Firstly, for readers who may not have listened to you, how would you describe your sound?
I would say kind of experimental electronic, hip hop music with just extra elements of the stuff I listen to, like indie, dance, electronica, folk… Whatever really, whatever sounds good.
At the age of 27 you’ve only just released your debut album, ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’. Have you always made music or is it a more recent development?
I always kind of made music, just more like a hobby. Like a throwaway hobby when I was a kid. As I got older it got more serious and I started investing more into it, buying equipment and so on. I had a MySpace page and I was networking a little bit with people, trying to ‘make it’ I guess. I never really took the next step until I got involved with Brownswood [Gilles Peterson’s record label] really.
Your album features both electronic and live elements. Does this reflect a wide range of influences on your part?
Yeah. I always loved electronics, I loved experimentation so I knew that was going to be in there. But at the same time I’m a massive fan of indie music, that idea of live instruments. I started to work with Chris and Flo, who I play live with now, on how to play the tunes live, and some just sounded better live. The ones that are live on the album are the ones that just made more sense to be live. So, yeah it’s definitely a combination of things.
Your album was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize. Has it sunk in yet that you were nominated for such a prestigious award?
I don’t think it has really. At the same time I don’t think I really want it to, the Mercury Awards are something I’ve always watched and read about for years and the idea of being part of it is just amazing. For me it’s just a real boost, to make me believe I could make a real career out of this. To be on the same sheet as the likes of the Adeles, the James Blakes, the Katy Bs and so forth is just like… wow. It’s a mad thing really.
Were there any other albums on the list that you like?
I do love James Blake’s album for what it is, I love Metronomy’s album, I love Everything Everything’s album, I love the bits I’ve heard of Katy B’s album. There are little bits I’ve heard of Adele’s album I really like. I haven’t listened to Anna Calvi’s album yet but I’ve heard the single and I really like that… Most of it’s cool, it’s all really good stuff.
Were there any albums you feel should have been included that weren’t?
Jamie Woon’s album, I thought that had a shot. Wild Beasts’ album, also in with a shot. It’s a difficult one, some say Radiohead should have been on there. I like it, it’s cool, I like other albums they’ve done more but… they’re Radiohead. They’ve been ahead of the game for a very long time. I would say them, probably.
The video for ‘Cash & Carry Me Home’ was directed by Tim Brown, who in the past has worked on videos for Tinie Tempah, also nominated for the Mercury. Were you heavily involved in the development of the video and what were you trying to convey when making it?
Tim Brown had the idea of picturing parts of the lyrics in the visuals and we just bounced ideas back and forth between each other. I sent him the lyrics and from that he started to get the ideas you see in the video; the spinning bottles, the house. He kind of led and I’d say what I liked, what I didn’t like until we came to the conclusion which was the video.
Were you surprised by how popular the video was?
Yeah! Not that it wasn’t good, and Tim did do a really good job. It was just on such a low budget and I was thinking in my head ‘we’ve spent such little money on it, so how is it gonna work?’ It was a definite surprise; everything that happens to me is a surprise! I don’t understand any of it, I just make the music and create the visuals, I don’t really think about the mechanics behind it. I just put it out and see what happens.
Let’s talk food. You just cooked us a delicious meal, your album is called ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’; would you say food is something that inspires you?
Yeah, I would say so. It all comes under the umbrella of life really, life being the biggest inspiration. Obviously eating and enjoying food and the social aspect of it is important. I love food, I wish I could cook it more but increasingly I’m having less and less time to do so. But yeah, it’s very important, you can’t live without it can you!
And finally, if your album was a dish what would it be?
If it was a dish what would it be? Hmm… A spaghetti bolognese, because it’s as common as muck but it tastes pretty good! [Laughs] That was good, I like that!
Here’s what Ghostpoet made us. Pappardelle w/mixed mushrooms & mozzarella
350g fresh pasta (or 250g dried) 250g mushrooms Half of a bunch of flat leaf parsley 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves 50g fresh parmesan 140g fresh mozzarella 2 tsp creme fraiche Knob of butter Olive oil Sea salt Black pepper
1. Bring salted water to the boil and cook pasta according to instructions.
2. Clean mushrooms by brushing with a towel, slice.
3. Heat butter and a little olive oil over
a high heat in a large frying pan. Add sliced garlic, chopped parsley stems, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes until mushrooms are well-browned.
4. When the pasta is cooked, reserve a cup of the cooking water, and drain.
5. Grate the parmesan, and add half to the mushroom mixture, along with the zest of the lemon, the creme fraiche, the mozzarella (torn), juice of half of the lemon and half of the remaining parsley.
6. Toss to combine. Add the pasta and half the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce. If needed, add remaining pasta water.
7. Season. Serve sprinkled with remaining parmesan and parsley.
Ghostpoet’s debut album ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’ is out now via Brownswood.