Interview with Ghost Daddy

Interview as recorded on 15/09/2013
Disclaimer: The members of Ghost Daddy can be very sarcastic which cannot be adequately made clear in transcription.

Altearoa:GhostDaddy

How would you define Ghost Daddy’s music?

Andre:
Yea, I dunno, I reckon its leaning towards the industrial side of things.

Amy:
I reckon alternative rock, alt hard-rock, I guess.

Mykel:
Yea I’d swing toward alt-rock, as a base anyway; we put our own twist on it.

Amy:
Alt-rock used to be something a lot different than what it is now so that’s why it’s hard to say alt-rock because alt-rock has become kind of mainstream, hipster rock now.

Altearoa:
How did you guys get started?

Andre:
It was me and Amy in high school.

Amy:
Yea, we started a high school band together and it’s kind of been me and him working together since then. Just getting a few more members and getting a band together. We haven’t always been this band, but we’ve been in other bands together, so we’ve just wound up here after a few re-incarnations.

Andre:
Little boys, dreaming at high school.

Amy:
We weren’t Ghost Daddy at high school or anything like that. We started playing music in high school then just got into bands and stuff. It just kind of organically ended up here, people leave and stuff; you change the name, change the music and things.

Andre:
Really at the core it’s always been Ghost Daddy.

Amy:
Yea, just called different things, I guess. We’ve only been together as this band for like a year, two years.

Altearoa:
Where did you guys get the name?

Andre:
That’s kind of a silly story really. Because we were original called Machina and we noticed that there were a lot of American bands and one American band that was getting bigger.

Amy:
The Evanescence guitarist started up a band called Machina, so we were like fuck that.

gdmugAndre:
So me and Amy wanted to change the name but we couldn’t think of anything. So we just started throwing words at each other, whenever we saw each other.

Amy:
Yea just sort of random shit and we came up with that and thought it was pretty funny.

Andre:
So every time we’d see each other it be would be sort of like; ghost! Mutt! Friend! Dog! Just string two words together.

Mykel:
Whenever I get asked I just say “I’ve got no fucking idea”

Andre:
So we spent a good week every time we saw each other, we work together too, every time we saw each other we’d just throw words at each other.

Amy:
We just had a shit idea, to put another word with another word.

Jesika:
To be complete fair, that’s a process that we as a unit go through quite frequently. That’s how Jailbate Kate was named Jailbate Kate.

Amy:
We just sit here and throw out sweet words, which are only kind of related to the song.

Andre:
What’s our national tour going to be called? And we all just spit what comes out.

Amy:
If we like it and we can attach some meaning too it, ultimately it just comes out of a random fucking around with words, but you pick something because you can attach meaning to it and stuff like that. It’s a funny name, but it’s kind of a bit, bad arse ish as well I guess. A lot of people pick up that it could be a mockery of Christ kind of thing but whatever you think. So yea, just kind of popped out and we liked it, thought it was funny and kept with it so it stuck. And it was something that, there were no other bands called it, so it was a good name, otherwise you have to be Ghost Daddy NZ and shit like that.

Andre:
Who would be stupid enough to call a band Ghost Daddy, I’d say we’re the only ones.

Altearoa:
How long have you guys been playing your instruments?

Andre:
When I was a little boy, in my bedroom, getting busted by my mumma, jumping up and down in my bedroom screaming to whatever music I was listening too, Robert Palmer, using a hairbrush or something as a microphone. (Laughs) Looking in the mirror pretending I was a rockstar.

Amy:
I used to do that with The Lion King soundtrack. (Laughs)

Andre:
So yea, when I was a boy in my bedroom and I used to get busted by my mother, when she came into my room and caught me half posing and jumping around. “Go do the dishes… oh my good what are you doing?” So yea since I was a kid I guess.

Amy:
I started playing guitar in the year 2000 I think, so like 13 years, when I started highschool pretty much.

Mykel:
Yea same, like since highschool, I think I took music class to get of maths or something. I think I took guitar but I was really shit at it so… bass (Laughs)

Amy:
I always, for as long as I can remember, wanted to be a guitarist in a rock band. I just wasn’t able to get a guitar or any lessons till I was 13.

Andre:
Just heard your first Limp Bizkit track and thought this is it. (Laughs)

Amy:gdamy
Yep, yep.

Mykel:
Nah that’s not true.

Andre:
It is for me. (Laughs) I love those guys.

Amy:
Yea, I’m down with the bizkit.

Altearoa:
What advice would you give to people starting out?

Amy:
Don’t.

Mykel:
Don’t.

Andre:
Yea, don’t.

Mykel:
Stay in school.

Andre:
Work in a bank, wear a suit.

Amy:
Just don’t worry about it. Yea I don’t know, I don’t know if I’d give anyone any advice.

Mykel:
Just get into and get amongst it.

Amy:
Just figure out what you want to be as a band and just go with it. Put an idea together, if you don’t have a reason for doing stuff, don’t do it. Unless you’re just playing, hanging around with your friends playing music, but that’s not really a career band.

Andre:
Work with friends.

Amy:
Do what you want to do.

Andre:
Do what you want to do no matter what.

Mykel:
Chase the dream. I remember the very first band I was in, we’d been together about two weeks we had four songs and we were gigging within a month. We were shit, you know, but you just did it.

Amy:
Yea that’s the other advice, write good music, just write good music. People listen to good music all the time, so it’s not hard to see what good music sounds like and if it doesn’t sound like that then change it.

Andre:
If its shit, make it better. (Laughs)

Amy:
Write good music and if its shit, change it.

Mykel:
Don’t be Maroon 5.

Altearoa:
So what are some of the influences behind Ghost Daddy?

Amy:
Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson; Rammstein is a big one me.

Mykel:
Nine Inch Nails for me. I mean I listen to so many different types of music that to list them would take me half an hour.

Amy:
Ash is very influenced by hip hop, the drummer, so that comes through quite a bit in what he plays.

Andre:
Stompy, beat orientated.

Mykel:
Yea I’ve always swung toward desert rock and sludge metal, stuff like that.

Amy:
Just sort of anything that came out of the 90’s pretty much. Even 90’s pop, 90’s pop was great.

Mykel:
Yea I really like Justin Timberlake, I think he’s quite talented.

Andre:
I reckon One Direction comes through a lot.

Amy:
Yea but they don’t really influence us musically, we just like them a lot, (Laughs) we don’t really try to sound like them or anything.

Andre:
I dunno, I try to sing like Harry Styles sometimes, it doesn’t work out but you know I try.

Mykel:
You look heaps like him.

Andre:
Yea I get told that a lot, I think is my luscious hair, my luscious locks. (Laughs)

Altearoa:gdgig
What do you guys think of your fan progression?

Andre:
It’s getting hot.

Amy:
Yea it’s good, because a year or so ago we had like double digits in likes and stuff like that and its gone up so far since then. Generally we have pretty good feedback from people, except for the stuff about the video (Jailbait Kate), but they weren’t fans anyway.

Andre:
I think it’s like playing a show and seeing a certain face in the crowd and seeing the same face every time you play a show.

Mykel:
I think our fans are best in person.

Amy:
It is really cool, it feels really nice to have people that like you, and come up to you and tell you that your music is good and things like that. People see our photo’s uploaded on facebook and things like that and say “hey man” and it’s a bit of a “Hey do I know you?”

Mykel:
We set out to play music that we really liked to play and stuff like that. So its always nice when other people get it and like the same sort of thing.

Amy:
We’re not very serious either; I hope fans know, we take out music seriously but…

Andre:
We take things lightly as well.

Amy:
We like to have a bit of fun, shake things up a bit, do something different. Just whatever.

Mykel:
Laugh at ourselves. And I’ve noticed it, especially in the Christchurch scene, the musicians and bands in Christchurch do take themselves very very seriously and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. It’s really important to them to perform really really well, but we wanted to be a bit more unique I guess and took a different approach to it.

Andre:
I guess it’s just our personalities combined and they can see the light side of it and laugh with us.

Amy:
It is silly too, just silly overtones to it.

Altearoa:
What has helped you take Ghost Daddy so far?

Andre:
I guess we found the right people finally.

Amy:
And having good songs helps. Having Jess come on board was a real big help too. As a band you can write music and stuff together but to do that and then have to ring up venues and organise stuff, it’s not very fun. I think that’s we’re bands get stuck a lot of the time because they get sick of doing that side of it, so it’s really important we got a manager who covers that side of things so we don’t have to worry about it now.

Mykel:
Imagine how hard it is for her, to look after, us five retards.

Jesika:
You guys are a fucking riot. People ask me how I do it, but I enjoy it, but I consider myself like Wendy sometimes and you guys are my lost boys. Some kind of matriarchal figurehead.

Andre:
Mumma, mumma Jess.

Mykel:
We don’t want to upset mumma.

Jesika:
I mean at the end of the day I do a lot more than you guys realise because it’s so behind the scenes and that’s part of the role of being a manager. You guys just worry about music and writing and being creative elements and I take care of everything else, everything. Hospital visits, bookings, damage control. Texts at 2 in the morning “Jess where are you I need help I’m in hospital” (Laughs)

Amy:
Basically what it comes down to is people believing in you and helping you push your own project. Jess jumped on board just because she liked the band and wanted to help us out and see us go further and that’s really really good. Every single one of our fans is doing that to some extent and just the support and help we get from everyone else. It’s hard to organise all that shit so it’s really helpful to get a manager. That could be good advice to if your starting out, get a manager.

Jesika:
If you’re music is good enough, if you can find someone who appreciates you enough to do that and commit their time then it can work out.

Altearoa:
What have been some of the problems you have run into?

Andre:
Hospital visits.

Mykel:
A bad moral compass for me.

Amy:
Yea, and girls.

Andre:
Girls, girls are the root of all evil.

Amy:
And sometimes having a bit too much fun.

Andre:
I think liquor can be a big problem.

Mykel:
Liquor and drugs.

Andre:
Girls, drugs and alcohol.

Amy:
All the temptations in life.

Mykel:
All the good stuff. (Laughs)

Andre:
The stuff that makes a rock band.

Mykel:
And as a crew we do all have strong personalities and so we do clash, but that can also be really productive.

Jesika:
I think the thing that distinguishes us though as a unit is that we’re all very committed to each other. So whenever we face challenges within the ranks we’ve been able to pull together and work through it and have open dialogue.

Amy:
Yea, we’re pretty good friends.

Andre:
It helps being in a band with friends.

Mykel:
Personally I didn’t know any of these guys very well before I joined, but you know, we’ve all become very good friends.

Altearoa:
So what have been some of the best moments for Ghost Daddy?

Andre:
Seeing a finished video.

Amy:
Yea that was really cool. Radio play, because that’s new for us, the first time we had anything on radio, first song we’ve actually put out. That was pretty sweet and just finally being able to release some work.

Andre:
And getting recognition for it, finding people dig it.

Mykel:
Recording the songs. Recently we’ve done a recording and hearing back what we were capable of doing in the studio. I was stoked with that. Anyone that gets into a band situation ultimately they want to go for a really amazing recorded product. Something they can listen to and go fuck that sounds shit hot. Playing gigs is still important and all the stuff that comes with it.

Amy:
Nothing beats nailing a sweet gig. When you play a show and you nail its just fucking awesome. That’s always a big high point, just when you do nail it.

Andre:
Yea that’s my favourite part.

Altearoa:
What have you got planned for the future.

Amy:
We’ve got three more songs on the way out. Three more singles each with videos. Hopefully the next one will be out before Christmas and the rest of them will come out early next year. So we’ve got three projects already in the works just waiting to get finished off and come out. Then we’ll go and do some more recording again next year and just keep the ball rolling.

Mykel:
I’m personally really keen to get on the road and do some touring. Hit places outside of Christchurch.

Amy:
Yea just expansion right across the board.

Andre:
Touring and recording.

gdjkAltearoa:
What did you guys think of the media attention given to Jailbait Kate?

Andre:
It was awesome, I loved it.

Amy:
Yea I think it was good.

Altearoa:
No such thing as bad publicity?

Amy:
Pretty much. Everyone who was offended by it, wouldn’t have been a fan of ours anyway, I don’t think. The people that were pissed off were exactly the people that we try to piss off I guess, if you know what I mean.

Andre:
Getting people to absolutely hate you and offending people is more of a mark than people kind of liking your music.

Amy:
If it causes people to feel something and act on it. It was so offensive to someone that they rang up the newsroom. It was wild too, it was ridiculous some of the things they were saying would come out of, like the copycat killings.

Andre:
Yea, we’re going to get copycat killings, because of our video. People are going to go out and start slaying prostitutes just because a Christchurch band told them to. I mean fuck.

Amy:
Something we consider now but we hadn’t really taken into consideration during the making or the release. If there is ever another prostitute murder in Christchurch its probably going to come back up for us. Obviously I doubt it will have anything to do with us in anyway, but because that’s come up, it will come up again. It will not be the last, because I daresay, there will be another prostitute murdered somewhere down the track.

Andre:
Now it’s all going to be our fault.

Mykel:
We’ll get blamed for a murder in Canada or something.

Amy:
Well that’s the thing its international, its on the youtube, anyone can watch that and get that idea of how to kill people. Its not just a local problem anymore.

Andre:
Because no one knew how to kill prostitutes before we came along.

Amy:
But controversy is fucking sweet. There is actually no graphic violence in the video whatsoever. People were talking about rape and shit and there is no rape anywhere in it, I don’t know where that came from.

Andre:
Some lady complained about rape of a minor.

Amy:
Yea, in the newspaper article, one thing they were really upset about was it was called Jailbait Kate because it suggested someone as a minor. We found that hilarious because we choose Jailbait Kate because we think it’s a pretty funny name and someone to take it in that kind of way and be really offended by it was perfect.

Andre:
We wrote the song, filmed the video, with not a care in the world.

Amy:
We had no malicious intent.

Mykel:
Total naivety, completely oblivious, ignorance is bliss. But going into it, it was going to be one of those projects that was bound to upset and unsettle a certain amount of people, but the intention was to bring to light the shitty lives that sex-workers have and all the crap in society that they have to deal with.

Amy:
We also should mention it was made for a movie about that stuff too so it wasn’t just something that came out of our head.

Mykel:
It’s not like we’re haters, we don’t hate prostitutes or sex-workers in general.

Andre:
We were also looking at the glorification the media has with killers.

Amy:
Yea the purpose of the video was to show how the media glorifies killers, you murder someone and become a celebrity. The reaction we got out of the people that were pissed off was the point we were making.

Andre:
I mean look at the youtube views before and after the newspaper article. The people who complained about and condemned us are the people that are making us bigger.

Amy:
People complained about the violence in the music video but then they sit at home and watch Sons of Anarchy or Game of Thrones. There is so much more graphic shit out there that no one complains about but as soon as a local band does something, they jump on it.

Jesika:
To be fair, from what I witnessed, the loudest voices were people that had personal issues with people involved in the project. Not necessarily a band member, but production crew as well, just people that for whatever reason were jealous. Particularly the comments on the article, I know a number of the people who commented and about their lifestyles and what they’re into and it was hilarious to hear what they had to say about it then to see there was a personal issue with someone on the project.

Amy:
There was someone calling for the whole project to be banned unless the video was brought down. So the movie and everything should be banned unless we took the video down. That’s just ridiculous that’s not going to happen.

Mykel:
What I like about it at the end of the day is we tackled a subject that people would be frightened to go anywhere near and we just jumped right in boots and all.

Amy:
The release actually was a lot bigger than we could have expected.

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