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Interview: Ghost Fame

Interview by Bella Boutiette

Ghost Fame is a melodic hardcore band from Lowell, MA. The band consists of Chris Ward (vocals), Olin May (guitar), Christian Koomey (drums), Dominic Scalera (bass) and Andrew Castillo (vocals and guitar). They put out their first EP at the beginning of the year and recently announced signing to Patient Zero Records.

How did you guys get your band name?

Chris: There’s a band called Letlive that has a song called “Banshee (Ghost Fame)” and what the song is about just resonated deeply with us. The song is basically about rejecting the idea of having to choke on your pride in order to make it. Mainly just staying genuine with everything you do in life.

Who are some of you biggest influences/inspirations?

Olin: The Carrier, Misery Signals, Defeater, Crafter and Counterparts.

Chris: For me personally it’s Crafter, Killing the Dream, Defeater, Letlive, The Devil Wears Prada, Norma Jean and Verse.

Dom: Musically for me it would be Bane, American Nightmare, Have Heart and Pavement.

Andrew: For me, music wise Green Day is what inspired me to first pick up guitar. But in general my grandfather. He was always my biggest inspiration and always pushed me to go for my dreams, so every set I play is for him.

Christian: Foo Fighters were my first favorite rock band and Dave Grohl is still my main inspiration for my drumming style. I love how hard he hits and he still is able to play the groove for what the song calls for. Other inspirations musically would be anyone from Killswitch Engage, Death, Harms Way and Counterparts.

What is your favorite moment of your career thus far?

Andrew: As of now, probably opening for Bayside. It’s still unreal to me that we played to as many people as we did that night.

Chris: For me it was honestly playing this show in VT. It was our friends booking company’s first show. A benefit show for suicide prevention. One local band played, then us, and four of our friends bands played. It was just a night for a good cause and I just had the greatest time hanging out with my friends in Hallowell, Kingpin, and the rapper Bitter Bones throwing down all night. I also got knocked out, was bleeding everywhere and it was just the best time I’ve ever had at a show. The booking company is called Superstition Booking.

Olin: I’d also have to say Bayside. Playing a venue like The Sinclair and opening for a band like Bayside is such an honor. I’d say that or playing The Palladium with In Good Nature. That’s where I grew up going to shows and seeing my favorite bands so it made be really happy to be on that stage.

Dom: I’d say the first show we played at a DIY space in Lowell. I love shows in spaces like that because it’s such a unique experience and because of just how much hectic fun it can be. Or playing Vermont, it was great to play a bill with friends from Mass and Maine, and driving with Chris was just a great bonding experience.

Chris: Best part about that ride was me having a full cognitive shut down in a Starbucks.

Dom: That was hilarious

Christian: I’m also going to say the Bayside show. It was incredibly cool to be able to play on a stage like that size and playing to hundreds of people was amazing. Other than that, I loved playing our record release show this past summer in Lowell.

Andrew: Palladium is up there for me as well. It is my favorite venue to attend shows and In Good Nature’s drummer, Jericho Grillo, is one of my best friends and it was bittersweet getting to play my favorite venue with him.

Olin: Also every show with Kingpin is a doozy. Those guys are our brothers. Mill city x Shoe city.

Chris: I’ll die for those kids.

Christian: We always have a great time playing shows with Kingpin.

Chris: They honestly are kinda reinventing heavy music from NE. No one sounds like them.

Olin: We’ve probably played more shows with them than anyone else.

If you could tour with any band who would it be?

Olin: Avenged Sevenfold. Sorry I had to say that, I’ll give a realistic answer. I’d love to do a tour with Robinwood. They are one of my favorite local bands and they are full of the best guys. Besides, I would love to watch them every night. That or if The Carrier decided to play again and did a tour.

Chris: For me there’s two bands. I’d want to tour with The Devil Wears Prada because of the little metalcore kid inside of me. The other band would be Crafter. We became really close to those guys and they really mentored us. Also I saw them play back in 2016 and they truly are the only reason I ever wanted to play in this style of music. Their music spoke to me on every level, which is hard to do since I’m very selective in the music I listen to. They recently broke up, so sadly that’s a dream that will never come true.

Dom: I’d want to tour with Kingpin, if we’re talking things within our realm of music just because I know our energies play together well. Every single time we play a show with them it seems like our presence is through the roof. They’d also just be fun to hang with when we’re not playing. If it’s a band outside of the realm of possibility I’d say The Descendents. Or 156/Silence, their last album is really sick and I’d love to hear it live every night.

Andrew: I would love to tour with In Good Nature. They are the boys and I would love to spend every night watching them. Hallowell as well.

Christian: I would love to tour with Great American Ghost. They have been one of my favorite bands from MA for a long time and they have never disappointed me whenever I would see them live.

What’s your favorite song to perform?

Dom: One of our unreleased songs. The outro is so much fun to play.

Chris: Mine is “Manipulate” because I guess that’s our hit, but that’s the song that people really love. It’s amazing seeing people lose their shit and take the mic to close out the song with a pile up. That’s the shit that reminds me why I do this.

Andrew: Mine is “Stay.” I believe that song captures our sound as a whole the best and to me it is the most energetic song in our set The outro of the song is where I really put all my energy and emotion into playing.

Christian: For me it would probably be “Home.” I really love how hard the breakdown hits and I can let out all my aggression and energy into that moment.

Olin: Manipulate is my favorite because the message of the song means a lot to me. It’s also the last song of the set, so I know that when we play it I have to give it my all. It’s got a lot of energy and watching people pile up or take the mic at the end of the song makes me really happy. Whenever Chris does his speech and we ring out feedback I get really pumped.

Chris: I forget how much I talk during our sets.

Olin: Your speech is my favorite song to play. Also the new material we’ve been playing live that’s unreleased is a lot of fun.

What’s your dream place to play a show?

Olin: I want to play the west coast, CA specifically.

Christian: CA would be sick to play. I’ve always wanted to play Chain Reaction.

Chris: I want to play in Germany. I always heard about how well Defeater did out there and I want to show love to the country that gave so much love to my favorite band.

Olin: As a band it’d be my dream to make it out there. As Koom (Christian) said Chain Reaction would be awesome.

Andrew: All I want to do is play new places, but I would love to play Chain Reaction in CA and Voltage Lounge in Philly.

Dom: I want to play Japan. I’ve heard there’s a lot of cool skate spots. Japan has a relatively active scene with Triple B doing a lot of stuff there. I’d love to get to Voltage Lounge as well.

Olin: Also a European tour would be the dream because of how hardcore is recieved over there. In Europe people are more die hard and it’s less trendy than in the states.

Chris: They don’t give a fuck over there. They just want to hear heavy music no matter what breed. No trends, no gimmicks, just the love for the music and community.

Olin: From videos and photos I’ve seen they don’t have the horseshoe effect at shows.

Chris: Fuck a horseshoe.

Olin: That’s something that I hope we can get rid of in 2020.

Chris: That shit is so dumb. We are the sing along band and people are still afraid to step forward.

Credit: Billy Mulligan

Do you guys find that there are any hardships with being in a band?

Dom: School makes things a little difficult. It sucks up money I could use on gear and it makes dividing my time up a lot harder.

Olin: I think one of the biggest hardships is balancing band life and real life. For me, since I write the music, book the shows and handle a lot of the business, I have a hard time making time for school or other adult responsibilities. I’m very invested in this band so sometimes I forget to make time for myself.

Chris: I think the biggest hurdle for us was just being accepted. We aren’t a tough guy band. We write emotive songs and with Knocked Loose blowing up around this time people just wanted to hear heavy music. We aren’t heavy. We use clean channels and sing. I’m grateful for the people who have been with us since day one, but when we first started there wasn’t a whole lot of love at shows. We were the “smoke break band.” We really had to fight for people’s approval and acceptance for a bit.

Olin: Definitely what Chris said. The first year of us being a band was pretty rough trying to find our place and it wore me out a lot emotionally. I’m really thankful that people stuck with us since the beginning and continue to support us. Without the support of those people we wouldn’t be where we are now.

Andrew: Gonna have to say the same. I haven’t been around since the very start of Ghost Fame, as I joined in February, but I still saw a little bit of what Chris and Olin have touched on.

Chris: Not to be bitter, but if it didn’t have chromatic breakdowns and panic chords people didn’t want to hear it.

Olin: Yeah, I remember getting some funny looks from people at some of our early shows.

Chris: And they’d leave hence the term “smoke break band.”

Olin: It gave us thicker skin and honestly, for me, people like that are my motivation to do better in life.

Chris: It’s whatever. It’s what we signed up for. We just had to find ways to make it work and we found really close friends of ours in similar genres and we all just hype each other up.

Christian: I too am going to have to say the same. I’ve actually known Olin and Chris since I was 16. We’ve been in several different bands together, so it definitely took us a long time to find our spot and sound. With all the hard work that we have done, the effort we put into writing the best songs and trying to make our shows killer, it’s been an incredible ride.

Dom: It’s also just part of being a newer band. I feel like a lot of people leave shows when the new people take the stage.

Chris: That’s also part of it. We just had even more people leaving during our set.

Dom: I think that attitude is silly because how else do you find new music.

Olin: I think now it’s finally caught on that we are the band we are.

How do you guys feel 2019 went for the band?

Chris: Fucking great. Did some cool shit and we did it with our friends every step of the way.

Christian: Amazing.

Olin: Honestly it exceeded my expectations. We put out a record and got to play some wild shows with our friends. It was everything we could have asked for and more.

Andrew: Incredible. More than I ever expected to accomplish, with Ghost fame being my first band and not having been playing live for a whole year yet.

Dom: It went pretty great and I feel like things can only go up.

Olin: I’m very thankful for how this year has been to us and hopefully in 2020 we can continue to do the same.

Christian: The big thing was getting to play shows in new places and getting to play some favorites as well.

Olin: Also I had some pretty low moments this year in my own life, so the fact that I got to play shows with these guys and share an experience of some sort helped me through a lot of my bullshit.

Dom: It was sad to see the bungalow go in 2019 though.

Andrew: Yes it was, always loved going there and playing there too.

Olin: Yes, RIP Bungalow. That was my favorite venue and it shaped who we are as a band. We met so many friends there that we will have forever.

Chris: That and 3065, more so for just Koom, Olin and I.

What are some goals you have for the band going into 2020?

Olin: I think for most of us getting out on tour and playing outside of NE is the biggest one. Also perhaps some new music.

Chris: Make new music that’s kinda different for us, get more creative with ourselves and just get to new places with our friends.

Dom: I just want to get some new music out and play shows outside of NE, see where it takes us and bring some friends along.

Christian: Creating new material and touring.

Andrew: Next year I would like to tour, but regardless, I just want to play and see as many new places as we can.

If there was one message you could reach all of your fans with what would it be?

Andrew: I just hope that the music we make resonates with anyone in someway. I want to connect with our audience as best as we can.

Chris: At its very core, even if it seems cheesy, it’s okay to not be okay and to treat everyone with respect. Treat everyone as your equal. Everyone has mental health problems so we should all show compassion to each other. There’s already enough hardships and evil in the world. There’s no need to add to it.

Dom: I would tell them to stand by their friends who matter, stand up for what’s right and support local music and art at all costs.

Olin: For one, thank you for supporting us and allowing our band to be apart of your lives. There’s so much music out there and better bands, so the fact that anyone cares in the slightest makes me really grateful to be here. I wrote these songs during a difficult time in my life and the fact that they mean something to someone I could never take for granted. There’s a lot of terrible things in the world and music is one thing we have that can inspire some sort of change. Keep listening to music, supporting your scene and stick with your friends. Also be a good person and don’t hurt the ones you love.

Christian: I would tell them to stick to their guns and to always follow their true authentic self. Have good relationships with people, especially the people that you love. Also, have goals and directions that you would like to pursue in your lifetime.

Follow Ghost Fame on their social media:

Facebook: @GhostFameMA

Twitter: @GhostFameMA

Instagram: @GhostFameMA

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