TMF meets Ghostpoet

Currently touring his Mercury nominated album Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam, Ghostpoet is building a solid fan base thanks to his genre-defying magnetic live show. Bringing his electronic/hip-hop/indie hybrid to Lancaster Library as part of their on-going Get it Loud in Libraries programme, The Music Fix caught up with Ghostpoet to see what he makes of breaking the library silence…

So have you played in a library before?

No. It’s a little weird, but it’s quite interesting.

Getting young people into libraries…

Yeah, it’s a good concept.

What’s your favourite book?

Tin-tin, that’s my favourite. I like pictures. I haven’t seen the film yet, I really want to see it but I haven’t had the time.

Not surprising, you seem to have been all over the place this year. You went down to Australia…

Yeah, I went down to Australia, that was amazing. I’d never been there before, so that was crazy.

Do you find the reception is different compared to when you play at home?

It’s been surprisingly very good in most places. I think the age that we’re in, where the internet is everywhere, people know what it is and hear the music way before you get to play there. It’s fortunate that people had this stuff, knew what it was about, maybe not seen it live but kinda got the gist of what was going on. So that made it easier.

The internet and online mediums like You Tube, Sound Cloud, Twitter have all played a big part in getting your music out there. What are your feelings on piracy and illegal downloading in the music industry?

It doesn’t bother me, not really no. I would like people to buy my music but I can’t force them to buy my music, they choose to.

You release your Ghost Tapes as well…

Yeah, I do. I just love music and I wanted another avenue to put music out there. I thought I’d start making these little tapes and just put out music that I like. Simple as that.

What have you been listening to lately?

I’ve been listening to Queens of the Stone Age!

Which album?

Songs for the Deaf. I’ve also been listening to Joy Division a lot, Jamie XX, Rusty & Hudson… I’ve been getting into funk stuff recently as well. Old funk. Prince kind of stuff, just bits and bobs really.

Quite an eclectic mix, quite like your sound, you don’t really fit into one genre.

Yeah, exactly, that’s important to me. I think music is music and with sound I don’t think it’s about making things that can be put in one particular box or genre, it’s just about putting sound together really. I don’t really think about genre if I can avoid it.

If you had to choose three words which described your sound, what would they be?

Three words… errr… [long pause]. I don’t know! Just me and my stuff… Journey through sound. That’s it!

Everything kicked off for you when you were nominated for the Mercury prize for your album Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam. What do you think about the hype surrounding your second album?

I don’t really think about it. I think the Mercury thing was great and it made a big difference. It put my music into the radar of people who only listen to music via awards shows, so that was great. It put me onto the next rung of the ladder I guess. But in terms of second album, I just plan to do what I did with the first, which is to make music for me. I know that I want to evolve and develop, but naturally myself. It’s only because I want to do it. People put too much pressure on yourself. It’s art… it’s not art in a sense of “Oh, it’s art!”, but it’s a joyful thing for me, it’s a passion, it’s not a 9-5 for me. I want to make music that I will enjoy listening to, hopefully, in years to come. That’s all that matters to me.

Have you started the writing process yet?

Yeah yeah yeah…

How’s it going?

It’s going okay, it’s going alright… I’ve got enough ideas now. It’s now just developing them into solid songs of sorts and at the same time it’s tricky. I don’t want to repeat myself lyrically or musically, I’m trying to do that but at the same time whatever comes up, I should just let it be free. I want to step up as much as I can. We’ll see.

I guess as well because your lyrics centre around social commentary, you need to have experiences to write about.

Yeah of course, exactly. I only really started really getting into it about a month ago because that’s when time came about. I’d had time to live and explore my mind a bit, work out what I wanted to talk about. I don’t want to talk about being on tour, because that’s not a reality for everybody. I want to make songs that everyone can relate to regardless of social status. That’s the plan anyway.

Have you seen the cupcakes yet? (An ongoing feature of the Get it Loud in Libraries shows are themed cupcakes, featuring artwork of the acts playing on the night)

No I haven’t! I’ve heard about the cupcakes. I’m very intrigued by these.

Other than the obvious peanut butter and jelly, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I would eat mussels. I love mussels, but it’s weird because obviously when you cook fish you never know… so I’ve tried to avoid it on tour, because you never know do you. So I miss that, in terms of mussels… I would definitely say mussels.

What can we expect from your show at Lancaster Library tonight?

A show! Haha, hopefully. It is a band, guitarist and drums, electronic elements… hopefully good vibes!

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