The name Ghold has been passed around a lot in underground music. They have made critically acclaimed releases, played the main stage of Temples Festival, toured America with Arabrot, and forged a dedicated following across the British Isles. Speaking to the lads before they headed off on tour with Palehorse, we talked about their recent run of successful shows, the new album, becoming a three piece, future plans, and more in a chat with one of Britain’s most interesting bands.
Jack: Hi, thanks for taking time out of your day to speak to me. How are you doing?
Ghold: Hola, yeah we are all swell ta, how’s it going?
Jack: Not bad at all. So last year you supported Arabrot on a North American tour, what was it like touring America for the first time?
Ghold: Incredible, obviously a dream for us come true. We also played in Arabrot – bass and percussion, like a Melvins/Big Business hype but of the European variety… the people and places were incredible, but the reality of the driving distances incurred a zombification on the old noggin.
Jack: What are the major differences between North America and Europe?
Ghold: Scale, that place is massive, we were often travelling through states to reach others to play… also they generally don’t feed the bands like the rest of Europe (which is amazing after a long drive of course), but that’s kind of in line with what happens a lot in the UK anyway so we were used to it.
Jack: How did it feel to play the main stage of Temples?
Ghold: Again fantastic, amazing atmosphere at Temples all round, we were overwhelmed with the crowd response and played our arses off. (There’s a great fan video on YouTube of most of the set for those who missed it).
Jack: You also played Damnation Festival, how was that experience?
Ghold: Damnation also has a great atmosphere, we played the Mine Bar which has an angled floor, perfect for the crowd at the back. We started the set with a smattering of people in the crowd, then at the end of one song the room was packed to the back, which just shows that when you hit those dirgy notes, people come a’ runnin.
Jack: You were originally a two piece but now have included Oliver Martin in the full line-up, why did you decide to switch to a three piece?
Ghold: We never set out to be just two, we put out our demo and started gigging straight away knowing we’d meet like-minded people as we went along. We met Oliver a while back and had worked with him on the song “Partaken Incarnate” (from Of Ruin), and played several gigs collaboratively together – but natural turns meant he could start playing with us full time, and we were all keen for it to happen. We are still looking to expand the band as we go…
Jack: When I saw you at Colchester Free Fest you played with the big band line-up which also featured a saxophone. What does this add to the sound?
Ghold: We are all jazz fans in one capacity or another, and that definitely helped the idea become reality. The sax is a filthy instrument in the right hands – it cuts through and screams, can be manipulated into unleashing high-density space drones or can punch you right in the face. Austin Milne, who was playing with us that night (and a variety of performances last summer) had previously worked with 11 Paranoias and lent his mighty skills to the Of Ruin sessions.
Jack: The first reviews for PYR have been coming out, are you happy with the response?
Ghold: We are very happy with the response regardless of what it is, an across-the-board set of opinions is great. We don’t expect everyone to dig it but frankly there are lot who do and/or at least are beginning to cotton on to what we’re doing.
Jack: One review found the album challenging and I found it quite an intense listen, was this the intention when making it?
Ghold: It’s great that reviewers and yourself find it intense, as it is, and though challenging it may be, if that experience is enjoyed then fantastic. Each record of ours has and will differ as we grow – we’re not interested in staying still or being pleasers.
Jack: Was Oliver involved with PYR at all?
Ghold: He was, yes. We had written the music but had further intentions for exploring different instrumentation as the album progressed, so it was a perfect time to bring him in. The further into the album we probed, the more he contributed in the studio and furthered the songs.
Jack: Your song ‘Despert Thrang’ is twenty one minutes long. When I interviewed Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard they said the appeal with writing long songs came from being soundtrack fans. Do you share a similar appeal?
Ghold: Though we enjoy soundtracks, they don’t influence our compositional processes directly. We are more interested in transcendence and sonorous tectonic shift. Each of our songs (regardless of which era) move and shift away from their initial beginnings – this tends to happen naturally when we write. We may revisit some parts that hook, but that’s all directed by the music. ‘Despert Thrang’ is certainly a journey.
Jack: ‘Something of Her Fire’ is released on CD only, what was behind this decision?
Ghold: It was part of the PYR sessions – we wrote everything in our flat and wanted it to both be there and not be there. So the “secret” CD track was our decision. Seemingly not so secret was the intention.
Jack: Rose Dagul featured on guest vocals on the album, why did you decide to work with her?
Ghold: We’ve worked with Rose before on This Suffering Must End’ (from Galactic Hiss) – she played cello at the end there. We have been friends for years, she’s a great musician and her style of singing very much fit what we had in mind for the calm before the storm on ‘Despert Thrang’.
Jack: You’re about to tour with Palehorse, what are you looking forward to most about this tour?
Ghold: Palehorse are an amazing band and really genuine people, we are very happy to be playing with them full stop. They informed us from the beginning – joining punk, all that is heavy and the groove which is never lost. It’s going to be amazing.
Jack: Is it hard fitting the band round day jobs and other projects?
Ghold: Life is life, we do what makes us happiest, sacrifices have to be made in order to plough forward.
Jack: What are your plans for the rest of 2016?
Ghold: We have some festival appearances through summer around Europe and are very much looking to writing and recording the next chapter.
Jack: Finally have any films influenced Ghold at all?
Ghold: Although we rarely make time to sit and watch films together, we all love films and are big fans of things like ‘Alien’, ‘Event Horizon’, ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and Jodorowsky’s ‘The Holy Mountain.’ We are constantly inspired by visual images, and undoubtedly some of these influences have un/consciously crept into our sound.
Jack: Thank you for your time and have a safe tour.
Ghold: Thanks for being interested, see you soon hopefully!
Sunday 29/05/2016 Le Ferrailleur, Nantes, FR
Monday 30/05/2016 Glazart, Paris, FR
Tuesday 31/05/2016 VK Club, Brussels, BE
Wednesday 01/06/2016 UT Connewitz, Leipzig, DE
Thursday 02/06/2016 Cassiopeia, Berlin, DE
Friday 03/06/2016 Patronaat, Haarlem, NL
Sunday 05/06/2016 Star & Garter, Manchester, UK