In Conversation | Almost Ghosts on supernatural experiences, Taylor Swift and Kanye’s Glastonbury performance
Hailing from Dublin, experimental trio Almost Ghosts have just released new double A-side ‘For This’ and ‘Quiet Ground’, which you can check out below. We caught up with bassist David Dooley to talk ghosts (naturally), Taylor Swift, Kanye West (but of course) and what track he’d listen to for 24 hours straight…
What’s an ‘Almost Ghost’ then? Is it some kind of existential, ‘We all have one foot in the grave’ kinda thing?
David Dooley: Funny, I’ve sat here for the last 15 minutes staring at the question with the intention of giving some rambling, life affirming answer but in reality I’m going to take the easy way out and say it’s just a band name. Well a band name that we like that also happens to being with “a”, which is handy for listings!
There’s three of you in the band. Surely one can lay claim to some kind of intriguing supernatural experience?
Oh we can actually! So when we were younger, we were doing some (terrible) demo recordings in a friends garage late at night. It was quite a rough set-up, with amps and cables scattered throughout the usual garage stuff like power tools and a freezer full of scones (no really). When we were playing the tracks back, instead of hearing the tunes we had just recorded, we heard faint sounds of what we believe was an Asian radio station. We were 16 at the time in a dark garage in the middle of nowhere, so needless to say we were a little freaked out.
You’ve gone, in your own words, from a four-piece rock band to an indie-electronic trio. How was that transition?
It was interesting! When our drummer left we knew that the three of us still wanted to make music together but weren’t sure what form it would take. We toyed around with the idea of replacing him, but felt it would be a bit weird as we’ve all been friends for so long. So instead we looked down the electronic route by putting electronic drums to our existing songs, which was a disaster! It just sucked all the energy out of them, but it gave us an idea of what was possible. We then scrapped our entire set and wrote a new one. It also made us change the way we write as we have to be more focused on the direction and more meticulous in the execution for it to work.
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Kanye West at Glastonbury. Discuss.
Disappointing. Not the billing but the performance. Which is a shame as it got off to such a good start with ‘Stronger’, and then swiftly went off the rails. His ‘Watch the Throne’ gig in the O2 with Jay Z back in 2012 is to this day my all time favourite gig, it was such an absolute spectacle. I suppose I went to his Glastonbury show expecting part two of that. I’d never stood in a crowd before, waiting for an act to come on, with less of an idea of how the show would go down. It was really exciting discussing what the show might be like. He could have – and should have – made it about the crowd. He should have gotten out that little contact book he has and filled that stage with guest performances. But instead he made it about him. It was a bit silly on my part to expect anything less from a self-proclaimed God and ‘the Number One living and breathing rock star’. And as for the cherry-picker? It just came across as cheap.
You were there, right? These things rarely translate through the TV but it looked especially anaemic this year. Regale me with tales of amazing things.
Yup, I was there, and you’re right. It doesn’t translate through TV (although kudos to BBC for the effort, it’s mad coming home from a festival to have people at home see more acts than you!). What BBC don’t show you are the anarchic scenes of menacing, metal, monolithic spiders that make up the Arcadia show. Complete with acrobatics, pyro, stellar costume design and a pounding electronic soundtrack. But then again, they do show you James Bay. Which is pretty much the same thing right?
Is Taylor Swift a massive hypocrite?
Yes. First up, credit where credit’s due. She didn’t need to publically ridicule Apple’s ludicrous non-payment trial period but she did. So hat tip to you Taylor. But for her to call out Apple on their unfair terms whilst also using restrictive photography contracts for her own shows is absolutely hypocritical. Fair play to The Irish Times for taking a stand against it though and not publishing images with their review of the gig.
If you were forced to listen to just one song for 24 hours straight, what would it be and why?
Oh, that’d have to be ‘Jurassic Park Theme (1000% Slower)’. Why? Cos it’s utterly hypnotic. And with a track length of 54 minutes I’d only have to listen to it 12 times.
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Best song, album, film and TV moment of 2015 so far?
Song has got to be ‘Night Moves’ by Roosevelt. He’s an electronic producer from Germany who should be bigger than he is. We missed him at Longitude last year and have had our fingers and toes crossed since that someone will bring him back over.
[iframe [iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/8PMJNUjaivw”]dir="ltr">Album of 2015 so far? This one’s easy. Get to Heaven by Everything Everything. It’s only out two weeks, which says a lot for how good it is. Ask me this question again in December and the answer will be the same. It’s 11 sharp, quirky pop tracks about modern life from one of the most interesting bands around.
Ironically for a band without a drummer, I’m gonna go with Whiplash for film of the year. Proper edge of your seat tension with some flawless performances. Can’t recommend it enough. Then for TV moment of the year I’m going to go for a spoiler-free answer and just say Game of Thrones.
Finally, will there ever be a rainbow?