Interview with Warm Ghost

In case you missed it, last week we presented Warm Ghost‘s Uncut Diamond EP, this week, we had the opportunity to ask band members Paul and Oliver a couple of questions, below is our interview with them:

First of all, tell us a little bit about Warm Ghost. Where are you from? Where did you meet? Who plays what?

Paul: Well, we met through a mutual friend, Roberto Lange, who does a wonderful project singing in Spanish called Helado Negro and is one half of the current version of Savath and Savalas, among tons of other things. Rob and I met at art school in Savannah, GA, and were immediate buds. Oliver has worked with Rob  musically as well and we connected that way … they’re from Miami and I’m From Texas.

Who inspired you to do music?

Paul: I kind of motivated myself to do it, but I think the first time I heard Jim O’Rourke’s Bad Timing and got into John Fahey through that record at age 20 or so, I knew I wanted to make compositions. I don’t come from a musical family though.

Oliver: A good portion of my family are musicians or artists, including my father.  I’d wake up every morning to the house shaking from my dad blasting grand funk railroad records. My exposure to music began early, started buying records when I was 5 and picked up my first instrument (piano) at age 7.

Who are your major musical influences?

Paul: Wire, Collin Newman, Carl Craig, Charlemagne Palestine, Martin Gore, Jim O’Rourke, David Sylvian, Bill Callahan, Holger Czukay / Jacki Liebezeit / Can in general, Lindsay Buckingham / Stevie Knicks, Richard D. James, Robert Smith, Autechre, Christian Fennesz, Oren Ambarchi, Dead Can Dance, Cluster, This Heat, David Maranha, Scott Walker, Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt, Alexander Spence, Mark Hollis … and lots more.

Oliver: Definitely have to agree with Paul on those.  So many people have influenced me over time, this list could go on forever…  I have a soft spot for early 4AD releases (Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Pale Saints, etc.), Coil, Michael Rother/Neu!/Harmonia, pretty much anything Conny Plank touched, Joe Meek, Arthur Russell, Brian Eno, Chris Carter, Popol Vuh, Chrisma, Bridget St. John, Alice Coltrane, Bo Hannson, Gong, I’ll stop here before things get totally out of hand.

Your lyrics are complex and poetic, often about rain and emotions deep from within, what were you feeling when you wrote Claws Overhead? What is it really about?

Paul: Well, without getting too into it, I was just dealing with a lot of depression problems and trying to find the best way to deal with it. For me “Claws Overhead” is wishing for some ominous creature to come out of the sky and surgically remove anxiety and depression from myself and the people I care about. I’ve dealt with depression in one way or another since I can remember, from an early age as a kid. It’s a bizarre thought, looking back, because I found my way past it, or outgrew it maybe. Whatever the case, it’s fleeting and I can feel it drifting away finally. But yeah, I wrote the song Claws Overhead in the guise of a sort of breakup song, but for me it is about severing yourself from the part of yourself that isn’t doing you any good anymore and knowing you will inevitably come out different on the other end and wondering what that will be like, wondering if there will be things you’ll miss. Re-released as the Uncut Diamond EP, there’s a different context, but in general that’s what the record is about. As particular as that description is, I really try to leave all of my words open ended. I don’t like songs that tell you what to think or feel. Definitely not interesting to me, but they need to have solid meaning to me or I’d get bored with them. Mystery comes first when I’m writing and then going searching for truths and clues inside of that dark environment.


Have you every played any covers? If so, who did you cover?

Paul: We have 2 covers as bonus tracks on the new EP. One is The Cure’s “All Cats Are Grey” , the other is “10th Planet” by this new wave/post punk band, Solid Space. They rule and only ever released one record. It was cassette only and it’s like one of my favorite records ever. Crazy.

When can we expect your first studio album?

Paul: Our deadline we’ve given ourselves is to be mixing and done in June. So, possibly a release date in August. We’re not fully sure or set in stone just yet, we’re about 4 songs in and it’s coming along pretty quickly, so we’ll see.

As a musician how would you rate your success, what has to happen for you to say: We made it! A grammy perhaps, or headlining a major festival or something else….?

Paul: Oh, I dunno, paying rent! Ha ha. I could personally care less about things like awards or notoriety. I make music because it feels right and I enjoy it. There’s a definite success just in that simple fact. But yeah, you have to pay rent with your job, so I think we both strive for that.

Oliver: Ha, yeah.  I’m with Paul on that.  The day we can pay our rent and bills solely from playing music will be a glorious one!

What do you enjoy more, the recording process or doing live shows?

Paul: Definitely the writing and recording process. I like being in my studio. I like the privacy, but I am really starting to enjoy performing live as well. I’m not sure why, but it’s a welcome surprise. I used to hate it. I think I will always enjoy writing the most though. That to me is where all the stimulation is. Where things are at there most interesting and abstract and I get to put the pieces together and discover things, which is something I live for. That just never happens for me live… but it’s fun. It’s just a completely different thing.

Oliver: When we’re in the studio, songs are still coming together and we can pretty much experiment and do whatever we want.  Playing live is always interested because we get to figure out how to play all that craziness live.  There’s definitely a lot of energy and fun that go into both recording and playing live, so I don’t think I enjoy one more than the other. Either way, I’m playing music and that’s what I love.

What have you been listening to lately?

Paul: Chrisma “Chinese Restaurant” and “Hibernation”, Light Asylum, Bochum Welt, Lower Dens, Laurel Halo’s “King Felix EP”, lots of old rock steady, Charlemagne Palestine’s piano music, Andrew Chalk “The Cable House”, Sebastian’s “Ross Ross Ross”, Joy Orbison, Mount Kimbie, Demdike Stare, Gatekeeper …

Oliver: Just picked up some great stuff actually!  Moebius and Plank “Rastakraut Pasta”, Xeno & Oaklander “Vigils”, James Blake, Epstein, Balam Acab, Dub Specialist “Bionic Dub”, really digging that Anika record too.

Below a playlist of their current picks:

To learn more about Warm Ghost head on over to their website and/or follow them on twitter @wrmgst

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