The combination of Ghostpoet’s personable lyrical observations, set upon a fusion of too many genres to mention, earned critical acclaim - including DIY’s Album Of The Year accolade - and a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize 2011. It wasn’t solely the critics that were impressed however; ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’ slowly seeped into the national psyche.
With his second record, ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’, just around the corner, we meet Ghostpoet at his label’s offices to reflect on his achievements thus far, and find out all about the new full-length.
So, 2011 was quite a year for Ghostpoet.
It was a good year; I was on cloud nine for most of it. I got an album out and touch wood if I die tomorrow; I made an album and I never thought that I’d do that.
It feels almost like yesterday when your first album came out.
Yeah, people keep saying that; it’s been two years! To me, it’s a long time but perhaps in musical terms, it’s not very long – I don’t know?
Well, early on, there wasn’t really a Ghostpoet explosion…
Yeah, the first album came out in February 2011 and was definitely a slow burner.
In retrospect, what do you think the Mercury nomination did for your career?
I guess more doors have opened up to me, and I don’t know if people take me more seriously or whatever. It was great to be nominated but that’s not going to define my career. I have to keep pushing forward and achieving new things.
Thinking back to the first record; it was quite melancholy in its sound and even the title. Is that mood reflective of what you were going through at the time?
It’s reflective of me in general, really. I do have times of happiness and I’m quite positive these days, but maybe that’s me. I guess it was more magnified around the time of making that record. It’s a reflection of me - everything is a reflection of me and my world that I live in.
With your forthcoming record ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’, was there a change in approach?
Well, it’s a studio based record, where as the first album was made in my spare bedroom in Coventry. This one is definitely different in the way that it’s been created - this one was quick. We were in the studio for two or three weeks, I’ve never done that before. There’s much more experimentation due to me being exposed to that analogue world. It’s helped my evolution. I want to keep evolving and changing from record to record and I hope that people hear that.
It sounds like the process was very different; what about the personality in the album?
The personality is still me; but I am older. You change with the experiences you go through. It’s definitely a record of the moment; it’s me now – and in a few years time, it will be me then. It’s a mixture of emotions - good, bad, happy, sad – and the people that I interact with in my life. I soak up an allusion and put that in my records.
Having been so successful with your first album; does that put pressure on you for this album?
Initially – in the first day or two – when touring came to an end and it was like “right, I’ve now got to sit down and make a record. How am I gonna… What am I gonna…” Then I thought, “all I can do, is what I’ve already done” and when I made the first record, it was just fun. Obviously, when I made the first record there was no pressure at all, but I tried to remember my mindset, creatively at the time. It’s been a great experience to make another record. How it does and so on and so forth, doesn’t bother me. I just want to be creative, which sounds very cliche but that’s what I feel. I just hope that I can keep being creative as long as possible.
I noticed you tweet about a record by Lower Dens. What else is on your stereo?
Oh yeah ‘Nootropics’ – I love that record. I listen to loads of different stuff; today, I was listening to Actress’ first album ‘Splazsh’; I’ve been listening a lot to this desert blues band called Tinariwen; Cream’s record ‘Wheels Of Fire’, I’ve been revisiting that one again; and lots of old school garage – I seem to be obsessed with that at the moment.
Yeah, music’s a way of life for me. There’s so much music in the world, it makes no sense to stick to one particular route and I guess subconsciously, that’s how I go about making my music. Forget about genre; it’s about immersing myself in different sounds. Then it all gets mashed up in my brain.
Ghostpoet’s new album ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ is out now via PIAS.
Read the full interview in the 6th May edition of DIY Weekly, available from iTunes now.