Ghoul – Culled Back, Fleshed Out

Photo by Mclean Stephenson

If you’ve been reading Music Feeds for a while you would have more than likely stumbled over one of our many articles on Ghoul. One of our favourite bands, local or international, when I last spoke to lead singer Ivan Vižintin back in July 2009, he told me that their debut album was maybe 60% done.” Cut to a year and a half later and they’re set to release their mini-album Dunks.

We caught up with Ivan, ahead of their show at Double Dragon III at Oxford Art Factory this Friday the 21st of January to catch up on how the project had developed and how the band are feeling about it finally seeing the light of retail.

Music Feeds: So I’ve just got a copy of Dunks, your as yet to be released mini-album, and it sounds fantastic. How long did you spend on it all up and what was the process like?

Ivan Vižintin: We started tracking tunes in January 2009, and the whole mixing/mastering process was finished by July 2010. So all in all about a year and a half. An early version of the album was finished sometime in September of ’09 but it was crap so we pulled it. The songs were all a lot shorter (like A Mouthful Of Gold) and not very fleshed out. Initially, it was very stressful but everything eased up a bit when we decided to cull some of the weaker songs. It would’ve been a completely different record had we put it out in 09. Not as focused I guess… a bit all over the shop.

MF: Burke Reid who mixed has done a really great job, did you get to work closely with him for the mixing or was it more a case of sending it off and getting it back all snazzy? Has working with him given you ideas about how you’ll tackle the next release?

IV: We spent a week with Burke at BJB and it was great. He is incredibly inspiring and has such a dedicated work ethic… the man is a machine. He really understood what we were trying to get at and made the project his own. He showed us a few tricks in ye ol Protools that have made life so much easier. I really, really hope we get to work with him again.

MF: Speaking of the next release, it’s scheduled for later this year am I right? Have you already started work on it? How will it fit in with Dunks?

IV: We wrote about 40 demos that we’ve cut back to 14 or so. The arrangements are there in our heads but it’s all about fleshing it out and recording it right. Our biggest mistake with Dunks was that we didn’t spend the time to record things properly…. most of the drums on the record are just a crappy large diaphragm condenser and an SM57. I really want to get it right this time round, especially with vocals and lyrics. We’ve done some basic tracking and we’re aiming to do the bulk in February/March.

MF: You got some help on the album from the likes of Laurence and Richard Pike from PVT and the Seekae guys, who you’ve also played with before in the past, has there ever been any talk of collaboration, or are you all to stubbornly focused on your own stuff?

IV: There’s always talk, but everyone is just so busy focused on their own thing that we can never find the time. Everyone is open to it; we were going to do an EP with Seekae a while back but they had to knuckle down and finish their record.

MF: Compared to the Ghoul of 2009 and of Mouthful Of Gold, how does the band’s current state compare in your mind? What’s changed and what made you want to pursue those particular changes?

IV: Mouthful was a very happy accident. It was a lot of fun and stress free and we just did it for the hell of it. Now, I think we’re making more calculated moves in songwriting and performance. It’s easy to write something that’s bonkers and all over the shop and interesting. It’s harder to get something that’s focused and carries a single idea for five minutes. I think ultimately, we just want people to hear the tunes… whatever they may be. That’s not to say we’re not interesting in writing ‘new’ music, but there has to be some point of reference. Otherwise people just get lost…

MF: It seems to me, especially with the live show, you guys have really put an emphasis on precision and really playing the songs live, rather than experimenting on stage, why?

IV: I think our live show has developed into something you can watch, rather than something you look at and go ‘what the fuck is that?’ Mouthful was impossible to perform and it took a long time to realise that we were just embarrassing ourselves gig after gig after gig. I think as some more songs find their way into the setlist we’ll go back to improvising bits of the show… maybe not just yet!

MF: Speaking of the live show, I hear there might be a special surprise in store for your show at Double Dragon III this Friday, can you confirm or deny that?


Ghoul play Double Dragon III at Oxford Art Factory this Friday January 21st along with WIM, Pets With Pets (Melb), The Holy Soul, Domeyko/Gonzalez, The Preachers, Piano Is Drunk, Reckless Vagina, White Ox vs Sick Python, Drop Tank, Donny Benet and Juan Cortez

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