Ghostpoet – Interview
Having released his second album, ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’, last month, Obaro Ejimiwe (aka Ghostpoet) is currently on tour promoting this follow-up to his Mercury nominated debut. Louder Than War’s Alana Turk had a quick chat with Obaro before his gig in Oxford.
Louder Than War: So, your new album, ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ was released last month. How has the response been to it so far?
Ghostpoet: Very good. Not too bad at all. The reviews have been nice so I can’t complain. People are liking it.
Louder Than War: How does it differ from your first album, ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’?
Ghostpoet: I’m older. I’m another person as a whole – musically, lyrically and the general representation of me, now, as a person. That’s it really.
Louder Than War: On this album you’ve worked with a few different artists, such as Lucy Rose, Woodpecker Wooliams and Charles Hayward. Did you have a list of specific people you wanted to collaborate with?
Ghostpoet: Not really, no. I chose people that I felt were right for the tracks I was trying to make, in terms of potential vocalists for choruses and musicians for the musical parts. It was very much about making sure that they fitted what I wanted to do creatively. So it was a mixture of people that I knew and people that I admired a lot.
Louder Than War: Did you give them particular roles or did you simply point them in a general direction and let them run with it?
Ghostpoet: It depends really. With the vocalists it was very much just them taking on board for what I’d already written and, I guess, making it their own vocally. And musically it was about… not really pointing them in a particular direction saying exactly what to do, but it was very much a case of following along the vibe of the demos that I had already created and just helping to develop the music I was trying to create, you know?
Louder Than War: The album title ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ is a bit of a tongue twister. Where did it come from and is it meant to be a tricky phrase to get your head around?
Ghostpoet: Erm… No, it’s not meant to be a tricky phrase. [Laughs] I didn’t really think about it! Only people interviewing me have said it’s a tricky phrase to get your head around. For me it’s… I guess if anything, a reminder to myself in a sense of, if I feel that the title is ‘Some Say I’, then some say I should go down a particular route or follow a particular path. So then instead of me saying ‘I’, I Say ‘Light’. So, I say ‘Light’, which would be for my own particular pathway. And that’s the title really… That’s it!
Louder Than War: How do you go about writing your songs? Does the music come first or the lyrics?
Ghostpoet: It’s always the music first and then in terms of the lyrics, I try to work out what the music is saying to me for me to write and what general direction. I then try and get something down, be that a chorus or a verse. And then it’s a case of going back and forth between the two, changing it up until it comes to a happy point that I think works.
Louder Than War: You’re currently on tour in the UK. How’s it going so far?
Ghostpoet: Yeah, so far so good. We’re in Oxford tonight and then it’s Suffolk. Yeah I’m looking forward to it. It’s been really great playing in the UK again, being on tour again. Yeah, I’m enjoying it!
Louder Than War: How does it compare to the European tour that you’ve just completed?
Ghostpoet: Different countries… [Laughs] Yeah, different countries – that’s really it! Everyone’s ways and means are all the same. There’s different languages and different ways of taking in music, but it’s all the same. Luckily people have been enjoying themselves – and that’s all that counts to me.
Louder Than War: How does the live show compare to the sound of the record? Can it sometimes prove to be quite challenging to recreate the sounds?
Ghostpoet: It’s been quite interesting just putting it together. I guess it’s more… It’s a different thing really, in a sense of… there’s a lot of experimentation and it’s about creating a different experience from the album-listening experience. That’s what I’m trying to do and what I try to achieve.
Louder Than War: What is your favourite track to play live?
Ghostpoet: Erm… I love playing them all. Yeah, I just love playing them all because I made them all.
Louder Than War: Finally, what do you have planned for the rest of the year? Can we expect to see you at any festivals over the summer?
Ghostpoet: Yeah, there will be a few festivals – Bestival, Isle of Wight Festival, Wilderness Festival and other stuff. There’s lots of Ghostpoet stuff, but other stuff I want to do as well. But yeah, I’m looking forward to that!
Words by Alana Turk. More writing by Alana on Louder Than War can be found here.