The Ghost of a Thousand are a five piece hardcore band hailing from Brighton. It’s a long, busy and noisy day when I catch up with them early evening at the Slam Dunk festival in Leeds but they aren’t showing too many signs of fatigue. With their new album, 'New Hopes, New Demonstrations', out a few days after the interview and a summer of festivals and shows lined up, the Ghost of a Thousand are in for a busy time of it. Pennyblackmusic stole a few minutes to ask vocalist Tom Lacey and guitarist Andy Blyth some questions.

PB: How are you feeling today. Are you excited?

AB: Yeah, it’s exciting. It’s just a long wait!

PB: What time did you get here this morning?

TL: About 11.30, so we’ve still got a good few hours before we’re going to be playing.

PB: You’re headlining a stage this year. How does that feel?

TL: It’s great yeah, kind of weird to be headlining but it’s going to be a good night.

PB: Have you been here before as guests?

AB: Never been to Leeds Uni actually, no. We’ve had some awesome shows in Leeds though. We did a few really good shows at the Cockpit, supporting and headlining. The small room there is really cool. We’ve played Rio’s a couple of times.

PB: Have you played with anyone on the bill today before? Are they all familiar faces to you?

TL: Oh God, yeah. Attack!Attack!, we haven’t seen them for a few years but we’ve played with them before. We’ve played with Kids in Glass Houses before, and You Me At Six. Basically, we’ve done the rounds before!

We haven’t played with Anti Flag though and we really wanted to, but we’re playing at exactly the same time as them today so we can’t even go and see them.

PB: Are you planning on going to watch other bands or will you be staying backstage?

AB: Yeah I watched a little bit of Ruiner before. I’m going to try and see as many as I can I think.

PB: Do you usually hang around and meet some fans at your shows or do you keep yourselves to yourselves?

TL: We’re not the sort of band who would just hide backstage. We do try and come out and see people. We’re big music nerds anyway, so we want to see other bands as well. We’ll definitely go and have a walk around usually.

AB: There’s no conscious effort not to go out and see anyone in case we’d get mobbed, because we know we definitely wouldn’t, you know? We don’t entertain that idea. We’re very much the anti-celebrity band. It’s just music at the end of the say.

When we do a show there’s no segregation between the crowd and the band – if they’re not having a good time, we’re not having a good time. We’re not trying to keep anyone at arm’s length.

PB: Do you enjoy playing festivals? What are the crowds usually like?

TL: It’s easy to get complacent, doing headline shows all the time, thinking everyone’s just here to see you. A lot of bands forget the initial challenge of getting people to like you. When we first started out, everyone hated us, so we’d become more and more obtuse to try and piss people off. I think when you play festivals there’s definitely an element of trying to win people over.

PB: What was it like recording your new album?

AB: It was a lot of hard work, yeah. It’s been a long time in the making. It’s an album we’re all really proud of. We’ve been through a tough year and that’s reflected a bit in the writing. It’s a bit more melancholy throughout.

PB: Do you feel like this is a natural progression of your music?

TL: Yeah I think so. We’d like to think we’re pushing ourselves further each time. I think there’s probably some kind of end goal and we’re trying to work our way there, but I don’t think we know what that is yet.

AB: It wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision to go a certain direction. We didn’t sit down and set out an agenda for the next album It’s just a sort of autobiographical account of where we were all at in our lives at that time. All of that gets reflected into the music.

PB: How do you tackle songwriting as a group? Do you all get together and decide which direction to go in or do you do your own thing?

AB: Mem and Jag [Jago, drums and guitar] are brothers, and they kind of go and write at home, in their home studio. They’ll bring ideas to rehearsal studio and we’ll work on them as a team after that. Then we’ll record, and maybe rewrite and re-record a couple of times together, because we’re real perfectionists about the process.

This album is much more of a collaborative effort I think. The first album was very much Mem and Jag’s album, but I think our personalities come across on this one.

PB: Have you had much feedback from radio or the internet about your new material?

AB: I’ve seen a few reviews. It’s been fairly good I think. Obviously a review is a subjective thing. It’s your opinion. I think because this album is so personal, it would maybe harm us more if it were negative.

We sacrificed a lot to get the album made – Tom got married, and a week later we went to the studio for six weeks to record. We worked really hard. We had one or two weekends off in six or seven weeks to get it made. But people seem to get what it’s about so far, and they seem to understand the point of what it’s trying to say.

PB: Do you think people realise how much work actually goes into being in a band?

TL: I think people are surprised when they find out you still have day jobs, you know. They assume you’re making a lot of money straight away, when in reality you’re barely scraping a living. A lot of people probably romanticise the idea of being in a band – it’s not glamorous.

PB: Are you looking to a more international audience now?

TL: We love doing European shows – Sweden, Belgium. We’re all fans of European bands really, so we’d love to be at the same level throughout Europe as we are in the UK.

AB: I think the kids out there maybe care about it more. There’s so much diversity at festivals and gigs there. It’s such a wide spectrum and nobody hassles each other – everyone just accepts the music for what it is.

And after being hurried along by the PR for the second time, that was the end of my time with the Ghost of a Thousand. Putting aside the fact that my interview was only allotted 15 minutes, and that there were a rowdy group of boys from various bands playing energetic air hockey almost inside my dictaphone for the duration, the Ghost of a Thousand were lovely to interview. It strikes me that they are working as hard as they can but taking each day as it comes, and realising how lucky they are to have a job they love to do.












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