Ghost B.C.'s Nameless Ghoul: We're Not Critiquing God, We're Critiquing Man
Eccentric Swedish metal act Ghost B.C. released their second LP, Infestissumam, in April and are currently in the midst of a massive world tour, bringing a theatrical, mesmerizing and ghastly show to the masses. For the most part, Ghost have maintained anonymity.
Ghost B.C. Ghost B.C. makes people believe in satanic metal--for a show, at least.
Five of the musicians, dubbed Nameless Ghouls (which represent fire, water, wind, earth and ether), are shrouded in hooded robes behind the vocalist that appears in skull make-up dressed as a Roman Catholic Cardinal. The singer, known as Papa Emeritus II, lightly steps around the microphone as his eyes--one pearly white--peer out over the crowd. For me, Ghost B.C. has been able to turn back the clock to a time when the occult was brought mainstream by bands like Sabbath, Blue Oyster cult and Zeppelin.
Built upon the traditions of Scandinavian metal, Ghost combines their love of loves horror films and religious concepts with an array of musical genres, including pop, horror soundtracks, prog metal, thrash metal, classical, Latin church choirs, and more. Backed against Papa's velvety, commanding yet bluesy voice, this band is a refreshing departure from what America's mainstream would call a "satanic" metal band.
As a Nameless Ghoul told Noisey, Vice's music channel: "Yes we love the Beach Boys. Pet Sounds has this fantastic melody, mixed between sunshine and complete dystopic hell." No kidding, right?
Ghost B.C.'s most recent project is due out November 19th, If You Have Ghost, was created with Dave Grohl. It features covers of ominously titled songs by Depeche Mode ("Waiting For The Night"), ABBA ("I Am A Marionette"), Roky Erickson ("If You Have Ghosts"), and Army of Lovers ("Crucified"), in addition to a live version of their original, slow-burning composition "Secular Haze" "recorded live from Brooklyn earlier this year.
And the band is also embarking on a mini series with Vice called Papaganda--which must be pretty difficult, considering it's a documentary based around a band with "no identities."
Resident metal journo Lauren Wise tried to get an interview with Papa Emeritus II, but apparently Papa only does email interviews. So Up On The Sun chatted with a Nameless Ghoul guitarist about the difference between "musical controversy" in America and in Sweden, working with Dave Grohl, and Ghost B.C. sex toys.
Do you feel that the media in the United States has more of a controversial take on Ghost BC than areas like Sweden, where black metal is prevalent?
Short answer, yes. I think what we do isn't shocking where we come from, and generally when we are mentioned in the Swedish or Scandanavian press it's usually [for] commercial reasons or just to provide an update on the band, never really about controversy.
Do you feel as if the United States' press blows things out of proportion?
Well, you know in Sweden everything is secularized. So anyone who is openly a devout Christian is actually seen a bit as a handicap. It's controversial over there to be really religious. The general open discussion is always from a secular point of view. Religion is completely...your own personal thing. So there's that big difference.
How did the concept of melding death metal with pop come around?
I think it all derives from having a wider taste in music, listening to everything from extreme metal to pop to classic rock to classical to soundtracks. We're inclined to just music in general.
Sometimes it's hard to say what came first...but I think what really motivated us early on was the opportunity to create melodic music but to still incorporate a lot of the show aspect that you normally might not do if you are just a pop band. A part from the musical aspect of the band is the whole cinematic world. The horror aspects of cinema. Especially the religious horror movies.
In the past you were always asked whether you were satanic or not, whether it was just theatrics... but the band seems to just present an opportunity for fans to watch for an hour and get lost in it, no matter what they believe. Like they were watching a horror film.
Exactly. I mean, um, I think it's important to keep in mind that as much as some hold on to the fact that at the end of the day we are an entertainment group, an entertainment act, as much as a cinematic movie. It's entertainment.
Nobody would ever question someone that has written something about what's he written or the film he has made. Nobody has ever criticized the makers of Exorcism or the Omen. Not to say that everything we're saying is justa joke. Obviously it comes from somewhere. There is a.....there is a thought process behind it.
But I think what most people fail to recognize is that we're not critical. We're not critiquing against God. We're critiquing against man. That's one of the most fundamental differences with the critics... when you start going into the mainstream, there's a lot of talk about God, and that is not exactly what we're talking about here.