After the tragic death of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool’s frontman Charles Haddon after the band’s Pukkelpop slot in 2010, the remaining members formed The Ghosts and released debut album The End last month. The London band chatted to Wonderland about the triumphant new formation.
Describe your music in five words.
Analogue, digital, dark, experimental, fairytale.
How and when did the band form?
Myself and Ian were introduced to each other by mutual friend Jon Brookes of The Charlatans. I got a call from Jon saying that this amazing drummer friend of his wanted to make an album, that he had studied jazz in New York and was one of the best drummers he had known. He was looking for a songwriter Jon wanted to recommend me. I was obviously flattered and intrigued so I met up with Ian and that was that. We were into similar music and went forward with a plan to make an album together. Dan and Alex Sharman were friends of mine who I got in to help and we met Rayna while recording strings. She played violin and viola on the album but we knew she played keys too so we asked her to join after the session. It all happened pretty quickly.
Why did you decide to end Ou Est Le Swimming Pool?
There was no question of continuing without Charlie. Ou Est Le Swimming Pool was Charlie Haddon.
Why are you called The Ghosts?
I think it was the second time myself and Ian met. A friend of Ian’s asked what we were going to call ourselves. She said it has to be a the… name. I said all the good ones are taken to which she replied “what about The Ghosts?” Surprisingly (because I hate picking band names) we all liked it. The reason we kept it though was because it had a deeper meaning for Ian. He’d recently experienced the loss of both of his parents in quick succession and the break up of a long term relationship. The name seemed to represent these personal experiences.
Have you had any supernatural experiences?
Ian: I must say that I am not one who is big into the supernatural although the experiences of the last couple of years have certainly made me a spiritual person.
Alex Starling: My family are Irish. My mum lives on a farm in the middle of nowhere in Ireland and there are lots of tales you hear as a kid about supernatural experiences. My uncles and family friends would spook you so much you’d think you’d had a few supernatural experiences but I’m not so sure I have or at least I’ve forgotten, thankfully. Alex Sharman (keyboards) mom is a psychic medium and he once had a vivid dream about someone he knew dying. The person died in a freak accident the following week at work. His mum also predicts his girlfriends for him which is nice.
Your album is called The End this sounds quite final – is this a reference to death?
It’s difficult to know how an album is going to turn out, but we wanted it to be almost fairytale like with lots of colour and experimentation. The End was a reference to that really not to death but it does also represent a line under all that period of loss and a new start.
What’s with all the morbidity?
We’re not morbid. These things that happened to us are not self inflicted and we don’t feel sorry for ourselves. This album represents a positive way to move on.
The End is out now.