16th April 2007
Brighton-based quintet The Ghost Of A Thousand have recently unleashed a stunner of a debut album in ‘This Is Where The Fight Begins’; a volatile mix of hardcore, rock n’ roll and unbridled punk rock fury that will hit you like a sledgehammer to the senses.
The band recently toured the UK as support to Poison The Well, and Alex Gosman caught up with vocalist Tom Lacey and guitarist Andy Blyth before a show at London’s Islington Academy.
How are you guys, and how’s the tour going?
Andy: It’s been really good, actually, there’s been plenty of kids at the shows – and the other bands are really great guys too. And it’s brilliant being able to watch them night after night!
Are PTW fans enjoying it?
Tom: Yeah, they seem to be giving us a chance, it’s been really cool. I think most kids that are into Poison The Well are fairly open minded anyway; because they’re not a straight up metal, or punk, or hardcore band – they throw a lot of different stuff into the mix, which is what we’re doing too, so it’s been awesome.
Can you give us a brief history of The Ghost Of A Thousand?
Andy: Well, Memby [drums] and Jag [guitar] are brothers, and they’ve been in bands together for ages…I first met Memby when I went to music college in Brighton, and he played me a demo of some recent stuff that they’d written, which I thought was cool. Then Jag moved down to Brighton to join us…
Tom: I was working in a bar with Memby, who was in another band at the time…
Andy: Yeah, and Gez is actually our third bass player! He was a friend of mine from college, and it just kind of went from there – it seems to be working out alright so far!
So have you toured a lot since you formed?
Tom: Yeah, we’ve been out on the road almost permanently since about a year ago, when we started getting a lot of shows…we’ve done a few headline gigs here and there, and toured a bit with bands like The Abominable Iron Sloth, Aiden, Silverstein, Boys Night Out, McQueen and various other bands who are friends of ours. But this tour is the biggest and longest that we’ve done so far, and it’s all been amazing. I’d have gone to see Poison The Well anyway, because I’m a big fan, but to actually be supporting them on tour is awesome.
Your album is called ‘This Is Where The Fight Begins’ – was there any particular inspiration for that title? Having read your lyrics [check the Myspace link below], you seem to be a pretty dissatisfied bunch…
Andy: [laughs] I think it’s just that we’re bored of all this apathy, all these bands who seem to lack passion…because going to see bands seems to have become just another trend for a lot of people, and you can’t help but wonder if some of the kids are really there for the right reasons. So yeah, the title kind of represents us striking out against all that, and having something to say for once, instead of the usual crap.
Do you feel that there aren’t many bands out there that share your outlook, in that respect?
Tom: Yeah, that could well be the case…although we do have some ‘allies’ in Gallows and a band called Attack! Vipers!, who are both great bands. I think Gallows – and the buzz around them – is helping to open doors for a lot of bands like us. But I don’t think there are that many great rock n’ roll bands in this country – at least, not many that actually have much to say for themselves. You ask some of those bands what they’re all about and they just come out with the usual ‘girls, drinking, rocking out’ clichés…
Andy: And zombies!
Tom: Yeah, I mean it’s fair enough with Send More Paramedics, because they’re completely into it…but I think there are too many bands who are scared to write about anything meaningful and just go for angsty, faux-horror crap instead.
Maybe some of them don’t know any better…they hear a band singing about cutting up girls, and figure that they should do that too, and it just becomes another trend. It’s just getting really old…we can’t sing about that stuff, we’ve all got mums!
Andy: [laughs] How can I sing about hating women, when my mum’s one?
So what was it like working with Kurt Ballou [Converge guitarist, who produced ‘This Is Where The Fight Begins’]?
Andy: It was amazing – we sent him a demo of some tracks that were gonna be on the album, and he got back to us and said that he’d like to work on it with us…it was great to get a seal of approval from one of the most respected bands in hardcore today.
Tony: Yeah, it was amazing – and I think he really liked our stuff, because he gets a lot of demos from typical metalcore bands and bands that are basically trying to sound like Converge. So I think he enjoyed the fact that we have a few hooks and melodic parts, and that we wanted it to be mixed like a rock n’ roll record, as opposed to a metal record.
Andy: We wanted to try and capture a bit of our live aspect on the record – to sound aggressive, but in a loose, raw kind of way…and in that respect, he did a great job.
Where did the hardcore scene that was built on punk rock in the late 80’s go?
Andy: Well, it kind of dissolved into post-hardcore, I guess…
Tom: The thing is, music’s always gonna change, and whenever you look back on the glory days of any genre, it’s always through rose-tinted spectacles. The only bands anyone remembers from those late 80s hardcore days are the good ones, because there were loads of shit bands around at that time!
Andy: I think a lot of the passion and anger present in that hardcore scene got fused with metallic guitar riffs and evolved into something different…
Tom: Yeah, there are a lot of so-called hardcore bands around today that are really metal bands, but because they don’t look like Lamb Of God, they aren’t labelled as metal. It’s a weird one really…take Killswitch Engage, for example; they’re really a straight up metal band, but they were labelled as metalcore because they came from a hardcore-dominated scene. There’s still plenty of traditional hardcore stuff around, but I think it’s largely still underground.
So what are your plans for the near future, after this tour ends?
Andy: Pretty much to carry on doing what we’re doing…we want to try to build a loyal fanbase, just get our name out there, get more gigs and recognition…and mainly to just get better as a band. We’ll probably get some stuff done for the second album, but we won’t be going back into the studio anytime soon – it’s gonna be mostly touring for the rest of this year. I’d rather just stay on the road for now, to be honest!
Interview Alex Gosman
Live shots by Niki Kova’cs