Introducing: GreaterGhost

By Chris Marshman

Tomorrow, we’re publishing Punktastic 13.01, the first of our monthly compilations. Today, we wanted to introduce you to one of the bands on the release. Say hello to Stoke-based alternative four piece GreaterGhost.

Their influences are listed as Thrice, Circa Survive and Finch, but each member brings their own influences to the table, combining them to produce the GreaterGhost sound. For example, “Rich has always looked up to guitarists like [Radiohead guitarist] Johnny Greenwood, the kind of lead guitarist who thinks outside the box. His parts add ambience and depth rather than just relentless shredding.” They owe much of their sound to his playing style.

On the other hand, drummer Tim spent years as a metal drummer, “taking inspiration from bands like Pantera, Sikth, Dillinger Escape Plan, Coheed & Cambria.” And you can really hear it, a combination of “technical playing with simple powerful grooves.” Then there’s songwriter and bass player Rick. He finds inspiration “from songwriters like Dustin Kensrue (Thrice), searching and profound lyrics but it’s all laced with an honesty that is kind of infectious.”

Finally we’ve got singer and guitarist Jay, who has “a slightly more mainstream sensibility from the things he listens to,” with a taste that “tempers the band as a whole, making our sound much more accessible.”  We’re talking about here “early 2000’s emo in his writing – Funeral For a Friend, Hell Is For Heroes etc.”

There are still plenty of bands that they all agree on: “Saosin, Thrice, As Cities Burn, Gates, Circa Survive, Oceansize…we really could go on for a while!”  This makes sense when you listen to their sound, instrumentally there is a massive Saosin vibe and the likeness to Thrice is uncanny. It’s great to see a UK band taking a different direction, since the sound that the likes of Young Guns / Deaf Havana have spearheaded in recent times has seen itself get a little over-saturated.

GreaterGhost almost didn’t happen in the form it is today after a tough split with guitarist Jay and his previous band. They tell the story: “a few years ago we worked together at a musical instrument store. Jay was fronting a band called Blast Stereos Loud who had signed with Lockjaw Records. Tim & Rick were in a band called Hudson and Rich was in a band called The People Involved. We all agreed that if the four of us should ever be simultaneously ‘bandless’…we’d start something up.”

Over the next couple of years, every one of those bands split. “So Tim, Rich & Rick had begun writing together.” Jay couldn’t join yet, and they tried some other guitarists, but it just didn’t work out. But some bad luck for him turned into good luck for the band: “following a pretty tough breakup with his band, Jay sold all his gear, and hadn’t played guitar in two years when he joined us.”  It was a really great fit, “he really completed the line-up. We fell into a really creative flow and began to write ideas faster than we could structure them into songs! Less than a year later, we were recording and gigging.”

They wanted a name that acknowledged their roller-coaster history, “but showed that we were ready to move on…Tim had been writing a short story and had this character called the “Greater Ghost”. It just touched on everything we hoped for with the band, that from the demise of previous groups, we could build something that was greater than the sum of its parts.”

The band have a three track EP streaming on Bandcamp and Soundcloud, and it was recorded at Anemic Studios in Bristol with producer, Kevin Stevens. “We originally thought about self-producing the EP as we’d already demo’d the songs in our studio and were pretty confident we could achieve something good. Recording & producing music is something we’ve always done, however, from experience we’ve found that doing this can be detrimental to your performance as a musician.”

Letting a producer do his thing mean they could focus on their playing. “We never really expected to find someone who would understand our sound like Kevin did – he just took it to another level. He made us a better band.”

How about an album?  “We may need to seek help in funding the next record. Whether that’s partnering with a label or doing something like a Kickstarter campaign.” They don’t know yet, but they’re confident it’ll work out.

So what’s next for GreaterGhost? Who inspires them? “We just want to be the best band we can be. We saw As Cities Burn play in our home town last year. They are one of the bands who have changed the way we think about music. They’re incredibly creative, their music is so well thought out yet it still comes across as free and expressive. They had travelled all the way from America, there was probably about 15 people at the show and they gave it their all. It was both heartbreaking and inspiring to see a band that we all love so much travel all that distance to get the reception they did.”

They’re wary of over-think or over-planning it, aware that they’re ” still establishing our identity.” And with this the band reminisce about their best memory of being in a band so far “A really special memory for us all is the night we first put the EP online. The whole writing process was so contained and closed-off, we didn’t show anybody anything until that evening. We had a lot of people waiting to hear what we’d created and although we weren’t really concerned whether people would comprehend the weird time signatures and long songs it was really humbling to get the reaction we did.” It had a great response, and “within a couple of hours the EP had spread so much further than we’d expected. It was a real affirmation that our efforts were worth more than just our own artistic satisfaction.”

GreaterGhost are a band you could be hearing a lot more of in 2013. They have a sound that is different to the majority of what’s out there at the moment, they have the right work ethic and they seem more than willing enough to put the work in to get where they want to be. Have a listen for yourselves and give them a chance.