A Nameless Ghoul from Ghost B.C. on Papa Emeritus II being too evil for the Vatican
Founded in 2008, Ghost B.C. created a bit of mystique for itself right from the start. The sextet is essentially anonymous in its elaborate costumes, with singer Papa Emeritus II decked out like a satanic pope, and his cardinals, The Ghouls With No Name, performing in uniform brown robes whose cowls obscure any identifying features. Yes, it's a gimmick to bring a sense of mystery and ritual to an art form that, these days, doesn't have nearly enough theater.
The music, though, is far from gimmicky: Part progressive rock and part hard rock and metal, Ghost's sound could have come from any era of metal in the past forty years. On tour in support of Infestissumam, its latest effort, Ghost B.C. and its darkly humorous show is a must-see. We recently spoke with one of the Nameless Ghouls about the "B.C." attached to the end of its name in the U.S., the influence of the music from '70s Swedish kids' shows and the proper way to adopt a retro aesthetic.
Westword: There was an interview you did for Utopia TV, and in it, you mentioned something about perhaps being an album-oriented band. What about that approach to putting together a record suits the kind of music you're doing?
Nameless Ghoul: I don't remember exactly what the context was in the Utopia interview, in terms of album-oriented, but I guess I was referring to the idea of being conceptual. We're not just another rock band that sort of puts out another eight songs every year and do the exact same thing over and over again. Well, obviously, let's check in in ten years and see if we've gotten stuck. But right now we feel very album oriented in the sense that this new record has probably more than fifty percent or a hundred percent isn't duplicating our entire repertoire.
Whereas I believe even when we do our third record, we're going to change a lot of other things in terms of decor and the overall look of the band. [We're] album-oriented in the same way that I think Iron Maiden was album-oriented in the '80s, where their whole scenery kind of changed with the album cover and it's supposed to feel like eras. I mean if you see a picture of Kiss from '75, '76 or '78, you can see which guitar they had. I assume that's what I was talking about.
Why did you use "B.C." after your name when you've had to do that for legal reasons in the U.S. recently?
The "B.C." is for "Because of Copyright" or "Before Coachella," if you want. No, it's just an amendment. We don't call ourselves that. The name of the is still Ghost. We are still referred to as Ghost. That's what we are. We just put on the B.C. when we need to do that. It's like saying, "Let's go to the 'Jack in the Box, LLC.'" You don't do that.
You recorded your new album in Nashville. Why did you want to record there, and did you have to maintain your anonymity in the studio? Presumably not.
That wasn't really a problem because in Nashville, what we do isn't really known. It is the capital for commercial and religious music. So because we were doing our big sellout record, we definitely needed to go there to fully sell out. Nick [Raskulinecz] lives there, so we needed to be practical. Also the Blackbird Studio we ended up using was very much a good choice, I think. A lot of old gear. Even though the record isn't fully analog, it still has a very analog feel due to the gear that we used.
Continue reading for more from this Nameless Ghoul.