Q&A: DFA’s Holy Ghost!

In 2007, Holy Ghost! (DFA Records) burst onto the scene with only one record to speak of. Now, three years and a few remixes later, HG! are back with an EP, an extensive multi-city tour with LCD Soundsystem, and an album on the way. In anticipation of their first appearance in Montreal, LOOKOUT recently got the chance to wax poetic with the group about their remixes, their new sound, and dangerous endangered species.Read More ↓

LOOKOUT: There were some fantastic HG! remixes over the last while. How does your approach to remixing other artists differ to your approach to your solo creations?

NICK (HOLY GHOST!): Sometimes it's similar, but in general as we've been working on our record there's overall concern with making something that is aesthetically cohesive. With remixes we're not thinking about a larger body of work. Each remix only has to function as a single, one time piece of work because they are for a different artist every time, are usually for stand alone singles, etc. So with remixes I think we often to go to certain sonic and/or aesthetic extremes that we don't necessarily go to with our own solo stuff.

How do you feel the new EP compares sonically to the music you were making when you first signed to DFA?

HG!: When we first "signed" to DFA the only completed song we had was "Hold On." There were a bunch of very rough demoes but nothing finished really, so there isn't a lot to compare it to. We've spent our time since then trying to figure out what we wanted Holy Ghost! to be. However, a song like "Static On The Wire" has been more or less done for almost two years now and doesn't differ drastically from the demo version that we did way back when. Sonically all the same elements are there - big, live, drums, poppy vocals, synths galore, heavily delayed guitars, etc.

Have you had any experience with Montreal before? How do you think it fits in with your overall idea of this select cities tour?

HG!: We haven't as Holy Ghost! actually, though our old band Automato played our last and perhaps best show there in the 2005. I've been through there a couple times with The Juan and we always had a good time.

Is it true you guys were among the pandas in LCD's "Drunk Girls" vid? If so, what was your favorite part of terrorizing your labelmates?

HG!: True. Alex and I are the first two pandas you see on screen. The whole day was really fun but the worst/best part for me was spraying Pat in the face with fire extinguisher. Worst because when I first did it I really thought I'd hurt him and almost ruined the video by taking my mask off to check on him (which you can see if you look closely). Best because he was fine and, well, I got to spray him in the face with a fire extinguisher. Payback for years of being made fun of for how softly I play drums.

Interviewed by Rowan Spencer (Paper Route)

Holy Ghost! will be touring their live show with LCD Soundsystem.

LIVE - Monday, May 24 @ Metropolis TICKETS

Buy the new EP - 'Static on the Wire' from DFA Records.

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LCD Soundsystem- “Drunk Girls”

LCD Soundsystem just dropped their delectably danceable 3rd LP, This Is Happening, on DFA Records. Here is the video for the first single "Drunk Girls". James Murphy + Panda Suits + Spike Jonze = Drunk Girls?

Q&A with YACHT

YACHT is everything you’d want in a band: they make you think, they make you laugh, and they definitely make you dance. LOOKOUT chatted with Claire L. Evans and Jonah Bechtolt of YACHT, before they embarked on their 2010 North American “Mystery Moods Tour” along with the addition to YACHT, The Straight Gaze.

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LOOKOUT: See Mystery Lights is the first YACHT album after the induction of Claire. How have you both built on the old conception of YACHT as a solo act? Or is this reincarnation completely different from previous forms of YACHT?

Jona: Well, I think there's a similar spirit to the band. The core message and core goals are the same, but now they are shared with Claire.

Claire: There’s no distinction of before me and after me, we had this shared experience (The Marfa Lights) and it changed our perspectives. It’s something that we share as a common source of inspiration.

Jona: We came together through this paranormal phenomenon of Marfa Mystery Lights. There’s no explanation for the paranormal phenomenon of the Marfa Lights, and teams of scientists have been trying to figure it out. After we saw it together, we felt we need to continue our journey together in everything we do together.

I find the very existence of something like a "modern mystery" very odd and kind of disturbing and unnerving to curious people like myself who think there should be an explanation for everything. Were the lights the first or main reason why you both decided moved to Marfa, Texas?

Claire: Yes, it was the reason we moved there. We hadn’t been looking for it, it just came to us in a random way. Jona saw it while he was driving on a tour.

Jona: I had no idea what it was going to be. I thought it was going to be an explained natural beauty but it really changed me and ended up being really supernatural and unexplainable.

Claire: We decided we had to live amongst them and figure them out.

Montreal, much like your hometown of Portland, Oregon, has long and depressing winters, but a thriving artistic population. How did Portland influence your creativity and the making of your music?

Claire: It’s always interesting to make music and art in a place where you don’t have access to the tools other people have. We were lucky to have a cool music scene but it wasn’t always there. A lot of musical trends in the Northwest is born out of a DIY period.

Jona: Yeah, we didn’t have the means to make anything, but I don't mean in a political sense.

Claire: It’s interesting to make music with limitations and to have no big record label, no awesome venues, no professional studios.

The band is very stylized with the black and white represention. What’s the intention behind the black and white dualities? Are these dualities completely distinct from each other?

Claire: We’ve always been interested in duality. We both have had a renewed interest in the ritual history of the world. We like to study religion, the secret societies of the world and any codified set of beliefs. There are huge commonalities between different threads of ideological history, whether it be Inter-Babylonian, Syrian or contemporary Western religion. We are all motivated by the same impulses. We want an understanding of things that are beyond human understanding. The light and the dark are two different paths, there’s no fundamental evil or fundamental good. There’s no right or wrong path, we all live in this interconnected universe. We’re all just a bunch of monkeys trying to transcend our situation.

For more Q&A with YACHT, don't miss the March 4th issue of The McGill Daily.

Listen:

Psychic City - YACHT

So Post All 'Em - YACHT

See A Penny (Pick It Up) - YACHT

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