How did you guys originally get together?
Like a caravan looking to pick up hitchhikers. Nick, the gorilla glue to this band, played with Matt and Craig in two different bands before and he also went to college with Joe. Nick and Matt met Garen through a Craiglist ad, and soon we developed the foundational sound that is the Stately Ghosts. Shortly after, Abi responded to a new Craiglist ad we put out and with the bribe of a pepperoni pizza, she agreed to join. Joe came on board after guest guitaring at an Arlene’s Grocery show.
Super cliche one, but how did you arrive on "Stately Ghosts?" Is there a story behind the name?
Abi mentioned to Nick she was having recurring dreams of a wolfman. Nick, useful for random facts and objects, had a book of dream interpretations in which the author’s biography said he had previously written, “Stately Ghosts of England,” a popular TV show overseas in the late ‘60s. Somehow the name stuck after Nick said it would be a cool band name, however, Abi continues to dream of wolfmen from time-to-time.
Your sound seems to combine several genres of music, how do you think that developed?
With six band members, we bring several genres of music because we're all into different styles. Garen loves metal and classic rock, then you got Joe and Nick who are huge Phish fans and into the whole jam band scene. Abi and Matt tend to listen to a lot of indie music from Rilo Kiley to the Heartless Bastards, and then you have the X-factor, Craig, who will out of nowhere start playing anything from the Beatles to some gospel lick on the keyboards during practice.
Dominoes was one of the songs that Garen had written on guitar before we had even found Abi. We knew she was a perfect fit for the band after she nailed the vocals for this song on the first try. She even wrote those killer lyrics immediately after the first practice. Dominoes is one of the few songs we still play from those first practices and it's been through a lot of changes. Originally a heavy blues rock tune, it now has a relaxed, natural sound with acoustic slide guitar and piano. We do switch it up when we play live though and will be debuting its acoustic sound at an upcoming fundraising show.
When can we expect a full length album?
We are going start the recording process in September with a full-length album hopefully completed by October. We got some great material that we are eager to put down including “Stones,” and “7 ½ Minutes.” We actually recorded Dominoes in Matt’s basement one-by-one, but want more of a live performance feel for our first album.
How does the writing process normally pan out for you guys?There are a few ways it works out for us but we someone will usually come to the band with an idea for a song, whether it is just a riff or a full tune front-to-back, then every member in the band will add their own spin to it. Something that was brought to practice as a slow acoustic tune can easily turn into a calypso dance fest by the end of the process.
Do you write continuously? Or are you more periodic writers?
We are always writing. Matt or Joe will have an idea for a song and will quickly record it and send it to the group to be green lighted. Or Garen will come to practice, with a fully composed song and totally blow us out of the water. Recently, we have been pulling out some older jams that never came to fruition and have been modge podging them together with some new ideas to make some really funky jams.
Are there any artists/bands that you are really into right now?
We almost had to have an intervention with Nick because of his recent obsession with Ra Ra Riot but with our collection of band members there probably isn’t an artist or band that one of us hasn’t listened to yet.
Any tour dates coming up in the near future?
We just finished playing several gigs back-to-back in NYC and Astoria, so we are taking a small break to gear up for the recording studio. We’ve have been getting a lot of slack from our friends and family since we haven’t played on Long Island yet so we put together a mini-festival, informally called Lundystock (in honor of our the guy that keeps us together) and getting together a few of our music friends we’ve met a long the way to play Cedar Creek Park in Seaford on Sunday, August 14. We will also be playing the Astoria Music Now! Festival in Astoria Park, Queens, NY on Sunday, August 21. You can stay in touch with our latest gigs by signing up for our newsletter at wwww.statelyghosts.com.
Who are some artists/bands that you have looked up to in the past regarding stage presence/live performance?
Nick says anything by The Who, “I’d love to blow my drum kit up on stage like Keith Moon. Kick it over, smash it up. It's a shame we're our own roadies and that I only have one good drum set.”
Garen prefers anything by Springsteen, while Matt has his three-CD changer on overdrive with Led Zeppelin, The Band and Red Hot Chili Peppers, claiming they all can back up their stage presence with their musical ability.
Joe stays true to his Phish roots by saying “If I could ever even be an ounce of what they provide to their fans live, I would die a happy man.”
Driving in you car on a perfect day with the windows down, what are you listening to?
Garen lives in the city so he recreates this special moment by blasting music with the sweet summer city stench blowing through his hair with the windows open and putting his face to floor fan. His musical choice would be AC/DC in either scenario. As two die-hard Phish fans, Joe and Nick would no doubt be listening to Jam On via Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. Matt prefers some really good live Grateful Dead circa '70-'72. Abi and Craig’s iPods are jammed pack with such unpredictable music that we are not sure where to start.