2010 1:06PM

Ghost Wave swap problem riddled gear and samples for hazy, naturalistic jams that return the energy they feed off to spark their obsession with music in the first place. All this takes place in a ‘Ghost Cave’ that may or may not involve 3D Drones in Marmalade Oscillation, a working title for their forthcoming release.

Hey guys, how’s it all going?

Hey, its going good thanks...

How’re the bright lights of Sandringham treating you?

Sandringham is good, it seems like the summer is settling in a little bit which is nice.

You haven’t always been a three-piece – tell us a bit about the history of the band.

Thats true the evolution of our band has been a slow process. We've all made music in various forms prior to playing in this band... I met Eammon about a year and a half ago, we were both making a lot of house-influenced music and playing it live a bit. I personally began to feel a bit swamped by the amount of sample-heavy music that was coming out at the time, although I was definitely a fan of it... and also having a lot of experiences of gear breaking at the worst times motivated me to try and write some songs that if worst came to worst I could play really simply on a guitar. So yeah, we played as a two piece for a while and then eventually felt like it was time to get a bass player, so we got our good friend Rikki to come jam and since then we've been playing in that lineup... It was all pretty organic.

Can you remember the point at which you wanted to stop just listening to music and start making it?

Not really, growing up all I did was listen to music and so my motivations tend to veer towards wanting to give something back to that energy, make something that someone might turn on and get psyched on... I find it hard to listen to music and not try and decipher it, to figure out what's going on, so maybe that's the point, which would be like 16.

What other bands/projects have you guys been involved with?

Rikki plays guitar for our friend Claire's band Dear Times Waste, Eammon has his own group of dudes in Wellington who he jams with... heavy trance jams, and has produced a whole lot of techno music as Basketball Nightmare, which is how we came to meet.

I understand you have a “fortress of solitude” of sorts – tell us about the Ghost Cave...

Ha ha, the ghost cave is kind of like our HQ. A lot of the demos that are floating around were recorded in there.... it's just got a real good feel, super garagey... It actually used to be the base of a weed-growing operation, but that was a while ago... we had to knock down a fake wall or two before it was really sweet to jam in there.

What stuff have you guys been listening to recently? 


Do you find new stuff has much of an influence over your sound, or do you usually revert to the old faithfuls?

Lately I've been listening to a lot of old blues singers, Jessie Mae Hemphill, and a lot of sitar music, I'd say my favourite would be Ananda Shankar. As to what influences us most I'd say its pretty even... most new stuff kind of sounds like old stuff in some respect anyway, which is something I can get into. We listen to a lot of new techno and electronics via Eammon who is mainly into those types of jams, and he gets into other stuff via us. So its a healthy balance. The latest Ariel Pink album is one we all find it pretty easy to agree on.

What is your writing/recording process?

For this record the process has been different for every song. I'm not a very technical or methodical musician which can be annoying for a lot of people, but yeah I tend to have a chord or a sample and maybe have a few loose ideas about where a jam could go, or sometimes make demos at home... We don't really do too much talking though, I'd say its all pretty casual. For the most part it feels like the songs find us more than anything...

There seems to be a pretty big Clean influence to your music – agree? How would you say Ghost wave sounds?

We get that a lot... Maybe people hear it cause we have a few three chord songs, or my voice or something, I don't know. The Clean has influenced a few things we've done but so have a lot of other bands, but I'd guess the Clean probably influenced them in turn. I don't feel like they're a particularly direct or big influence... although maybe the fact we're a three-piece kind of lends to that comparison. I get a bit defensive about being compared to the Clean cause it seems kind of obvious, but its all good and I guess I should take it as a compliment...

You’ve tentatively titled your upcoming record 3D Drones in Marmalade Oscillation – does that title still stand?

I have no idea what we will call the record, but it probably won't be that. I think we were all hoping our music would kind of sound like that description, kind of like these weird mutations on a drone. The title isn't something we've thought about too seriously yet though.

How is the record coming along anyway?

We're almost finished. I told my girlfriend in July that I'd get a job in August, cause I thought it would only take a month. It's the end of September now, but I think like 4 or 5 of the 7 songs are finished... We've played some rough versions on a few radio shows in Auckland and Wellington, but we haven't played anyone the final jams yet, so we're looking forward to having them finished for sure.

Do you have a release date? Planning anything special?

We don't have a release date yet. It would be cool to plan something sweet somewhere but I have no idea right now. I think it'd be cool to do a show in the Winter Gardens or something like that, but we'll probably just do a few release shows, have our friends play and stuff. Maybe a tour.

What would be your Dream Collaboration?

I dunno, I'd be pretty keen to do a record with Pete Kember (Sonic Boom).

What do you enjoy most about music?

I find it a pretty positive experience all around... I guess I most am into those moments where you're playing and your body kind of blends in with the air and the sound. Those are the moments that I go for most of all. Having made good friends through doing the jams has also been a pretty big part of it for me.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt musically in the last year?

I don't even know where to start. Probably the best lesson I've learnt is that working fast is good.

What’s the best concert you have ever been to?

Probably a toss up between Pavement earlier this year and Animal Collective at the Kings Arms a couple years ago.

Best or most memorable gig you have played?

I can't think of the best gig we've played but we tend to have a pretty good time when we play Wellington. Most of my memories are directed towards the times where I fuck up, strings break, or singing out of tune.

If a Ghost Wave were something that somebody did, what would it be?

Probably would involve sitting in the ghost cave talking to Surf City about aliens.

Most overrated band at the moment?

I'm not sure, I'd say anyone making music a positive thing...

Most underrated band at the moment?

I don't know if they are underrated but I enjoy Grass Cannons most of new local bands.

What do the tarot cards say is in the future for Ghost Wave?

We'll release this record... I've started working on new songs and have all the new titles. We havn't consulted the tarot but the voices in my head keep telling me not to stop, so I guess we'll just keep it going until we're bored... I don't really have a backup plan for my life at this stage, but I think that's a condition I chose for myself, and its a pretty big motivator for me to be busy and working hard at the band...

The state of music in NZ is….

I'm excited by a lot of the bands I'm hearing about... I don't really go out or watch live shows all that much. I'd say we're all pretty home-based people... that said I feel lucky when people come out to watch us play, or care about what we're doing. That seems positive to me and I think there are a lot of bands to look out for and are worth seeing. The only bad side of things is the lack of venues, kind of makes things a little bit harder. Although I'd say struggle can be a good thing especially when you're involved in creating art or music or something...

Matt Williamson




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