‘Belligerent ghouls run Manchester schools’. If you find yourself as a Ghoul fan, then beware that the name may not be around too much longer. Are they breaking up? No, but when put under the pressure of choosing a band name moments before you go live, usually, you turn to the pros. In this specific case, one of their personal favourites, The Smiths.
Ivan (pronounced ih-VAHN), the lead vocalist, shares with me the story of how the band originally got together.
‘We got kicked out of this other band. I called the singer a cock sucker and naturally, my brother left with me. Our guitarist followed through soon after and then Andrew [drummer], one of our friends, joined us.’
There are mixed views when it comes to appreciating what the band has to offer. Those who love the live show despise the EP and those who like the EP are most likely to be the ones boo-ing Ghoul off the stage in a most offensive manner. This isnâ€™t to say that they should remain in the dark and use puppets like bands such as ‘The Gorillaz’, but when launching an EP that was made completely in front of a computer with no jam sessions under the belt and minimal equipment to help replicate the static-electro synthesized tonalities that makes the EP so enjoyable – so much of the pure quality that is ‘A Mouthful of Gold’ disappears.
None the less, Ghoul has clawed its way out of the dirt that some may refer to as today’s contemporary music market. A lot of underground bands haven’t registered that in order to be seen and appreciated, you can’t be a clone.
‘The intention behind the EP was to escape from the usual boring drone of guitar and drums that you find within a lot of underground bands that are too afraid to experiment. No one’s taking risks. There are so many amazing bands, for example My Disco. They are producing songs like ‘Paradise’, where more than half the song is completely based around one droning note.’
The ultimate catch that is preventing Ghoul from making it to the top of their class is the lack of managerial expertise.
‘Its just really hard because we haven’t got a manager, we haven’t got a booker, so you email someone, full of anticipation, and they don’t end up taking you seriously.’
The launch of the EP has put the band in debt, but it’s all part of the big picture. Like other great artists such as Radiohead or more specifically Deerhunter, who allow their fans to appreciate their music at no cost, Ghoul allow you to download pretty much all their music from their band page on Myspace. They even took an extra step and are currently handing out copies of the EP to interested listeners at their gigs.
‘If you want your music to be heard, and especially if you really don’t have a large fan base, you can’t charge people to listen. Once they are comfortable with your music, once they are willing to pay more attention to what you have on offer, once they’re hooked, then you can add a price.’
With a successful EP under their belt, there is now a lot of pressure on the band to release an album.
‘We are going to stop gigging in March and then, we’ll practice, record, do whatever it takes until we’re ready and then come back within something new.’
There are only a few performances left until that damn March weather comes rolling in. Do yourself a favour and go see these guys. Even if you are unimpressed by the show they put on, at least you’ll be able to pick up a copy of the EP. And managers – Pull out those mining picks, it appears we may very well stumbled upon a gold mine.