GHOST lead singer and founder Tobias Forge — who performs as Papa Emeritus — unmasked himself publicly for the first time since the band's formation for an appearance on "Sommar i P1", Swedish radio channel P1's daily one-man show which has aired every summer since 1959.
Each ninety-minute episode of "Sommar i P1" features a well-known Swede talking without interruption about whatever he or she likes, as well as choosing all the music for the program.
During his appearance on the show — which aired for the first time on Thursday, August 17 and can now be streamed at this location — Forge talked about his family life and particularly his older brother, Sebastian, who died of heart failure in 2009 the day after GHOST posted its first song on MySpace. At one point, Forge spoke directly to his late brother and was sobbing and crying while lamenting the fact that "we didn't get to experience this thing together." Forge also said that his mother was so proud of him that she was telling everyone about his involvement with GHOST even though the bandmembers' true identities were supposed to be kept secret. "[But] I guess it doesn't matter anymore," he added.
Tobias ended the program by telling the listeners: "My name is Tobias Forge and I'm the man behind the mask in GHOST. Thanks for listening."
You can read a rough English-language translation of Forge's entire "Sommar i P1" appearance on Reddit.
Forge previously revealed his identity while responding to a lawsuit filed by four former members of GHOST, who accused him of cheating them out of their rightful share of the profits from the group's album releases and world tours.
In his court documents, Forge — who had previously played in several other rock bands, including REPUGNANT, CRASHDIET, SUBVISION, MAGNA CARTA CARTEL and SUPERIOR — took credit for developing GHOST's image and stage show and blamed his ex-bandmates for "destroying the mystery" surrounding the group by lifting the lid on GHOST's business dealings.
GHOST is known for its eccentric performances and is composed of six members easily recognized for their satanic attires. Five men who call themselves as Nameless Ghouls play the instruments while the lead vocalist is known as Papa Emeritus. The Nameless Ghouls who are wearing identical devil masks and costumes represent the five instrumentalities or elements (fire, water, air, earth and aether or quintessence) while their leader Papa Emeritus represents the group's anti-pope symbol.
Forge admitted in a 2016 interview with "Big Smash Radio" that the mystery surrounding GHOST has helped make the band more successful. "I think it definitely plays a part," he said. "The thing everybody keeps ranting about is the anonymity, which I have a comment on on the side, but I also think that you don't have to be anonymous or masked in order to have somewhat of a clandestine image. I mean, there are many artists that I know exactly where they are born and what their names are and where they live, which are still very, sort of, hidden. Even Nick Cave, who has a film about himself nowadays, is still someone who I would claim to be utterly enigmatic."
He continued: "Even if people would know who we are, or you could click on a Wikipedia page saying my date of birth, it does not necessarily mean that I have to go out on social media and tell you where I'm eating. So, yeah, I think even in the future, when it might not be as hidden, or as secret, I think that you can still uphold some sort of… level of fog around you."