The Nameless Ghouls Facebook Page got a devoted child to translate this month’s issue of Aftonbladet Hårdrock Magazine, featuring “Ghost”, to English for non Swedish-speaking children. This is the same translator than translated last month’s issue of Sweden Rock Magazine. NOTE: THE TRANSLATOR DID HIS BEST TO TRANSLATE THE ARTICLE AS ACCURATELY AS HE CAN & CLAIMS IT’S NOT 100%. With that said we thank the devoted child greatly either way. Read the full interview below!
NOTE: This is only the attempt of an unofficial translation of A Nameless Ghoul’s words
given to Mattias Kling from Aftonbladet Hårdrock!, published in May 2015. The translator
did his very best, though claims not in the least any complete accuracy, neither literally nor figuratively. The purpose of this is solely and exclusively to delight the non-Swedish-speaking “Children of the world”.
Aftonbladet Hårdrock! #1 2015
THRILLING & DIZZYING
For the first time in Sweden: This is what GHOSTS new record “Meliora” sounds like – “It is a futurevision about a world where nothing is sacred”.
After having been situated in the past, Ghost meets a future – that’s already bygone. Aftonbladet Hårdrock! got an exclusive pre-listening of the band’s upcoming third record “Meliora”, which will be released on the 21st of August.
– We took ourselves the artistic freedom to do what we want and the record is meant to be a future vision from a visual perspective. But we sing about the modern individual, says a nameless guitar ghoul. When the schedule is so tightly packed then it’s just right to sigh a bit. Because the days sure are hectic until the unveiling of Ghost 3.0 on the 3rd of June in their hometown Linköping. A completely new visual concept has to be finished, the presentation of the new singer Papa Emeritus III has to be fixed, at the same time as the details regarding the release of the third record “Meliora” has to be perfected of the record label as well on home turf as in the USA.
– Since we have painted ourselves into a fucking corner when it comes to the image, there will be a lot of extra stuff, says the nameless phantom.
– If it wasn’t for the visual presentation, we could just do a Hellström, go out and look at islets and tell memories and get a lot of content. But that’s not us. And most things end well, even if it’s a lot of work.
The record is being mixed in New York
Only a few days after Aftonbladet Hårdrock! has done the interview, the faceless phantom is going to New York (“I’m almost getting jealous of myself that I get so many days there”) to observate the mixing of the album together with Andy Wallace. The actual recording on the other side had been done with the producer Klas Åhlund (Robyn, Usher, Madonna and more) in – amongst others – the Benny Andersson owned Riksmixningsverket in Stockholm and what we are about to listen to is a not yet mixed version of the work.
– Not to shoot down the previous record, but the way it came out it got much less guitar based than the debut, says the guitar ghoul. The energy in the songs played live is different from the one on the record and this time I think we have come closer to how we sound on stage. But that remains to be seen.
Do you often think about a live situation when you write the material?
– Both yes and no. But when it comes to a record, there should be elements or pieces that can’t stand live. Because the record has to be comfortable to listen to as a an entirety, and if there’s something that doesn’t work on stage, we’re not gonna play that either.
– When a band plays live as much as we do and where – in boring words – the business idea is that we’re going to be entertainment to which people want to buy a ticket and stay and listen to, then we also have to make music that works in that context. We have to be willing to play the songs and they have to be received well. That’s where you hope that the energy turns from the artist to the audience and back, so that it becomes something circular. And that’s what feels so great if it’s a great gig and that’s also exactly what feels so bad if it’s not.
A new concept
However “Meliora” doesn’t only contain ten new songs in a Ghost livery. It’s also the kickoff for a new concept, both ideologically and visually. After having found their way hundreds of years back in time on both “Opus Eponymous” and “Infestissumam”, the phantom crew is now aiming to the future instead – that damned well also lies in the past.
– The modern world in it’s digital form is so incredibly unsexy and uninteresting. I don’t give much for that, neither esthetically nor -privately. Therefore this is a futurevision from the past, actually. Visually we tell much about the early 20th century. The super metropolitan and urban. For example the Empire State Building: It’s extremely clean, big and expensive and high and superhuman, says the guitar phantom.
How does that correlate with the fact that you describe the album as a futurevision?
We took ourselves the artistic freedom to do what we want and that’s meant to be a future narrative from a visual perspective. As this kind of future is actually more interesting than the actual future now.
“Everybody wants to be a director”
– But at the same time we sing about the modern individual. The difficulty is the same now as it was back then since it didn’t change that much. As soon as people began to live in big cities and there were careers, people had ambitions. Even if that was also a part on our previous records, we now sing more about the sense of purpose and anxieties of the little person. And within this difficulty also that it doesn’t really cohere being a strong individual and at the same time being a fellow human being. That doesn’t work. Not everybody can be a director, somebody has to be gaffer because otherwise there’s not gonna be a movie. But nobody buys that idea, because everybody wants to be the boss. And then it gets as it gets.
“The Lord isn’t in the house”
That gets especially obvious in the album’s rounding off and logic conclusion, in the magnificent “Deus in absentia”. Here the listener is being sent out into an eternal spacedarkness, at the same time as the main song leads into a psalmlike outropart.
– It just goes on and on. And out there the question remains. “Deus in absentia” means “in Gods absence” and that’s the actual essence of the record: while the lord’s away, the mouse will play. God is not here and so we invent the internet and we start world wars. Just this song is about the listener when his hour has come, when he after all most probably is going to ask himself where God is. It gets very fateful and sorrowful.
“PAPA WAS A DIVA”
The new record not only contains a new concept for the crew from Linköping, their third release even involves the premiere of yet another frontman.
Papa Emeritus III is alleged to be the younger brother of his predecessor – gladly called “The two” – and is being described by a nameless guitar ghoul as superior to his relative.
– Mainly there’s better singing on the record. Papa III has proven more range than our previous vocalist. It’s gonna be fun to tour with him. He’s got kind of more “go” within. We have been with old guys for some records now and they were, well, not funny in every respect.
What’s the difference between your new Papa and the previous?
– Well, I can’t say he’s a cockerel, but there’s probably gonna be more more color and vanity. In any case philosophically he’s got more glamour and party.
Have there been differences between Papa II and the rest of Ghost that lead to his sack?
– Yes, there’s a natural rift between the band and somebody like him. He is a diva. That was his role and that’s why he wasn’t somebody we needed to hang out with either.
Did it get to a point where you were forced to take separate buses to the concerts?
From a travel perspective we didn’t see much of him. He’s not the one who wastes his time on a tour bus. He flies instead.
Do you think Papa Emeritus III is going to hang in the lounge and play cards with the rest of the guys then?
It doesn’t feel like that’s very important. It’s a bit like if you appoint a boss in a bigger company, the boss doesn’t have to be friends with everybody. Or like a family: children and parents shouldn’t fall out, but it neither is very healthy if you are best buddies. Nevertheless you have some sorts of positionings and there should be a gap and there is something natural in that you aren’t like friends usually are.
– It’s kind of the same with our singer. Our Papas can hang out with their Mamas, and that’s how it’s supposed to be.
“IT SHOULD FEEL LIKE BEING SHOT INTO SPACE”
KLING: After a short intro spacy Moog-loops meander among rough guitars in something that could closest be seen as a forced shuffle-beat. The solo part is a history on its own, where the instruments wind around each others in a gorgeos clutter.
NAMELESS GUITAR GHOUL: Pretty quickly you discover that this song is terribly hard to play. There’s a chug-technique in it that makes your arm subside about half way through – and when it’s time to play the solo it has fallen off. The solo part is special. Here you rather think of Uriah Heep than Iron Maiden, even if I can understand why the thoughts go in this direction. We rather thought of England in 1975 than ten years later. It’s a prog-hell where all the instruments play solos – at the same time – for 20 or 30 seconds. In the beginning there was only meant to be a guitar solo, but then it came floating out with bass, keyboards and then our drummer thought it was fun to bellow out.
2. FROM THE PINNACLE TO THE PIT
KLING: The bass phantom breaks loose one of his most rumbling intros and the bridge invites to classic hardrockriffs with extra groove. A keyline in the lyrics: “You were cast down from the heavens to the ground / You will wear your independence like a crown”.
NAMELESS GUITAR GHOUL: This is a funny song that is very guitar based and it’s
not possible to get away from the thought that it’s very coloured by Led Zeppelin. I’ve always been fond of them and it’s intense with these big and heavy riffs. I hate to use the word “groovy” but there’s some swing in it. “Groove” doesn’t have to be a bad word at all, it’s more that we haven’t done something like this before. I just felt like “damn, we need a stomping fucking Zeppelin-song”. And it became “From the pinnacle to the pit”. I’m really looking forward to playing this song live. It’s probably gonna be sassy.
KLING: The acoustic intro and the “Sad but true”-weight in the verse lead the thoughts towards Metallica. It’s a profound piece, six minutes long, that more distinctly leans towards guitars than the “Infestissumam”-orchestration. It’s also one of the songs that’s already mixed by Andy Wallace and for that reason sounds extra wicked.
NAMELESS GUITAR GHOUL: When it comes to the pronounciation of the name you have to think about the protagonist Clarice from “The Silence of the Lambs” or about the colour cerice. The title means “church” in Old English and it’s possible to think of Metallica in the verse. I can hear that as well, I guess. Here you also notice that the new record is more guitar based than the very vocal driven “Infestissumam” – a fact we realized especially after having done 200 concerts of that record. I’d say the new record is more balanced, amusing and exciting than it’s predecessor. And that’s gonna become obvious live.
KLING: Muted plucking for minutes that works more as a compact musical interlude than as a song per se.
NAMELESS GUITAR GHOUL: The first part of this piece is actually a theme that was meant to become a completely own song. It’s a theme that we’re gonna come back to on the next record, but there as a part of a complicated band arrangement. Consider it an appetizer.
5. HE IS
KLING: Folk music tone that unites hell and One More Time. Papa Emeritus III gives an extra strong singing effort.
NAMELESS GUITAR GHOUL: As you name it, it’s kind of folky, it’s a bit of campfire romanticism. “He is” is actually the oldest of all the pieces on the record and wasn’t even meant to become a Ghost song in the beginning. It was recorded on a pretty rough demo which has notched up some years just lying around. As a matter of fact it was also in the race already for the previous record, but back then it felt as we concentrated too much on the arrangement and tried to super compensate so that it became so much organ and got so sacral that it didn’t work out at all. This time we decided to just do the song as it is.
6. MUMMY DUST
KLING: The guitars thrash bite while the Pope hisses about dusty dead bodies. The orchestration has an obvious Rush-feeling to it.
NAMELESS GUITAR GHOUL: Here Mammon speaks to the listener. In this
godless future that we sing about on the record there’s no place for anything sacred. It lies in the model world of everybody that they don’t feel forced to acknowledge some God, while at the same time they completely idolize Mammon. Strictly musically it’s like a fast car riding song that adds a new feeling. At the same time it contains quite a lot of symphonic rock vibes, therefore people will recognize themselves. We have always liked prog and used it in the music, it’s just that we weren’t that explicit about it. Opeth is better in being a progband than we are.
KLING: AC/DC meets the Scorpions and Dio with quite a halting and strange chorus. Spontaneously the weakest track.
NAMELESS GUITAR GHOUL: Of course we are influenced by classic hardrock. The bands you name are one of the reasons why we stand here and do what we do. “Majesty” is actually one of the most spontaneously written songs on the record. One that we actually put together when we were working on the previous record and which, as many other compositions that work best live, started out as a joke. It mostly turns out best doing things spontaneously, it’s worse when you sit there with nine of ten songs and you try to screw out something. It’s a bit like “Stand by him”, initially a joke that worked out. And then it gets easy and hardrock.
8. DEVIL CHURCH
KLING: Church organ leads to something more similar to an outro than an actual song. Which also seems to be the case.
NAMELESS GUITAR GHOUL: From the very beginning this song actually bonded with “Cirice” and if you listen to the two songs in a row it gets totally obvious. That’s also how we plan to play them live. Why aren’t they placed next to each other on the record too? We always try to think about our records in LP-format. It has to be structured by an A- and a B-side, in two acts. And we wanted to have “Cirice” on the first half, and if “Devil Church” also would have been there, it would have gotten too long. But we don’t have to consider that live, but rather play them as they originally were written. Maybe.
KLING: One riff feels like drawn directly from Metallica’s “Orion”. Big arena feeling in the chorus and cool hardrock guitars.
NAMELESS GUITAR GHOUL: Tremendous that you name this song in particular, since this is really nothing I have thought of. But Metallica of course have a big influence on us, even if it wasn’t something I had in mind when I wrote the riff. I mean, if you have – as we had – “Absolution” up your ass, then you don’t think that it could possibly sound like something else. But I can offer a little goody regarding this song. I recently discovered that a short sequence in the chorus has a lot in common with a very popular song. Which one? I’m not gonna tell, but search in the classic rock register.
10. DEUS IN ABSENTIA
KLING: Magnificent with a feeling of both Broadway and Queen. Leads to a psalm that knots together the album package.
NAMELESS GUITAR GHOUL: This song is a bit different, since it was written on piano. And I also think that you notice that when it comes to the guitars, there’s not a lot of riffs. Especially the arrangement of the choir makes it tailor-made to be the last song on the record. It’s like the last thing that happens in the movie. Besides that we have this time made an outro that’s meant to stick the package together, a finishing punch line of the movie. There are certainly many records which close with a pomp… but here it just continues. The feeling should be like having been shot into some sort of space darkness that just goes on and on.