Ghost Frontman Explains Why He Prefers Working with Pop Producers Over Metal Producers
“Can Ghost be considered a metal band?” is an argument that’s been raging ever since the band’s second album, when they emerged from out of the occult metal underground, adored by all the cool kids, and into the mainstream, adored by frickin’ everyone. The argument reared its head again when our panel of nearly 200 musicians and industry insiders voted the band’s debut, Opus Eponymous, as the Fifth Best Metal Album of 2010-2019, and it’s unlikely to die any time soon.
A new interview with Global News is sure to add more fuel to that fire. When asked why Ghost have never worked with a metal producer, frontman/band leader Tobias Forge gave a lengthy answer explaining what he looks for in a collaborative partner and his answer is not likely to please those in the “Ghost aren’t metal! Hrumph,” camp. Here, take a look:
“I’m sure people in the heavy metal sphere might have noticed that too. … And there’s a reason for that: metal producers are very purpose-driven. They do a fantastic job and they know exactly what they’re going for. They’re experts in doing exactly that. And I have nothing against it, but that’s not what I’m trying to do. So I need to be fully aware and completely awake in trying to find the right producer for Ghost in that moment.
“Klas [Åhlund] was perfect for me. His whole professional life, he has been writing pop music and playing in Teddybears and writing records for Robyn and Ellie Goulding. You have all these different artists and this huge variety, but he started off playing prog music. He was a guitar virtuoso playing Yngwie Malmsteen/Ritchie Blackmore-type stuff.
“So when I came and talked with him about making a rock record, he was just, like, ‘Yes, I’ve wanted to do that for such a long time.’ It was perfect for both of us, because we were able to talk about all the common denominators. We could reference things from Euro Disco all the way to Slayer just to explain a simple idea. Whereas if you end up with the typical metal producer, they might say, ‘Slayer, of course. But everything else you mentioned is just ‘ordinary music.”
“I’m not saying that every heavy metal producer is like that, I just feel like metal today, as opposed to 1975, is such a defined genre, that people our age and younger have lived their entire lives knowing exactly what heavy metal is. But people who were around when they made Back in Black didn’t really know what that was. There’s so many rules now. It’s too refined. The whole culture breathes a little bit of a puritan-like conservatism. In order to make new records, I think sometimes you need to try not to think too much about all of these rules.”
Makes perfect sense, and underscores a common thread throughout Ghost’s history: Forge is a very smart fellow who knows exactly what he is doing and has crystal clear vision of the future.
Which is brings us back to the question posted at the top of this piece: are Ghost a metal band? I would argue that they certainly are, having come out of the metal scene, continuing to play riffy metal-ish music, and yes, projecting a metal image. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t also a pop band: they most definitely are. They’re both. And that’s why so many people relate.
Ghost are getting ready for a massive tour of the U.K. and Europe; get dates below and last minute ticket deals here!
Nov. 16: Nottingham Motorpoint Arena, UK
Nov. 17: Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, UK
Nov. 18: Glasgow The SSE Hydro, UK
Nov. 20: Dublin 3Arena, UK
Nov. 22: London The SSE Arena, Wembley, UK
Nov. 23: Leeds First Direct Arena, UK
Nov. 30: Katowice, Spodek, Poland
Dec. 01: Prague Universum, Czech Republic
Dec. 03: Budapest BSA, Hungary
Dec. 05: Mantova PalaBam, Italy
Dec. 06: Zurich Halle 622, Switzerland
Dec. 08: Barcelona St. Jordi, Spain
Dec. 10: Lisbon Sala Tejo, Portugal
Dec. 11: Madrid Vistalegre, Spain
Dec. 13: Strasbourg Zenith, France
Dec. 17: Rockhal Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Dec. 18: Nantes Zenith, France
Dec. 19: Toulouse Zenith, France
[via Ultimate Guitar]