Don't Panic Records Interview with John Olivier of Ghost Bath

Danny Brawlins - March 8, 2017

Ghost Bath

After releasing their critically acclaimed second album, Moonlover, Ghost Bath has been nothing but busy. In 2016 alone, the band signed with Nuclear Blast, started touring, and recorded a new album. 2017 is shaping up to be a big year for the band as well. Just last week they released “Thrones,” the first single from their upcoming album, Starmourner, which the band will be touring on in the coming months. I managed to track down guitarist, John Olivier, for a brief email interview ahead of their DeKalb show at the House Café this Friday because 1) we love the House Café and 2) Moonlover came in third place on Don’t Panic Records & Distro’s list of top ten Black Metal albums of 2015.

How has touring been? What do you like most about it, what do you like least? Any towns stand out as your favorites so far?

This tour has been incredible so far. We all just really enjoy being on the road, away from the normal "comforts" of life at home. Some of the drives on this run have been pretty long, but all in all this tour has been nothing but good things. It’s hard to pick a favorite city, every place is so different, but I think my favorite venue so far was in Madison, WI.

Have you developed any tour rituals over the past few months? I for one like to find a good dive bar and record store in every city I visit.

We all typically do our own thing, but me personally, I like to drink some whiskey and smoke weed before we play. Not a copious amount by any means, just enough to clear my mind.

How has your music transferred from a studio project to a live act?

Nameless wrote all of the material for this record [Moonlover] before the rest of us were really a part of it, but we all trust each other’s abilities so there was definitely a lot of adaptation from the demos to the final versions. Taking the early music into a live setting was lots of give and take to how things would actually be played out, but once we figured out how we wanted things to sound live, it all fell into place relatively easily.

What played into the decision to re-release Moonlover on Nuclear Blast? What were your feelings from having complete anonymity to signing with one of the biggest labels in metal, touring, and getting in the public eye?

Nuclear Blast is more of a business partner, they don’t interfere with our motives or the way the band presents itself. They handle the traditional roles of a record label and we maintain control of the image and direction for the band. It’s a respectful relationship.

You just released the first single, "Thrones," from your upcoming album, Starmourner. How has your writing and recording process changed with this album compared to your previous work?

The record was written soon after the release of Moonlover. There was slightly more involvement with the other members of the band this time around so that is one difference. Overall the process was very similar.

What influences your music? Both black metal or otherwise.

We all have very diverse tastes in music, from Gorgoroth and Dark Funeral to Van Halen and Queens of the Stone Age. Some influences are probably more visible than others we all listen a wide spectrum of music.

I caught you guys in Chicago this past fall and you played a good balance from both Moonlover and Funeral. Although this is an extension of that tour, can we expect to hear some new material in your set?

Yeah we're playing 2 new songs from Starmourner on this tour. “Thrones” as well as another unreleased track.

Any new bands you're excited about?

Heretoir from Germany. Great guys who are making some great, dynamic music. Amigo The Devil is on the road with us right now and he's been killing it every single night. Also Astronoid from Boston. We played with them last fall and are hitting the road with them in April. Really been digging on their most recent release.

Be sure to catch Ghost Bath this Friday at the House Café with Amigo the Devil, Disrotted, Blunt, and Something Is Waiting. The show is all ages, tickets are $12 in advance and $14 at the door.