INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Since bursting onto the scene in 2013 with debut album, ‘Ten Thousand Words On’, London punk quintet Ghouls have achieved much, including a succession of critically-acclaimed offerings, gigs, tours and festivals across the UK, US, Europe and Australia, and praise from the likes of Kerrang! and Rock Sound.
What makes these achievements all the more remarkable is that the band have done everything off their own backs.
Currently touring Britain once again, promoting recent single release, ‘Internet Famous’, their frontman, Benedict Goold, spoke to me about the highly-rated five-piece’s origins, influences, songwriting approach, and journey up to now.
How did the band get together?
Ghouls formed when each of the members individually moved to London, and over time, met through various circumstances. Some of us studied together, whilst others met through playing within the London scene – Maz and me met after he answered an advert on Gumtree!
Although a lot of the members have now moved out of London, we still regard it as our home, because it’s where the foundations of the band were built.
How did the name Ghouls come about?
When the band originally formed, we just wanted to get out and play shows as soon as possible, so we never gave the band name much thought.
Ghouls was said by someone at the time; it was unused and nice and easy to remember, so we just went with it, so we could crack on. It doesn’t have a whole lot of meaning behind it.
What would you say was your songwriting approach?
Writing music for us has always been about what comes naturally to the five guys in the room. We’ve never set out to sound a certain way, or fit to a genre.
The songwriting process itself usually starts as acoustic skeleton demos that I do with just a guitar and vocal, we then take that to the rehearsal room, pull it apart, and shape it back together with everyone’s input.
Sometimes, the songs don’t deviate far from the demo, sometimes they’re completely different.
What are the band’s main musical influences?
As individuals, we all have our own influences, and it’s the combination of these that produce the unique sound that we have. Our collective influences are bands who also make their own unique sound: for example, Don Broco and Enter Shikari.
What inspires the band lyrically?
Lyrically, the inspiration comes from life. Band life, particularly touring on the DIY circuit, puts you in some pretty unique experiences that affect your personal and working life – so a lot of what we get up to as a band has a profound influence on the lyrics I write.
In recent years, you’ve all gone from strength to strength, having brought out a succession of acclaimed EPs and albums, as well as getting support from the likes of Kerrang!, Rock Sound, Punktastic, and Frank Turner. Did any of you expect any of this to happen when the band formed?
A lot of what we’ve done as a band has been pretty wild and we’ve found ourselves in situations that you definitely aim for, but when they happen, it sometimes feels hard to believe.
The trouble is, with each success comes the strive for the next thing, and when those successes are better than the last, you can forget how much the previous ones mean.
It’s definitely good to take a step back every now and then, and take it all in.
The band have also played gigs, tours and festivals across the UK, US, Europe and Australia, and supported such outfits as Slaves, Sonic Boom Six, and Roam. How is the experience, for you all, of playing live and touring?
As with almost all bands, it’s the reason we do it. Getting in the studio and creating music is a rewarding experience, and it feels good to create, but the best reward is when those songs take you to places across the world, and you get to hear and see people listening to them.
And you’ve done all of this without any major label support, as you pride yourself on an entirely DIY ethos. Do you think DIY will be the future of the music industry overall?
With the rise in technology, it’s definitely a direction that the industry has now. There’s no longer a need for a big team of people to make things happen, as you can literally do it all by yourself. That said, the DIY scene relies on its incredible support and hard work behind the scenes.
Although you have to work hard as a band and make plenty of sacrifices as individuals, nothing would be possible without the promoters and bookers who take chances on bands they’ve never heard of, the people who let you into their homes for a place to sleep and the people who believe in the bands, who come to see them and listen to their music.
It’s a humble scene that’s full of love and passion.
The band recently released a new single, ‘Internet Famous’. How has the reaction been to that so far?
So far, so good. It’s been going down well live, and it’s been really cool to see such a good reaction. We’re definitely looking forward to getting more new stuff out there in the not too distant future.
You’re currently on a UK tour, and you’re also making another trip to the States later this year. I can imagine this is something you are all very much looking forward to.
Definitely excited. This year in general has been incredible, and we’re set to have an equally good time in its second half. It’s going to be nice to return to a few familiar places, and make some debuts at venues we’ve never been to before.
And finally, will the band be unveiling a new EP or album at some point in 2018?
2018 will definitely have more new music!
GHOULS ARE CURRENTLY ON A UK TOUR, FURTHER DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:
FIND MORE INFO ON THE BAND, AND THEIR RECENT SINGLE, ‘INTERNET FAMOUS’, HERE.