Shrouded in mystique, Ghost B.C. is exactly what rock 'n' roll has been missing. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, you can follow your favorite musician to the grocery store, doctor's office, or on vacation. What's the fun in that though? Where's the mystery? Why would you want to look up to that particular artist when you know where he buys toilet paper?
The Swedish rock outfit does away with all that. Papa Emeritus II and the Group of Nameless Ghouls aren't going to let you know when they're at Target, but they will take you on one hell of a ride. That operative word is "hell." It's not because they sound hellish either. It's quite the opposite. They're one of the most tuneful and melodic rock bands in ages, and it's all part of their certain je ne sais quo. That brings us to their second full-length album, Infestissumam, which will be infecting listeners April 16.
In this exclusive interview with PureVolume, Nameless Ghoul speaks to Rick Florino about Infestissumam, why naked women cause so much of a frenzy, "Monstrance Clock," the band's strange sexual energy, and so much more.
How will Infestissumam unfold and infect the world?
From a very literal and technical point of view, one of the major points that jumps up from what people have seen before is the ability to broaden and lengthen the live set and be more precise in terms of what moods are experienced and how this roller coaster feels.
Let's say we have an hour set. Obviously, we can't play all of our material at that point. Up until recently, we had to struggle to make it into an hour or turn the set into an hour because we basically had 54-minutes of material. Now, including all of the covers we've done, we can easily play an hour-and-a-half. Since we're not going to play everything, we can make the most out of that hour.
Show-wise, we've stepped up. We've concluded the first leg of the Infestissumam tour. We've basically done a warm-up. We've tried on a new décor, new lights, and things like that. You can see where it's going.
How did the album artwork figure into that?
It's highly ironic that just because we had naked women as well as female body parts shown and exposed, that caused the problem. What about the blasphemy? What about the Satanism? That wasn't the problem. That's exactly what the record is about. Our record is called Infestissumam—the greatest threat of all. It's funny they fell for it. It's not that we planted a hoax for them to fall into though. It's just humorous that it turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy. What we sing about in a poetic way turned into an actual physical threat and became a subject of censorship and outrage.
Who painted the pictures?
The whole artwork, and I say "whole artwork" because everything is one big piece with a series of 12 or 13 pictures, was made in collaboration by Ghost and executed by Bp. Necropolitus Cracoviensis Zbigniew Bielak II. He's a Polish artist who drew everything and executed it all. Everything was spawned by the lyrics and lyrical themes. It was a long process.
Is "Monstrance Clock" especially significant?
We've just completed eight concerts where people haven't heard the recorded version. Still, we insisted on "Monstrance Clock" being the encore, which was very weird—especially the first night. Obviously, now the nature of the game is YouTube. Whatever is on YouTube is "out there." Luckily, people who are into the band follow us and they keep up with what we're doing.
We felt like it was going to be the big ending of at least this show. So it's better to do that now as opposed to playing "Ritual" last, which is what we've always done. So far, it's worked. People are a bit weirded out by it. Whereas "Ritual" is this big rock 'n' roll ending, "Monstrance Clock" has another type of epic-ness to it. We like it. It's supposed to feel like an ending. We believe the simplicity is so easily understood. We've gotten the crowd to sing it a few times, especially when they hear it's about sex ...
There hasn't been a rock band as draped in sex as Ghost is in a long time ...
Thematically, we've always been more or less about the same thing. The whole sex element is obviously very dear to the traditional view of Satanic or occult activity just because it's so forbidden. It's such an inversion of Christian chastity. The whole sexual part is something pubertal. Whether or not we're a sexual triggering band, I think that was something that grew on us. Naïvely, we had the idea of us being a dude's band to begin with. Even though we weren't really keen on being part of a scene, we figured the ones who would like this band would be weed-smoking bands with Black Sabbath shirts. It's as simple as that. If we were lucky enough to reach out to half of the people who liked Black Sabbath, we would be happy.
When did you start noticing?
A few shows into it, we noticed the attraction thing between female audience members and Papa. It was like, "What? Why?" Then, we realized, "They don't know what's underneath that. It can be whatever or whomever." I guess that works to both parties' favors. In some way, that triggered that particular nature of the band. Finding its recipients through channeling music to the crowd, the crowd usually gives something back. In turn, that triggers the artist to go in a certain direction. I think that's why Mick Jagger dances the way he does. He started doing that because girls liked it when he did something similar. When they liked that, it's like, "Oh yeah, how about this?" The initial hip move he did evolves. If you watch a clip of him in 1964, it's very modest in comparison to what he looked like in 1969. That's art history. It's the same thing with a four-year-old. It starts off with one applause, then that child asks for more. He'll say more obnoxious things because it makes people laugh or clap. It all ends with claps.