Ghost Frontman Says Band’s Image Wouldn’t Matter “If the Song Stunk”


Lots of people still love to hate on Ghost despite the band’s massive worldwide success in recent years (or perhaps because of it), with a common refrain being that Ghost’s audience is comprised mostly of casual fans taken with the band’s over-the-top imagery. To be sure, the imagery is part of the appeal (along with the mystique and storyline connected to it), but none of that would matter if the songs weren’t absolute dynamite — Ghost would just be another band wearing silly masks, of which there are many.

That’s always the argument I’ve made when defending Ghost, and now frontman/leader Tobias Forge has said the same in a recent chat with Mitch Lafon. When asked about the importance of the band’s imagery, here’s how Forge responded:

“But I will always hold the fact that with, Ghost music did come first.

“And because I knew that there was going to be a visual presentation that was going to be spectacular, I also made sure that the songs came out on MySpace before any photo did.

“I can honestly say that anyone who listened to Ghost early on did so without knowing what it looked like, what it was going to be looking like, so I know for a fact that the first thousands of people that started liking Ghost did so without even knowing what it looked like.

“Therefore, I dare to say that the music did come first. It was music.”

“And now, fast-forward 10 years, I’d say that if we had a real kick-ass image – if the image here was great, we had the bombs and the fire and all that… but if the song stunk, we would not have been here.

“For me, they go in tandem. For me, it’s, like, my work, my job is to write cool songs for Ghost and we package it in this awesome sort of theatrical show. I don’t spend much time trying to overanalyze that. It is what it is, I just try to improve it.

“Every time I write a song, I try to write a better song than I’ve ever written before. Sometimes you do it, sometimes you don’t. Every time we put together a new stage show, we try to do something that we haven’t been able to do before, and luckily so far, we’ve managed to make better records and bigger shows.

“So far, we’re sort of we’re moving in a trajectory that sort of points slightly up.”

Elsewhere in the chat Forge speaks about the revolving cast of musicians he’s worked with over the years and how that setup has been beneficial for all involved. You can read that excerpt at Ultimate Guitar and listen to the chat below.

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