Northampton-born ghostofblu is making everyone sit up and take notice with his digital hardcore. With the SPECTRE EP now out New Boots had to go find out more behind the enigma.
Can you tell us how/when/why this project started?
I’d played guitar in local bands for about 4/5 years prior to all this and always enjoyed performing live shows. I’m sure it was some time in late 2016 where my best friend Ronan showed me this sick music video he found scrolling through his Facebook one night, which was actually Paris by $uicideboy$. After that we slowly started becoming obsessed with them and were soon to discover the likes of Ghostemane, Pouya, Keith Ape and so so many more artists which was kind of weird for me as I’d never really been that interested in a whole lot of rap music prior to all this.
Admittedly I probably thought it looked cooler than I thought it sounded at the time but that was soon to quickly change. I then started delving into the lyrical content of a lot of these rappers and realised it was more my kind of thing; It wasn’t all about the drugs, money, gangs and whatever else you would stereotype rap to be, which was the point where I felt most inspired. So I started trying to make crappy trap beats on a cracked copy of FL, just experimented with sounds and getting used to hearing my own voice a lot more attempting to rap about anything that was on my mind. Very shortly after I decided to make it into the what became the first phase of this project called “blu boy”.
Was there a “eureka” moment that opened up a door inside of you to be able to do this?
Not exactly. Shortly after doing the rap thing and releasing a few (dead) songs I had the idea of maybe trying to add some screaming on a track or something which happened to be around the time I started talking to a new friend from Las Vegas called “goth” who I believe I met through Soundcloud. We ended up releasing a pretty angry song together called ‘Not That Easy’, which is still on the original blu boy Soundcloud page now. That song got me a little bit of traction thanks to goth, and I think that’s where I ended up getting my first 20 or so followers on Soundcloud. Shortly after that when I renamed to ghostofblu, goth and I went even harder on another collaborative track, I went full throttle with higher pitched screaming and people seemed to love it! I think that was the moment where I thought “I like where this is going and I’m enjoying it. Let’s see what happens.”
You’ve been prolific since 2017. Are the ideas just tumbling out of you?
Thanks to the producers and other artists I’ve made friends with and have been fortunate enough to work with over the past couple of years, I feel inspired more often than not nowadays which was something I struggled with in bands and projects in the past. I don’t release new music as often as I’d like to but there are often plenty of ideas floating around. I’ve recently started learning to plan ahead a lot more which is helping me remain consistent, and maintain a clearer vision of where I want to go next with things.
What’s the general reaction like to your releases? You have a lot of people listening in, I can imagine your social media is lit up all the time, especially as the music feels so personal.
I’m both very lucky and thankful to be such a tiny artist but have such an awesome, dedicated fanbase. As of late I only seem to be releasing one new track each month whereas a lot of friends and other artists are putting out a good few songs a month, sometimes even a week. But the people that listen to me are always patient and appreciate new music when it does happen. I like to spend a lot of my social media time on Instagram because I feel it’s a lot more personal than other platforms, and it’s easier to stay in contact with friends and fans I feel.
Tell us everything about this new EP, SPECTRE. Where do you hook up with all these different producers – do you fileshare back and forth?
So I’d been toying with the idea of an album for about a year at this point, but every time I finished up a song I had a habit of releasing it a soon as possible which to be fair hasn’t gone against me in any way. But I was working on my debut album [which to some of my fans is common knowledge] called Phantom Season, but because I kept releasing tracks I ended up with a few remaining songs that I just couldn’t work out how to perfect. So rather than trickling them out as singles all the time I thought I should at least release a few at the same time as an EP or something, so here we are. SPECTRE is comprised of 5 tracks all with strong meanings to them. From kids with no manners to my Father having Alzheimer’s Disease and how it frustrates me at times. Like I have already mentioned I’m very fortunate to have the people around me that I do. People that want to work with me and reach out to me, often first, which is incredible. I’ve got to know a lot of great people and will continue to work with these producers. How it generally works for me is I’ll end up chatting with somebody on Twitter or Instagram or something and they’ll send me over a .wav file beat to see what I think to a beat, or collection of beats. I’ll then stick that in the production software that I use an record some vocals on top and mix them in and it’s as simple as that really. I will never take full credit for the tracks I’ve released, and I will always preach that producers do in most cases more work than the performer. So I like to share whatever success comes from anything that is released by ghostofblu.
You’ve started on some live shows. What are they like?
Live shows are interesting really, I’ve had great local support and people turn up to my sets who know my songs, know the words, jump about and have a good time which is all I could really ask for. But I’ve noticed and appreciate it’s still a bit alien to some, as I always find myself on rock/metal shows which suits me fine. But as the scene grows I can see more people like myself on these kind of shows. Whatever the weather I just enjoy playing and moving like I think I can dance, and having the freedom to do as I please. I’ve already got some many songs to choose from when it comes to live shows. I’m in the process of branching out, playing a bit further away from Northampton and will be pushing to play overseas come 2020.
Are you part of a scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourite acts your wanna give a shout out to?
Sadly not as much as I’d like to be. I’m Northampton born and bred, however I live up in Yorkshire now. I’ll take any opportunity that arises to come down, see my friends and play some music but I suppose I’m not as affiliated as I could be in the N-Town music scene in general. I will always support my friends and bands coming out of our town, but I can’t always show the physical support as much as I’d like to.
I would like to shout out a couple of people actually. I owe a lot to Sharkteeth Grinder, who have put me on most of the shows I’ve played up until now and they are CONSTANTLY on the grind, making some mad music. Tragic are good friends of mine, who again are constantly pushing themselves. Though relatively new, they’ve made a name for themselves around town already. Nailbreaker is pretty much a one band band as well like myself, I’m inspired by his confidence and “no fucks given” attitude – especially when he’s up on stage on his own. Finally my old band/best friends band CROW, who are making moves towards releasing their debut EP and set to play some sick shows this year.
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I’ve been obsessed with Loathe’s latest release(s) “Gored / New Faces in the Dark” – truly incredible metal songs. Loathe are constantly pushing the boat out with their new music and their imagery/vibe is unmatched by any other band I know. So check those guys out if you haven’t already.
What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
The dream is fairly simple for me. I want to keep pushing everything I’m doing now to a point where I can just make enough to not have to work a full-time job. I know that’s what everybody might want, but I’m confident I can make it work. Like I said I’ll be playing more shows overseas next year, and want to be able to reach more and more people, make more great music and have a fucking blast on the way. For now, I’ll continue to release new songs, work on my album and see what happens. The whole money thing doesn’t bother me if it doesn’t end up working out like that because I understand what a difficult industry music is nowadays. Especially given the fact it’s absolutely monolithic and it’s so easy to fall off at any given moment. The sole purpose of all this is my enjoyment, if I stop enjoying it then that’s where it stops.
SPECTRE is out now via the usual digital platforms