Ghost’s Mastermind Speaks On Lineup Shifts, New Album Plans


Ghost were recently interviewed by and asked about the decision to change the band’s lineup late last year, among other things. It would appear that the band’s mastermind Papa Emeritus III (aka Tobias Forge) fielded the questions, though it is unclear if he did so under the guise of a Nameless Ghoul. As we now know, Forge replaced four members of the outfit last year—a move which in part spurred them to file a lawsuit over alleged financial misdealings and more.

This latest interview was conducted on March 28th, 2017—a few days prior to the reveal of the aforementioned lawsuit. The interview was originally printed in French, so here’s some excerpts via Google Translate:

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On whether or not members of the band are under contract to keep their identity secret:

“I think one of the mistakes was not putting pressure on them and not imposing a contract on them [laughs]. Let’s just say that obviously there was no such clause, because I thought that it was [tacitly] part of our agreement, but it was not, so … There was not a formal prohibition of revealing his identity.”

As to why Forge overhauled the band’s lineup with various new members:

“I can not tell you the whole story but without going into the details, the whole thing, and it’s a fact, is that Ghost was never formed as a band and its first line-up was formed after the first album was recorded, and it was only a live line-up.

And from this line-up, it has changed many times. If you have been following us since we started performing in concert in October 2010, you will have noticed that there have been many changes over the years. None of the line-up people who were active in November last year played on Opus Eponymous, for example, know [laughs].

We never formed the band together, it was always, I suppose, a band in the Bathory, Where there were people who played live and the people who played live were not necessarily the same who played on the albums.

On Opus and Meliora, there is a drummer who has never played live with us, for example. For my part, there has never really been … What some fans seem to think is not true. So, for me, the fact is that a time will come when people will discover that what they say or think is not correct, it is not based on the truth, but it suits me, No problem, no worries!”

When asked if it’s hard for the new musicians to get up to speed and connect with the material, he offered:

“[Little laughs] Sometimes the key is to teach them to think more simply. I’m a good drummer, I’m a good bassist, I’m a correct keyboardist and I’m a pretty good guitarist. And the trick is to push them to play below their abilities [little laughs] when they are together. It helps if you have everything fixed at the level of the instrumental parts, because my way of playing the bass is all over the bass parts, my way of playing drums is everywhere on the drum parts and my keyboard approach is everywhere On the keyboard parts.

So the only thing I have to teach them is “this is how you play this riff” “But it’s so easy! “Yes, that’s the goal” [laughter]. I mean, it takes a lot of time, of course. It’s time-consuming when you have to teach everybody how to adapt to a style, but that’s how the band started, that’s what I was saying. Opus Eponymous was recorded with a session drummer and nothing else. So it lays a little on the basics, that’s how it sounds and that’s how it’s supposed to sound, it’s on that basis that the music has developed. And this, in turn, becomes a blessing and a curse. But that’s how it works, so … In itself, becomes a blessing and a curse. But that’s how it works, so … In itself, becomes a blessing and a curse. But that’s how it works, so …”

He also went on to mention that he handles lead guitar duties on the albums. As for the band’s next album, he offered:

“You can expect forty-five minutes of music on vinyl [laughs]. No, actually, I’m going to record all through the fall and the new album will be released within a year from now. It will be a darker album, it’s a bit of an idea, because the album takes place at a time I suppose full of people, especially in Europe, have found completely apocalyptic, and this period has made a lot of.

But it also led the continent to prosper after the fact. It is an album that will be completely impregnated by death, but it will also be an album on survival. Combining these two things is my driving force in the design of this album. Because it will be dark but there will be … You know, in order to really, really see the darkness, we need light, So as to have a reference and know to recognize the darkness. It is my vocation today, make this album.”

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