Hot Spring’s “Post-Punk” export, Ghost Bones, have been wowing audiences with their danceable assault since 2014. Shindigmusic recently caught up with the band who’s latest album, Lipshifter, was one of the most anticipated releases of 2018.
The band formed in 2014, how did everyone meet and come together as Ghost Bones?
We all met years ago at various shows at a DIY space that I ran here in Hot Springs from 2006-2013 called The Exchange. It was discovered that we all had similar musical interests so it made sense for us to create together. Our first rehearsal was in the summer of 2014, and then we played our first show in September of that year. There were 2 drummers before Trey, and we landed him about a year and a half ago.
The band has been described as everything from post-punk and goth-rock to mutated disco and straight up rock and roll. How does the band see themselves in an industry full of labels?
This is a really tough question for all of us. We like to leave our sound open to interpretation. We’d love to hear what everyone things we sound like!
Ghost Bones recently released the highly anticipated Lipshifter, how has the response been to the album so far?
It’s been great so far! We spent almost 6 months in the studio on Lipshifter, so it’s reassuring to hear that people are as excited about it as we are.
Lipshifter was recorded/mixed/ mastered by Devin Castle and co-produced by Ghost Bones. What was the recording process like with Castle and how much of the Ghost Bones studio sound is a result of the band making the sonic decisions?
Working with Devin was a fantastic experience. He doesn’t take on a lot of recording projects so we were glad that he was interested in working with us. We consider him as the 5th member of the band, so he was given a lot of creative freedom when it came to the post production. One of us would go in and lay down our track, and then Devin would spend a few days putting that track where it needs to be sonically. When the next person would come in the lay down their instrument, they’d be listening to a backing track in headphones that would sound incredible. This helped inspire to bring out the best possible takes in all of us. Once all of the tracks were down we would have weekly meet ups to discuss post production ideas, and then Devin would work his magic.
Tracks like ‘Nape Of My Neck’ and ‘Sleep Creeps’ have been available for awhile but in more of a demo form. How long have you worked on the tracks that would make up Lipshifter?
Some of the tracks on Lipshifter are from the beginning of the band. All of the older songs were re-worked once Trey joined. It was refreshing to change them up a bit to reflect our growth as a band and put each song where it needed to be before heading in the studio.
Are any of the album tracks making their debut or have they all been kicking around the bands live shows in recent years?
‘Sticky Willow’ and the title track ‘Lipshifter’ are our newest songs, and we hadn’t played those live much at all before Lipshifter’s release. Also, ‘Three Legged Deer’ was created recently as an intro track to ‘Wolf in Sheeps Clothing’. We ended up feeling 3LD was a strong way to kick things off on the album.
I hear elements of bands as diverse as X, Gang of Four and The Dead Weather in the bands sound, are there any major influences that one wouldn’t necessarily find on the surface of your music?
We love all of those bands, but don’t really reach at them for influence. All four of us have been working on our individually specialized styles of playing for years. When we’re together writing we honestly come at it with a blank slate and let our songs form themselves around each members parts as they grow and develop.
Speaking of Gang of Four, I heard a rumor that Andy Gill is a big fan of the band, is there any truth to that?
That would be wonderful if it were true (and it may be)! This rumor may stem from the original Gang of Four drummer, Hugo Burnham, being a fan of one of my previous bands. Which is in fact true.
The band recently debuted a video for ‘Sticky Willow’ on Culture Creature. How did the idea for the video develop and how did you manage to get involved with Culture Creature?
We’re all big fans of analog video glitch art projections. It just so happens that one of the best in the field, Dan Anderson of CINEPLOSION Productions, lives right here in Hot Springs. It was a natural decision to team up with him to create the video. Devin Castle is also a talented videographer as well. He was brought in to direct, and the two of them made a great team. Culture Creature has been on our radar for some time now as a favorite up and coming music mag website, so they were actually the first that we reached out to for a premiere.
There is definitely a well crafted image of the band as far as photo and video content currently online. Though limited in quantity, the quality simply stands out among other regional acts. Do you feel that that visual impact of the band is just as important as the music you’ve been making? I feel its garnered the band a welcomed sense of mystique.
The visual impact is no doubt just as important. We’re set on creating an overall vibe that stimulates all of the senses (we smell nice as well). There are so many bands out there that generate amazing music, but don’t work on the visual aspect of their group. Most of those bands end up getting lost in the mix because there are millions of groups out there all doing the same thing. It’s very important to stand out and create a visual that represents a groups sound.
Ghost Bones first popped up on my radar after winning the 2015 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. What prompted the band to enter and how did winning the showcase affect the overall awareness of the band?
I had won it back in 2012 with my band Holy Shakes, so I’d already gone through the process. Ghost Bones had only been playing shows for a couple of months before we entered. It was done with the intention of receiving some quick exposure, and after we won we definitely felt an immediate buzz about the band.
I notice a lot of bands sound great on record but somehow manage to miss the mark on developing the killer live show. Ghost Bones have a well earned reputation for having a devastatingly stellar live set. Is that something that just clicked with the band early on or is it something you’ve been able to cultivate over time?
It just clicked with us at the very beginning, but its definitely come together more over time as we’ve become more comfortable as a unit.
I know a particularly explosive set at the Hot Water Hills Music Festival a few years back has become a part of local music lore, are there any major highlights or standout live shows that come to mind?
The Hot Water Hills show was a good one for sure. Another one that sticks out to us is our first performance with Trey on drums for the Rock N’ Roll Buffet at Low Key Arts. Trey has elevated our game to the next level, and that show was an eye opening moment.
I cant help but mention that both you (Bobby Missile) and Ashley Hill have a mutual connection with me. You both worked at the Gangster Museum of America under Director Robert Raines. I’ve known Robert going on 3 decades. He’s always been a fun guy to hang with, do you have any great Robert stories to share?
Robert is the best! We genuinely love the guy. Both of us never felt as if he was a “boss”, but more of a friend that owned the place. He calls from time to time to check in and see how we’re doing or just to chat. If you know Robert then lets just say this… of course there are stories, but lets not talk about them on a public platform!
So whats next for Ghost Bones?
There is a lot of stuff in the works right now for us. We’re on the road every weekend for the next few months to promote the album. We’re also working with Devin Castle again this month to begin filming for our next music video. Be on the lookout for that!