Ghostfire is an on their way up British band who've taken up the banner of "steampunk".
As they like to say: "The music of Ghostfire resonates to the debauched decadence and absinthe-fuelled anarchy of life in the Eighties...
No less a luminary than Mick Mercer has described them thus: "Pulsating songs and an indication of real talent!"
Ghostire's lead singer Steven took some time go answer our inquiries...
Sepiachord: You've gotten a lot of good press for a band that's been around for just over a year. What seemed to get the attention ball rolling?
Ghostfire/Steven: Mostly due to Andii. She’s wrote the songs and most of the lyrics so far, though the rest of us are good at colouring in. But it was beneficial having Mick Mercer take the time to listen and review us. After that came out it began to turn a lot of ears our way, which were suitably pierced… Or sliced off.
Essentially though, we’ve worked damned hard to make sure we have a good output of well structured and tuneful songs within the beating heart of the maelstrom.
SC: You've enthusiastically embraced the term "steampunk" for your sound. What does steampunk mean to you? What elements of your sound are steam and what are punk?
GF: Initially we were doing what we do and the term found us. Though many of our songs have themes which relate to the darker, more decadent side of Victorian life, accompanied by the ever present shadow of death that walks amongst us all; with some it walks beside them. We appear to be in a much more decadent period again… just without the style. There’s no real romance - if there ever was - of the blade in these times. I suppose the ‘punk’ element (in the hope of giving the word some meaning again), would be an attempt to put back some warmth, colour and passion into and increasingly cold and sanitised world… Less disposable.
SC: What artists do you consider as influences?
GF: There are enough musical diversions individually to cause a band fist fight! But somehow they all work together, which is lucky… and less painful! There are some obvious ones -Tom Waits and Nick Cave for example – but lots of others that all slither along in there somehow. It’ll be interesting to see what people pick up on. We’ve already had a few comparisons to Gogol Bordello when we didn’t even realise it ourselves!
SC: There aren't that many bands calling themselves steampunk, who do you consider as contemporaries?
GF: It’s an emerging scene and interesting due to the obvious differences in sound from say Abney Park, Vernian Process and Ghostfire. Various interpretations of what Steampunk actually is are appearing out of the mists. It’s an exciting time, who knows where it will end up or evolve into.
SC: You have a show coming up on April 25th with Abney Park, Thomas Truax and Joe Black. Who are you most eager to see perform?
GF: It might be a cliché to say all of them, but it’s true. Especially Abney Park as we admire their work and have heard a lot about them. We always look forward to live gigs but this is something special, having never played with any of the bands before and knowing that we have something in common with each other. We’ll feel less alone in what we do.
SC: You've put out a fine EP, "Drunk Lullabies". Do you see this recording primarily as a demo? How long before your audience can expect a full length?
GF: It was only expected to be a demo primarily, but appears to have taken on a life of its own, and we’ve been encouraged by how well it’s been received. Things have steamed (cringe when you like but I’m saying it!!), ahead pretty fast for us in a relatively short amount of time. It was recorded before we’d played live so it’s fascinating to see how far we’ve come since then. We’re aiming to birth an album in around twelve months time, if any of us survive the war of which songs to put on it. I personally find it gets harder the more songs we write, as there’s so much of our souls in each one.
SC: You hail from London, do you see a growing interest in steampunk and neo-victorian style in the city?
GF: It would certainly benefit from it. You can see some of the styles echoing, as if London pines for buildings that were destroyed in the blitz. I don’t think London has ever managed to fill the holes that were left. More than the buildings disappeared during that time. The ‘modernisation’ of genuine Victorian pubs in the 1980s managed to produce the sterile ‘clinics’ we have now.
SC: You’ve taken a stand against "pay to play" shows. This has been a problem here in the US for some time, is this a recent phenomenon in the UK?
GF: This particular disease was rife in the early 1990s, but the virus is still there and manifests into another forms. It needs to be stamped out (again), before it does any more damage! The danger is that there are a lot of bands who think the only way for people to hear them play is to pay a lazy ‘promoter’ for the privilege. Our advice would be just stick to your guns – if the music is good enough and you believe in it you’ll find a way to get it heard. We support anything that takes power away from the people who support this kind of robbery, and parts of the music industry run by people with no love or care for music other than as a money making venture… The first against the wall!
SC: Do you plan on incorporating more theatrical elements into your show, or will the focus always remain on the band playing tight and kicking ass?
GF: Our live show is intense and we give it everything that we’ve got, every time. To have anything too theatrical would detract from what we are. We give 100 percent passion and energy whenever we play. It should always be like you’re playing your last gig. Who truly knows when that will be?
SC: If Ghostfire could compose a soundtrack what would it be for?
GF: It’s been mentioned that we have elements of Ennio Morricone in our sound, which is a welcome compliment. I think we could write a unique composition for a Victorian porn film! But then again… We’re lovers (end the porn pun now!) of film so it would be an amazing experience to see what we could come up with. Music is such an essential part of film and the chance to texture someone’s art with our music would be an intimate journey.
SC: What next for the band? World domination tours? Signing with a label? Snappy new outfits?
GF: We’re still huddled over the maps and working on a master plan involving elephants, absinthe and burlesque. When the right label comes along we’ll sign with them, or release the hounds. As for the outfits – I could do with one where I don’t sweat as much. It’s a very moist affair usually.
SC: Thank you for your time, do you have any words of wisdom for the readers?
GF: When you have a cold, never put your head over boiling oil.