THIS is the last of my interviews that…
is held over from last year. Although Be Careful What You Wish For has been out for a few months now; I was eager to speak with Falling Ghost about the song and its origins. He talks about Manchester and how the city inspires his work; the sounds and artists that influence him; whether there is any more material coming – this is his debut single.
I ask about that unique moniker and how he has transitioned from his band, SYLVIA; what it was like working with John Davies on Be Careful What You Wish For; why Falling Ghost produced the song himself; advice he would offer up young artists – and what gigs he has in the diary.
Hi, Falling Ghost. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m great, thanks and, yeah; it’s been really good so far, thank you.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure. I’m a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer from Manchester. I’ve just finished recording my first solo album.
Can I ask about the moniker?! Where does ‘Falling Ghost’ come from?
It’s actually the name of a song I wrote for my old band, SYLVIA. When I was thinking of a name for my new solo project…I just liked the sound of it.
Be Careful What You Wish For is your debut single. What is the inspiration behind it?
Musically, I was influenced by a lot of classic early-1990s Dance tracks with big synth sounds and heavily-processed drums - something like Killer by Seal and Adamski is a good example. I just love the atmosphere of it. Prince was also an inspiration; especially some of the tracks from his Sign o’ the Times album. I was also influenced by certain tracks from the XX’s first album.
Lyrically, I was going for something quite abstract and epigrammatic. I borrowed a few phrases from Saul Bellow’s Herzog. But, the general idea is one of realising the importance of what you have as opposed to what you want.
What has it been like working on the track with the guys at Regent Street Records?
Working on the track was actually really hard.
It took me ages to get a sound I was happy with. It started out as a guitar track - but, then, evolved out of all recognition as I continued to work on it. I must’ve started the song from scratch about one-hundred times; trying out different instrumentation and production styles before settling on something I was happy with.
Working with Regent Street Records has been good. They just let me get on with it really – and, as an artist, that suits me well.
You produced the song yourself. As a producer and multi-instrumentalist; do you think having that control means the music is more meaningful and pure to you?
Yeah, it does because, ultimately, you're responsible for absolutely everything on the track. So; it feels like more of an achievement - and is more satisfying when you finish something you’re completely happy with and then even more so when other people like it as well.
John Davies mixes the song. What was it like collaborating with him in that sense?
It was great, actually. John’s one of the best mastering engineers in the world - so it was amazing to watch him work and to work with him on my album. He’s also a really lovely guy and we got on well.
Was it difficult going solo after a successful career with the band, SYLVIA?
Yeah. I found some things difficult...
Sometimes, it’s just useful to have other musicians around to bounce ideas off; it can give you another perspective on things. But, then, it’s also a lot easier to get things finished when it’s just you as there aren’t lots of conflicting opinions - and you don't have to arrange your life around other people. Being in SYLVIA was great, but I just think I was ready for a new challenge and it was time to move on.
Manchester is your home and plays a part in everything you do. How important is the city and its people to you?
I’d say it’s hugely important: Manchester’s an amazing city and has a great spirit; I love it.
When you think of all the great bands that have come out of Manchester, it inspires what you do. Music is such a massive part of what Manchester’s about: the city’s past and present - that as a musician - it’s a great environment to be in. I think, where you grow up, always shapes who you are and then that feeds directly into your art…so, in a way, they’re inseparable.
Can you tell me the musicians you grew up and inspired your own sounds?
Ah…there are too many really.
I was a big Beatles fan when I was growing up and I loved a lot a sixties bands like The Doors, Bob Dylan; Frank Zappa and Motown. Then, I got into a lot of the Manchester bands and 1990s guitar-bands as well as EDM, Classical music and all sorts of other genres. I was always a big Prince fan, as well. At the moment, my biggest influences are Radiohead, Massive Attack; M83, Burial; Flying Lotus, Björk; Joy Division, Grizzly Bear and the XX.
But, I’m also inspired by lots of other things like literature and painting, too.
IN THIS PHOTO: Cosmo Pyke/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
At the moment, I find a lot of mainstream British music a bit underwhelming - probably because major labels aren't taking risks anymore...because they literally can’t afford to - so it becomes a bit of a race to the bottom.
That said, there is still plenty of interesting music being made: you just have to look a little harder than you did before. I love Cosmo Pyke, King Krule; Stealing Sheep; Sampha, Novo Amor and Jorja Smith.
IN THIS PHOTO: Jorja Smith/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Is there any advice you would give to artists coming through right now?
I think you need to be able to do everything for yourself; from producing your own music, sorting out your artwork and videos; booking your own gigs and doing all the social media stuff. If you can do all that then you’re not beholden to anyone...
I also think it helps to have a good work ethic.
Can we see you perform anywhere soon?
Yeah. I’m next playing in Manchester at The Eagle Inn on 14th February with a band called Hayes & Y.
What do you have planned for this year? Will there be more material?
Yeah. This coming year is going to be pretty busy for me. I’ll be releasing another few singles and videos and then, eventually, the full album. I’ll also be going out on tour around March. I’ve also started my next album - so I’m writing and recording every minute I have to spare.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
I really like Brazil by Declan McKenna. It’s a really catchy song - and has been stuck in my head for the last week.
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