Interview: Ghosting Season

This interview was originally published in Issue 18, July 1st.

Those who pay attention to the not very crowded field of post-rock infused glitch-y electronica from Northern England will be aware of worriedaboutsatan, a two piece who for five years have regularly put out highly praised albums (the Pitchfork approved Arrivals) and EPs (the staggeringly beautiful Heart Monitor 12”).

Due to the large quantity and great quality of these releases, worriedaboutsatan had quickly become a name you can trust. But now, Tom Ragsdale and Gavin Miller are putting worriedaboutsatan to one side, and have started putting out music through a brand new name - Ghosting Season.

Upon first listen, Ghosting Season's “Far End of the Graveyard” - the title track from the band's new EP, out June 20th - shows definite trait of worriedaboutsatan's output, though it feels much more driven. Where the percussion used to stutter and crackle, it now pounds frantically. Where songs used to slowly build, this now bursts out of the speakers.

Judging from this, Ghosting Season appears to be a more aggressive beast, but there's no reason for fans of Tom and Gavin's work as worriedaboutsatan to fear it. However, while listeners can enjoy the change from one band to the other, was the transition as easy for the Ghosting Season boys?

When and how did you realise the new music you were making didn't fit under the worriedaboutsatan name?

Gavin: After we had the album back from mastering, and we sat down and realised it had kind of shed the worriedaboutsatan skin, and sounded like something else, so thought it would be a nice idea to just start something completely new, and build from scratch. It felt very invigorating!

Was it difficult deciding to release it under the new name? Did you worry about having to "start from scratch" as it were?

Tom: It was more difficult planning it under worriedaboutsatan. We were worried that no one would understand it, and stylistically it's very different, so we might've got some criticism. The 'starting from scratch' thing was actually a bonus.

 

How prolific would you say you are and what is your writing process like?

G: I'd say we were pretty prolific really! With electronica, it's not that hard to sketch out some ideas and run with them as you don't have to worry about getting a lot of people in the same room at the same time - you can just do it whenever you like, and it doesn't have to cost a fortune to rent studio time! That said, we still work day jobs, which holds up the writing process a fair bit! We pretty much always start with me making a rough idea in Ableton, which will then make it to Tom, who will work on it and flesh it out into something more, and then we'll both come together before it gets the seal of approval. Needless to say, we'd be screwed if it wasn't for Dropbox!

You are now releasing stuff under two different monikers. Do you worry how much time you allocate to each project?

T: Haha, and we've also started a third! Although we don't plan to do anything with it until Autumn. No, we don't worry about it to be honest. We don't feel as though we have to keep anyone happy. The people who like our stuff are very committed to us, and they don't mind at all what we call it just as long as we keep going. When something's done it's done, and if it takes a day then that's cool, but if it takes a year so be it.

As worriedaboutsatan you've done an impressive amount of remixes. Will you be doing any as Ghosting Season?

G: So many. So, so many. We already have about 10 backed up, which aren't out yet for various reasons, 3 on the go right now, and any number of others to get through!

How important do you consider performing live to be for an electronic band?

T: I think it's the same for any genre of band. I personally love it and it's the best fun in the world, but I totally respect people if they don't want to do it. Boards of Canada and The Knife rarely play live, and that's fine with me. It's important if you enjoy it. Why bother otherwise?

Is it sometimes challenging being in two electronic bands who don't really fit into the mainstream view of electronic music (in that you're not Daft Punk or Dubstep)?

G: Yeah. It's quite hard for a band that uses laptops and guitars - some people don't get it, which is fair enough, but it does make things a little harder for when you want to get people to listen to you, or put you on. You're not in one camp or the other, you're kind of straddling lots of different things. But I guess it also makes you work harder!

You're releasing your new EP yourself. How did this come about?

T: We've released pretty much everything ourselves so far, and it's a good way of building up profile and learning about the processes of the industry. That and you get to make all the creative decisions and spend as much as you want on PR and packaging!

Do you think self-releasing is something more bands should do?

G: Totally! If not for the fun element, then do it for that sense of self accomplishment - it does help with making you better at what you do, and giving you common sense and a ‘know how’. If no-one in the industry listens to you, start your own industry!

You've put a lot of effort into art/packaging in the past- especially Heart Monitor. Will the EP be getting similar treatment? Will there be a different aesthetic for Ghosting Season?

T: The EP packaging is REALLY nice. It's a simple cardboard sleeve, but the artwork looks great on it. It's very simple, formal, and to the point. We will be planning something special for our album though. Something lavish…

CONTENT BY: CHRIS HOLLAND

ILLUSTRATIONS BY: BEN JENSEN

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