Los Angeles shoe gaze kraut rockers United Ghosts are offering fans a free download of their new single ‘Holes into the Night’. The band are also set to release their self-titled album and as a special bonus for UK fans they will be playing a few key UK live dates too (including a special album launch party in London).
So we arranged for our very own rock guru Phil Allely to hook up with United Ghosts and see what UK fans can expect from these live shows and the new releases.
Firstly thanks for taking the time to talk to us. You will be hitting the UK shores soon for a few live shows. This includes an album launch party, are you looking forward to these shows?
You’re welcome. We’ve been wanting to play here since we started the band. We all share an affinity for UK culture and i’s definitely an influence on our sound. So yes, we can’t wait to hit your shores and play.Your new single ‘Holes in the Night’ is being offered as a free download. What made you decide to offer fans this musical treat for free?
It gives people an in, a way to explore our music. We have kind of created our own world and it’s good for people to have a way in and check out what United Ghosts is about. (Maybe they would have nicked it anyway:). Hopefully it’ll make them buy the album.
Is it a good example of what we can expect from the full album?
It’s definitely representative but there’s a lot more to the album. In fact Holes comes in pretty late on the record.
We had this idea of a “day” and a “night” side when we started the record. In the end we didn’t fully go through with the concept, but the album sort of starts with the night side. More of a hazy, dreamlike sequence of tunes before it lets the light in. Holes is part of the light.Your music is described as ‘kraut rock’. Would you agree with that? We only ask because we see many other musical genres mixed in to your work too.
No, we’re not a Kraut rock band, although we love to use elements from the genre, like the motorik beat on the single ‘Holes Into The Night’. But we’re not nostalgists at all. Kraut Rock was great but it’s from the 70s, the past.
We like the mind-set, the exploration outside of the typical rock band format, but in terms of what we use for inspiration there’s a lot more there: Psychedelia, shoegaze and electronica for a start. Plus movies, visuals, Phone apps, different instruments…anything that makes a sound or stimulates an idea.
We use loops a lot, and synths, Lyra bells, 12-string electric guitars that barely stay in tune, a lot of stuff. And we love to play with the hypnotic element. Drones play a big part. Almost every tune has some sort of underlying repetitive loop before we put song structures on top. I guess that’s pretty Kraut-rock, actually.Radio play (both in the US and UK) has seen the band receive a well-deserved boost in popularity. What does it mean to a band like yourselves, to know there are DJs out there who are willing to go that extra mile and promote your material?
We know from experience the amount of review discs and download links the media get every day. It must feel good to know your music has made an impression on someone like that.
It’s really important to get that resonance and we love that it happened. It’s great to hear yourself on the radio, there’s still a bit of magic to that. It’s the whole dream coming to life. Especially when it’s someone with a big name playing it, But we also appreciate the smaller stations that picked us up and got us exposed to new fans. Great stuff.
In this day and age where social media and digital downloads are seemingly the way forward, we at fame find it a breath of fresh air that ‘United Ghosts’ are willing to play live, give away material and even release their material not only on CDs, but even 12″ vinyl. Do you as band still believe in the power of the CD and Vinyl formats?
We do believe in vinyl. CDs are kind of disposable . They’re alright, but kind of half-way in between vinyl and digital and maybe on the way out. Digital can be really cool because it’s so instant and portable.
Vinyl seems the most suited to making a nice piece of art, but in the end we took great care to make our album sound and look great in any format.
We have mentioned your upcoming UK shows. Are you as a band looking forward to unleashing your material on UK fans?
Yes, we love the set we have right now. And we’re fired up from some great US shows. The gang’s ready to go. Can’t wait to see what you make of it.
What is next for the band. Have you any other tours lined up for 2013?
We’re working on short US stints on both the East and the West Coast. And we’d love to come back to the UK and Europe and do a much longer tour. There also might be an Ep in the works, very soon after the album.Something pretty experimental.
Can we ask how the band formed and what the dream was back then?
It was Sha and I who met first and started writing together without really knowing each other very well. A real chance encounter. Then Sean and Jason completed the vision and it got even cooler. If you really want to know how it all came about, there’s a short film we made called “Somewhere and a day” on youtube. It’ll give you all the full back story. We like to make little movies.
Finally where do United Ghosts hope to be in five years time?
You can’t plan 5 years ahead in music, but if you could we’d want to be doing this, only much bigger and better. Travel, create, explore new things. Maybe we’ll be the first band in space, house band for Virgin Galactic?:)
By Phil Allely ©FAMEMAGAZINE.co.uk
25/03/2013 – The Social, London ALBUM LAUNCH PARTY
26/03/2013 – Sticky Mike’s, Brighton
27/03/2013 – Hole In The Wall, Colchester
28/03/2013 – The Water Rats, London