TOBIAS FORGE On Why 'Nameless Ghouls' Won't Play On GHOST's Next Album: 'If I'm Not Asking Everyone, Then I Don't Want To Ask Anyone'

October 6, 2019

GHOST vocalist Tobias Forge recently spoke withMark Strigl of the "Talking Metal" podcast. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On whether to expect additional GHOST songs featuring vocals by Papa Nihil, who is credited on the group's two newly released tracks "Kiss The Go-Goat" and "Mary On A Cross":

Tobias: "I don't know, actually, what the clergy has in the vaults. I just know that this found and released, and the next project is making a new record. That is in the now and in the future, so that's going to be something completely different."

On how far along he is in the writing process for that next album:

Tobias: "At this point, essentially, as of right now, I only have one song demoed that you can listen to from start to finish, because I've been touring so much. I just went into the studio this summer to basically get my rocks off a little. I just needed to record something in order to feel like I've started. That song was based out of three ideas that I had. That's usually what it takes for me to go into a studio and start hammering it out. I have maybe 50 to 60 ideas lying around, which means that if I just invest two or three days on piling together three ideas a time... it's almost mathematical. If you take that, split it into threes and there you have it — that's how many songs I can basically get out of that. As soon as I start working on material, it usually goes pretty fast. However, this time around, I've been very adamant about folding quite a lot of time for the pre-production — being in a smaller studio from Monday to Friday just making songs. I'm going to do that from January until May. It's five months of writing. I guess five months might seem excessive, but I'm also trying to combine... This is essentially going to happen very near to my home. I've been either touring or recording out of nine years in a row. I have two kids and I have a wife, so I need to spend time with them. This writing is essentially going to be in Stockholm, very near to my home, so I also have to pace it out with breaks. It's actually back to quite normal working hours — Monday through Friday, 9 o'clock to 5 o'clock — but I have a record in mind that needs to be of a certain... I have very high hopes for this record. I have very high demands on this record, and I want to give [it] time, because one thing that I haven't really had [while] making the other records — none of the other records, really — was time, except for the first record, because most of it was actually written between 2006 and 2008, when I had all the time in the world. The actual recording of the record is basically June 1 until the end of the summer. It feels good to be able to sort of clear out time to really sit with the material, make sure it's good and make sure that it's balanced. Obviously, we're in a different era now where making this record will be very different from making the last record in terms of outside disturbance."

On whether any of the Nameless Ghouls in GHOST's current touring lineup will participate in the recording process:

Tobias: "No, actually not, and that is for a few very simple reasons. I have never in the history of GHOST ever had... There was never any demands or expectancies for the people touring to play on the records for several reasons. One is that I've always had a favorite drummer that I always wanted to play on the records who's never been in the band. He's never been in the touring band. He and I work very well together. He's perfect for the studio requirements — he does that really well — and I have a favorite keyboard player, who is extremely good at translating the things that I want him to play. During the writing, I always play everything anyways, so if you start involving people — which I have done from time to time, just to be nice, basically, just because I wanted to give them an incentive — you end up in a situation where you have to tell them to exactly replicate what I just did, just symbolically. In my efforts to try to be nice to people, that has also turned out to be not so cool. I've learned a lot from that. Besides, if I'm not going to ask everyone to do their part, then what's the point? I don't to segregate people. I don't want to favor people. If I'm not asking everyone, then I don't want to ask anyone. Basically, all of the people that are in my band are doing other things — they have solo careers; they have other bands — so I want to give them time off, or time away from GHOST to do their things, because I know, come 2021, when the new record comes out and there's this 18 months of touring coming up, they will come back having gotten their rocks off. They will be ready to do my thing, whereas a lot of other bands where you have that demands, where you have people in the studio and half the band just sits around waiting for the record to be done, you end up having a lot of maybe not-so-good feelings when you start a tour, so the touring becomes way more heavy because you're already tired of each other and you're already at odds about this, that or the other. You just fuel a lot of potential negativity into touring. I am very determined to make records — I don't need necessarily other people to make those records, except for the ones that I choose myself — and I am a very determined tour artist, and I want the tours to be very good as well. That's the short answer. [Laughs]"

On GHOST's broad appeal:

Tobias: "I think that there is a little bit for anyone in there. I think that just because the music and also the style and presentation is embracive of essentially 50 years — possibly even more — of rock n' roll, I think that as long as it reaches out to those people, it has the tendency to strike a chord within all these different clienteles. Which is fantastic, I think. I love that. In the beginning of our tours in 2011 and '12, when we started touring America and started headlining a lot, I was actually a little bit worried because of the mixture of people, because — and this was naively thought of from my end, I guess — I thought, when I saw the diversity in the crowd, I was happy, but I was afraid that one group of people might repel the other. The hardcore metal, vest-wearing, kick-ass metal fans, that they would be deterred by the fact that, 'Shit, the hipsters are here'... We were always adamant — me and my agent — that we were going to play all-ages shows, which we've been trying to do to the best of our ability. As soon as kids started appearing at the shows, we've always been very informative to the crowd, like, 'You can't fuckin' slam around a whole lot. You can't stage-dive.' You have to be mindful — there are people out there who are very frail. You're not at a CRO-MAGS show. That was also a public relations message that I was a little bit worried about. I'm sure there were probably a few metalheads out there that felt like, 'Oh, man — GHOST ain't fuckin' metal anymore because I can't fuckin' dive foot-first into the crowd.' Sure, okay, fine — if that doesn't make us metal, I'm all fine with that. You can't fucking head-butt a 10-year-old. That's not cool. If that is not metal, then okay — fuck you... But a lot of these people come back, and they seem to be enjoying it together, which is very heartwarming to see, because I really, really want GHOST to be a very embracive, non-segregating band that essentially welcomes everyone who are open to the idea of openness. That's the point — we want you to be happy together."

GHOST continues to tour in support of its Grammy-nominated 2018 album, "Prequelle". A "limited deluxe collector's edition" of the album, "Prequelle Exalted", which was released on September 27. Among other collectibles, it includes a seven-inch single featuring two previously unreleased songs, the aforementioned "Kiss The Go-Goat" and "Mary On A Cross".

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