Adiós Ghost is ready to shake up the foundation of the music industry with the release of their debut LP today, Fade Out With Your Phantoms.
The band consists of Ben Sigerson, Jimmy Stull, Simon Davenport and Alexander Loew–powerful personalities who manage to effortlessly blend together the sounds of Psychedelia, Early House, R&B and West African music through a dark, moody lens that will rock your face off. Before they head out on tour to change the game, the band took the time to do an exclusive interview for GIGsoup while premiering Fade Out With Your Phantoms.
Ben Sigerson: We were born in a garage in Clinton Hill. We left after the owner thought it would be chill to borrow our bass amp without telling us. Plus his idea of “cleaning the place up” amounted to filling the toilet with lemons and calling it a day. From there we moved to a shared basement rehearsal space in DUMBO that somehow manages to be both great and terrifying. We’ve been practicing there for 4 or 5 years, and we recorded our first and second EPs there.
The cream always rises to the top. You made it work. Who would you consider your major influences as a band?
Ben Sigerson: We’re pretty all over the place in this regard. The longest running thread has probably been the inspiration we’ve taken from West African and Tuareg artists. Oumou Sangare. Tinariwen. Bombino. Ali Farka Toure. And many more. But Fade Out With Your Phantoms is a bit of a departure for us in this respect—we’ve moved away from those influences a little bit and embraced a sound with a lot more influences from R&B, Funk, Soul and Early House. Those influences were always there for us in the background, but it wasn’t until more recently that we could weave them into our tunes more overtly and have it feel right.
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Speaking of the album, what was your creative process working on the LP, Fade Out With Your Phantoms?
Ben Sigerson: Most of the songs started as home recordings that I made between 2013 and 2015. From those basic demos, the band worked out live arrangements and took them into the studio in late 2015. We recorded 6 of the 8 songs in 4 days at Studio G in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with Drew Vandenberg and Richard Salino. All of the recording was done live with minimal overdubbing, which was totally new for us—in the past, we’ve always recorded songs over weeks and months, with all of the different parts recorded separately and slowly compiled until we had the full track. That approach is fun in its own right, but it was a huge breath of fresh air to knock out the core tracks all at once this time around.
This is also the first release where we brought in outside musicians in a big way—Nandi Plunkett (Half Waif, Pinegrove) and C.F. Watkins sang back-up vocals on most of the album. Having their voices on there adds so much, and brings something distinctly different from anything we’ve done in the past.
Lastly, I think recording live has fundamentally changed our sound. These songs feel a lot more out-in-the-open and exposed than our previous material, and there’s a clarity and simplicity to the production that matches the directness of the songs. With this material, and the vocals in particular, I wanted to strike a balance, going for sincerity and intensity while not straying too far into self-indulgence. I may not have achieved it, but it was something to reach for, which was important.
I have a feeling people who listen to Fade Out With Your Phantoms will think that you have overachieved in that regard. From start to finish, the LP is incredibly fresh and different. What do you look forward to the most on your upcoming tour?
Ben Sigerson: Getting out and showing our music to new people in new places. We’ve stuck to playing shows around NYC and Brooklyn, with occasional forays out to DC, Baltimore and Philly. This will be the first time we’re taking our songs out on the road, so we’re excited to see how people react to them.
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It sounds like the beginning of an exciting, new chapter. Ben, I read that you spent time in Germany before returning to the USA. Why did you make that transition? What was your ultimate vision as an artist?
Ben Sigerson: I worked on the music editorial staff at a radio station while I was living in Germany, and the experience was really immersive—interviews, shows, new music and critical discussions about it all every day. Once my visa was up and I moved to Brooklyn, I had a lot of new ideas as a result of that experience. It’s not a totally straight line from that to where Adiós Ghost is now, but it certainly set the stage for things.
Jimmy Stull: I’ve played in bands since high school. But if I’d known then what the realities are to being a musician as an adult, with real life responsibilities and bills to pay, and the type of work and dedication it takes to make a buck off your music…I might have opted to join the debate team instead. I guess it’s too late now.
You made the right decision. “How Tough” is a beautiful track. What does the song mean to you guys?
Ben Sigerson: Musically, that song is definitely the farthest from our earlier material—it’s much jazzier, smoother and more R&B-inflected than anything we’ve released before. Lyrically, it’s basically about an impossible situation, where you’re backed up against your desire to help someone as much as possible despite the impossibility of fixing their problems beyond a certain point.
I totally dig it. On the topic of your earlier material, how have you grown as a band since your last EP release back in June 2016?
Ben Sigerson: I think our live sound has changed the most—we’re always workshopping our material, old and new, and changing the way we play it live.
It sounds like just one more reason as to why people should go out and see your show. Before I let you guys go, what do you see in the future for Adiós Ghost? What can music fans look forward to?
Ben Sigerson: We recorded this album about a year and a half ago—in the meantime, we’ve written almost a full follow-up album’s worth of material. After we return from touring this April and May, we’ll be looking to dive into those new songs and record them as soon as possible.
In the short term, our tour kicks off with an album release show this Friday, 4/21 at C’mon Everybody in Brooklyn. Our route is basically a big loop–we’ll be headed south along the East Coast as far as Atlanta, then north again as far as Chicago and Madison, WI, and then back east, with the last show in Brooklyn again at Cape House on 5/6.
You can purchase Fade Out With Your Phantoms by visiting http://adiosghost.com/ – You can also keep up with the band by following them on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter for the latest Adiós Ghost news and tour announcements.