Following the premiere stream of their new single ‘Let It Go’, Ghost Cult caught up over email with the artist known as From This World over email for a Q & A interview to learn more about this project and the motivation behind the music. Armed with an inventive, excellent new album Variations on a Dream our dialogue covers the artist’s self-described “New Classic Rock”, influences, the personal nature of the music and much more!
Please describe “New Classic Rock”:
I grew up listening to classic rock, and though this album is all new original tracks, it feels to me like it would fit in the classic rock genre if that somehow included new releases.
Variations on a Dream has a ton of layers in the songwriting. What would you say your primary influences are?
Thanks- that is a compliment to me because there are layers in there. I would have a hard time telling you what my primary influences are. I have been influenced either positively or negatively by everything I have ever listened to, and I would be difficult to pin down the main ones. I feel like others the listen might even have a better idea of where my(our) inspiration comes from. I had a big Zeppelin phase when I was in high school, and then I was hooked on U2 for a while. But I also had periods where I listened to nothing but jazz – Miles Davis, Coltrane, Chet Baker, Django Reinhardt and another that was all (roots) Reggae…BMW, Steel Pulse, Burning Spear… later I really got into Funk like James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, The Funky Meters… I loved Steely Dan and The Allman Brothers. The Steve Miller Band. I liked AC/DC. At another time I had an “all Hendrix” phase. I loved Clapton, I was into The Clash for a while, and got into Ska and some Punk and Once (on the day of his death) I discovered a Nigerian musician/activist named Fela Kuti and listened to nothing but his music for several weeks. Later in my life I had a period where I listened to nothing but Black Sabbath for several years. I could also happily get lost in a Nick Drake or Jose Gonzales album. I still love all of it, and I always love finding new bands that I like too. I have always just jumped around getting totally immersed in whatever I was into at the moment. I like to listen to anything that moves me one way or another and I feel the same way about playing music as I do about listening to it- if it doesn’t move me I’m not really interested.
A lot of the music seems very grounded in modernism: from classic to classic rock to alternative. Is there a period of musical history that speaks to you the most?
These are likely the periods/genres that influenced me the most. But I have a love of many other genres of music from Classical to Metal as well. As far as a time period, I don’t know really. I do love some of those Big Band era tunes.
There is a cinematic quality to some of the songs. Are you also influenced by movie scores?
Yes, and thanks again- I’m flattered. Movies without moving/emotional scores are like food without seasoning. A movie may look great, but if it doesn’t have some moving music in the right places it loses some of its impact… again it’s about evoking emotion or taking the listener on a journey. Writing, cinematography, and scores create some of the most touching things we ever experience.
Lyrically, the songs seem like a collection of very personal stories. Is there an overall concept to the album?
That’s great to hear- that is exactly what they are and I’m so pleased to hear that it comes through. I’ve been writing songs for years, and they all come from how I was feeling at a certain time. These songs are each an expression of where I was at some point in my life (when I wrote them), and these eight tracks (there are others) seemed to fit together well.
When you begin composing music, is there a primary instrument that you are drawn to?
I can be inspired to play/by playing almost any instrument, but guitar is my original instrument… unless you want to go back to school band- I played the trumpet! All the tracks on Variations On A Dream started out as guitar riffs that were good enough to keep on playing and developing. Actually, I just remembered that I played the keyboard early on too… my mom got a Wurlitzer Organ to play and I loved setting it to play a beat and trying to play along and trying to pick out songs from movies and things.
When a listener discovers Variations on a Dream, what do you hope they come away from the experience with?
I want them to feel that they’ve gone somewhere with us and experienced something new. Like they were captivated and it was easy to just let the whole album play through to the end… and then say “Holy shit! Who was that? Do they have another album?” “let’s listen to it again!”
Purchase and stream From This World now: