A conversation with one of the nameless ghouls from Swedish metal band Ghost
Formed in Sweden in 2008, Ghost released its debut record a little more than a year ago, yet the band is already making some serious waves in the metal community. In addition to rave reviews, Metallica frontman James Hetfield wore a Ghost T-shirt and praised their music in interviews, while Down lead singer Phil Anselmo invited the band on stage to play a song at the Download Festival last July. Not bad for six "nameless ghouls" who like to hide themselves under black hooded robes while their corpse-painted singer, Papa Emeritus, looks like a magnificent, satanic, Mercyful Fate-worshipping pope.
A few days before Ghost embarked on its first North American tour (last year’s got cancelled due to visa issues), Hour spoke over the phone to a very calm, polite and articulate "nameless ghoul" from his Swedish home.
About Ghost’s identity and origins: "I hate to disappoint you, but I’m basically a nameless ghoul and I play guitar. And that’s everything my coven allows me to say. [...] The age span is actually quite vast in the band, ranging from 24 to 55. Some of us played in the same bands for 10 years. [...] We are all from the same city [Linköping]." By the way, this is also where bands like Seance and Satanic Slaughter hail from, as do Opeth drummer Erik Martin Axenrot and his Witchery colleague, The Haunted guitarist Patrik Jensen. Just sayin’.
About their musical background: "Collectively, we come from metal, hardcore, pop and some roots-reggae backgrounds, and we are basically summoned to a [unified] plea, in this band together, trying to create something that is timeless, emotionally moving and passionate, in order to make people forget about their mundane life for an hour or two every day," he says laughing. Citing Alice Cooper, Venom and Slayer as well as horror films among his influences, he also admits that The Doors had "a huge influence on the band" and that "contrary to popular belief, we aren’t really influenced by bands like Witchfinder General or Coven."
About their vow of anonymity: "The initial idea was basically just to remove all the individualism out of the band because we wanted the concept and the show to be the focus point. [...] In the Ghost world, the entity of the band benefits a lot from being something clandestine [and from] having a clear backstage darkness where everything can be created."
About what to expect from a Ghost performance: "Pure horror pop… And smoke."
w/ Ancient VVisdom, Blood Ceremony
At Corona Theatre