Enter The Ghost Of A Thousand. Since their 2007 release, This Is Where The fight Begins, the band have gone from strength to strength, with front man Tom Lacey leading the way in what is possibly one of the best live shows around.
What has followed has been a slow rise to the top of the hardcore tree. 2007/2008 saw the band tour relentlessly with shows alongside bands such as Gallows, Alexisonfire, Saosin and a slot at the Lock Up Stage at Reading & Leeds Festivals. This year, the band has signed to Epitaph and look forward to releasing their brand new second album New Hopes, New Demonstrations and festival dates at Download, Reading & Leeds, Relentless Boardmasters, Guilfest and more. Anthony Giannaccini took time out to find out what makes the Ghost tick with Tom Lacey himself.
What was it like re-locating to a different country for the new record?
I think we really needed to leave the UK to get it right, we get very easily distracted and if
we’d recorded in London or Brighton the non-stop drop-ins would have just wound me up in
the end, it was great to be left alone for 5 weeks to get on with things.
Did your new surroundings have any effect on the sound/feel of the new album?
Not really, obviously Pelle was the key influence and to be honest we very rarely got the chance to go out into Stockholm as we were working so hard. Pelle was amazing though, a very funny man and a very strange man which suited us down to the ground. I think he brought the more deranged edge that the record has out.
What is ‘New Hopes, New Demonstrations’ about? Is there a particular message you’re trying to put across with this new record?
It’s about realising that the things that defined your youth are being taken away from you, and the things you do to try and retain them. I think if it has any message it’s that it’s not always going to turn out how you want, but you can salvage some good things from the wreckage of your life. You know, jolly stuff.
You’ve now picked yourself up a quite a considerable fan base through touring , press exposure and word-of-mouth; what was it like in the earlier days of the band back in Brighton when the crowds maybe weren’t so big?
It was bollocks, but every band has to do it and growing up playing in front of one of the most notoriously indifferent crowds in the country does a lot for toughening you up, making you keen to win people over rather than assuming they think you’re great.
You have a lot of festival dates booked for the summer, how do you approach these shows in comparison to your normal, smaller, indoor venue shows?
The same to be honest, we’re assuming that we’ve got people to win over at both types of shows. Maybe we try and keep the mood a little lighter at festival shows, keep it fun and fast.
Since signing to Epitaph, do you have any plans stateside for the near future?
Not as of yet, its Europe that we’ve got to get out into more at the moment, the US can keep for a while.
We’ve noticed you’re pretty keen on wearing some of the skateboard brands out there; do any of you rate yourselves as skaters?
I’d say a solid 4 out of ten as Gaz and Andy can skate to some degree, where-as the rest of us are fucking useless!
You’re fast becoming a band who is well-known for an intense live show; how do you keep yourselves going throughout a long tour?
Drink lots of water and try and avoid fast food, which sounds very dull but actually works. I don’t drink on tour anymore just because it was turning me into a ginger blimp!
Tom, we know you’re quite a well-established artist and have actually designed your new album artwork; does your work extend from there or do you prefer to dedicate your artistic time solely to your own band?
I love doing both to be honest, I been drawing for a lot longer than being in TGOAT, but they both help each other, people who know the band know I do a lot of our art so it kind of gives it a little brand power…hopefully I’ll get more work after our album comes out, we’ll see.
How do TGOAT approach song writing?
Jag tends to come up with the riffs and will knock them into shape with Andy and Mem, and then we’ll work out the vocal melodies on top of that. Pretty much every song we’ve written has been through several forms; we jam a lot of stuff out and test it live.
What’s been the biggest challenge TGOAT have had to face as a band?
Just getting better and writing the 2nd record was very tough, we find the whole process exhausting and very stressful, and it’s not getting easier!”
What advice do you have to offer bands out there that have just started out?
Fuck the MySpace off and stop worrying about shirt designs and merch, just get good live and get used to sitting in the van and going to practice. And print demos up and flog them, don’t just rely on people finding you online it doesn’t make the impact it used too at all.
Where, ideally, would you like to see TGOAT in a couple of year’s time?
Recording album number 3 in Nashville I think, although I couldn’t tell you with whom or what’ll sound like. It’d be nice to be playing some slightly bigger headline shows I guess, but we’ll see how we do.
I like Ike.
The Ghost Of A Thousand release their amazing Epitaph album New Hopes, New Demonstrations on June 1st. Don’t miss it.