Prior to the release of their brand new single Say It’s Not Too Late, we caught up with the UK’s own Feral Ghost to find out more about what inspired the song, what drives the band creatively, how they’ve coped with a tumultuous twelve months, and plenty more. Here’s the conversation in full.
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Hi guys – Happy New Year, and congrats on the brand new single! For those who don’t know – how would you describe the music of Feral Ghost?
Happy New Year to you too. Probably the hardest question of all is to describe our own sound from the inside so to speak. As a songwriter I like to write songs that have a lot of drama both in terms of the lyrics and the melody. The production tends to be big too and we love harmonies so we often get compared to bands like Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd and The Eagles.
We consider ourselves to be a melodic rock band and our sound reflects the more traditional way of recording – by that I mean we go into the studio and play as a band rather than relying on modern digital production techniques used by mainstream R&B artists. This by its very nature gives the production a more live sound.
How long have you guys been playing together, and has your sound changed significantly over time?
We’ve been together for nine years which these days is an achievement in itself. Our sound changed when Lisanne joined the band in 2016. She was in the audience watching us perform in the famous Dingwalls venue and after the show asked if we were looking for a keyboardist – we were as it happens. She’s a very talented pianist and has certainly made a difference to our sound.
Say It’s Not Too Late – what does the single mean for you, and how did it come to be?
I usually gravitate towards the darker side of song writing so I’m always pleasantly surprised when I write an up-tempo feel good song. It’s these types of songs that are great to play live.
What do you hope people take away from the song?
Not to take anyone in life for granted. The term ‘you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ is so true. It’s a painful lesson to learn if you’re not careful.
Given the brightness and pop-rock aura of the track, who or what would you say was your biggest inspiration as a band, and do you also have any unexpected or unusual influences?
We all have very different tastes in music but I think it’s safe to say we like the big stadium bands as that is our dream to play huge venues with songs big enough to thrill a massive crowd.
There’s a strong live performance vibe to the release. Were you heavily effected by the events of the past twelve months, and what ways did you find to fill the time or stay motivated as a band?
Yes and that comes back to the traditional way we record in terms of being in the studio playing together. I can still hear a few squeaks and minor flaws that are left in the production. We try not to manipulate or sanitise the recordings too much.
Not being able to play live has affected us in a big way as this is ultimately why we’re in a band to play live and that really hurts. However, it’s given me more time to write and album number three is well under way.
Where in the UK can we usually catch you playing live as and when the time returns?
Usually London but we’re steadily building our exposure and fan base and hoping to play bigger festivals and venues further afield.
What would be your dream venue or event to perform at, and why?
Glastonbury would feel like reaching a big milestone. Or a stadium even as a support band would be fine by us. It’s been a long dream of mine for sure and whenever I see films or documentaries showing behind the scene footage of bands preparing to go on a big stage it never fails to give me goose bumps – I’d like to experience that for real.
What can you tell us about the upcoming, second studio album that you have in the pipeline?
It’s taken us a lot longer than anticipated due to the challenges we’ve all be going through but it’s now finished and will be released this coming March. There are twelve tracks on the album and the title Speed Of Light comes from one of the songs by the same name. There’s a song on it called Without A Trace which mentions a virus and burning down the town to destroy it – a bit like the 1666 Fire of London and that helped get rid of the Plague – I wrote this two years before Covid so quite spooky how relevant it is right now.
Being a six-piece, do you ever disagree creatively, and if so – how do you overcome this?
I can honestly say we don’t argue at all preferring to listen and respect everyone’s thoughts and opinions in a creative enjoyable environment. We all live separate lives and have other interests outside the band so when we do come together it’s valuable time not to be wasted.
If you could sit down to record a track with anyone at all, past or present, who would you choose, and why?
I’ve personally never written a song with anyone but to answer your question I think it would have to be The Beatles. I’m not a great fan of their Love Me Do type songs but their later song writing and production was so effortlessly and beautifully crafted that I think I’d learn a lot from that.
Is there a bigger dream or ambition going forwards, or are you making music purely for the love of the process and the local scenes?
The dream is to be the best we can be at what we do. There is no ultimate goal and as you quite rightly mentioned in the question it’s all about the process of being in a band. You have to enjoy the process and not worry about fulfilling any targets or ambitions as this industry is notorious for disappointing you on that front.
What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given as artists?
To be true to yourself and not to emulate anyone. It’s great to be inspired by others but not to copy or sound like them. Everyone in the world is unique so that has to be a good starting point. Also learning an instrument is good advice even if you never intend to play it live or on a recording. It gives you a better understanding of how melodies and songs are constructed.
Is there anything else we should know?
We look forward to playing live again in the near future and for anyone that comes to see us perform we look forward to meeting you as we do like to mix with the audience after a show and get to know our fans personally. It’s these moments that make it all worthwhile.
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