Ghosts Again recently announced their upcoming EP, The Closest Thing To Closure which is set to release April 22nd. This young post-hardcore band hasn’t been playing together long, but this driven trio has been able to accomplish a lot in that short time.
I had the opportunity to have a conversation with vocalist/guitarist Alex Cortright about lyrical themes on the EP, the usefulness of Snapchat in songwriting, shooting a video and more.
How long ago did you form Ghosts Again?
A little over six months ago!
How would you describe your band musically?
I’d say aggressive with a lot of leanings towards the post hardcore genre. We try to keep our music extremely honest and constantly implement new styles and sounds into our music. Overall, we just try to be the best musicians we can be with each song. We want every song to be a different experience.
In writing and playing together as the band developed how did you know when you’d arrived at the “Ghosts Again sound?”
I think it was honestly when we had finished writing “Pant’s Division (The End is Silence)”. It was the last song we wrote for the upcoming record and when it was finished, I really felt like we had finally found a great blend of all of our influences and styles to make something really diverse and that we could be really proud of.
“Pant’s Division (The End is Silence)” is about concepts of Hell and the underworld, can you elaborate on this song a little more for us?
At the time that I was writing the lyrics for the track, I was reading a book called The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman, and in that book there is a chapter where they go to the underworld which is sort of “hell” in that universe and it posed a lot of questions to me and just got me thinking, which ended up taking me down a winding path that ended up being the final lyrics for the song. Lyrics from the verse of the song question what it’s like to be in hell and if you actually know you’re dead? Moving deeper into the lyrics, I start to question the idea of a “god” and hell itself in the first place. Discussing and exploring religion is something I really enjoy, so in the song I progressively question “what it’s like to be in hell?” and whether I could live with myself as a student of religion. And in the end, coming to the conclusion that we’ll never get “home” and that (like the title suggests) the end really is silence. It’s everything and nothing. I really wanted to express my frustration with the whole subject. Overall I think the lyrics take on some rather heavy themes and are tough to articulate without going line by line with the lyrics in explanation, so I hope this makes sense!
What other themes do the lyrics touch on – and what inspires you in lyric writing?
I try to just write about my experiences. I’m a pretty opinionated and outspoken person so I try to channel that into my lyrics and really just explore different concepts with every song. On The Closest Thing to Closure there are multiple songs that take on religion, depression, anxiety, and past relationships of mine. My lyrics are a really chaotic, yet in depth look into my head. I wrote a lot of the lyrics for this EP around the same time and at that point, I hadn’t been playing music for a while and had gone through some pretty bad personal experiences and most of the songs are just me getting a lot of those things off of my chest. That’s sort of what inspired the title, these songs for me are the closest thing to closure on a lot of subjects.
Musically, what was the songwriting process like for this EP?
Writing with us can be a bit interesting and hectic. Especially since this EP was our first time writing together so we had to sort of just try things out and find a good process that worked for all of us. Brandon (bass) and I live about 4 hours away from Arun (drummer) so we don’t see each other often outside of official band business. So basically we would just drive up to Arun’s house for the weekend and write a bare bones idea for a song, and usually we would leave with the song unfinished so Arun and I would send the song back and forth via the internet in a Garageband file and just work on small parts at a time. It’s funny actually, our most effective way of showing each other what we’re working on is Snapchat. Whenever I write a new riff, I’ll track it, then send Arun a Snapchat of it playing on my computer with a caption like “think this works?” or something along those lines. With Arun and I being the primary writers and both of us being multi-instrumentalists, it makes working together really easy because we can both contribute parts or ideas to any instrument in the song. It makes for a pretty fun process.
I’ve enjoyed the cover songs you guys have been posting, especially the PVRIS one – how do you choose which songs to do? And these are available for download?
Thanks! Most of the time I just do it based on what song I’m listening to that week or songs that are popular within our fanbase demographic. I also take requests from fans sometimes. I honestly just wing it week by week. Haha. All of our covers are available for free download on Bandcamp.
The video for “Les Enfants Terribles” looks great! Who shot it, and where? What was the overall experience like?
I did! I do all of our video work actually. I taught Brandon the basics of cinematography and had him shoot all of the scenes that I’m in and I shot the rest. Getting the location was actually a funny experience. We originally planned to shoot at an abandoned juvenile detention center in Charlotte, NC. We were told by friends that it was open to the public and we’d seen people take pictures there before so we wanted to just hop in for an hour or two and shoot the video, but after we’d been there for about 20 minutes, the cops showed up to kick us out. So we were left without many options and a fast approaching deadline so we asked around and it turned out a friend of ours has a church in Ahoskie, NC that has a pretty spooky attic that they don’t really use and he was nice enough to let us shoot the video there. Shooting a video (as someone who performs and also directs the shoot) is pretty exhausting and stressful but the whole process went pretty smoothly. Brandon and Arun are phenomenal performers which makes them really easy to work with and getting great shots comes really smoothly.
What can be expected from a Ghosts Again live show?
A lot of energy! We try to keep things moving and implement some cool “off the record” types of instrumentals and interludes to keep the mood flowing. So it’s a very loud and fast paced type of thing. We all adore what we’re able to do in this band and we all have a really deep connection to the music we’ve written and I think it shows in our live show. Everyone really just gives it their all to entertain and portray these songs the way they were meant to be in a live manner.
What are the plans following this release? Any tours in the works, or plans for a full length in the future?
We want to play as many shows as we can for sure. We stay busy so I’m sure as soon as we have this release behind us, we’ll be scheming about the next one. In fact, we’ve already started throwing around new song ideas so hopefully we’ll be back in the studio some time this year. It probably won’t be a full length record but we’ll definitely be keeping the songs coming for everyone.
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