Interview Team Ghost: From Paris With Love

Emma Swann heads to France to visit Team Ghost on their home turf.

“Like Joy Division!” Team Ghost’s Nicolas Fromageau reacts a little too excitedly to the suggestion that the photos we’re taking of the band - in a quiet side-street of Paris - might be made black and white. Yes, we’re in the French capital, but the dark, gloomy skies above have been bringing the pouring rain all afternoon: it might as well be Manchester, 1979.

The band are shortly to make perhaps the oddest live appearance we’ve born witness to. In a few hours they’ll play to a small crowd at Silencio, the private members’ club designed by David Lynch. They’ll find their expansive, electronic rock confined to a miniature theatre stage, sandwiched between €10 bottles of Heineken, snooty cloakroom staff and a DJ mixing together 90s R&B staples in a way that makes iTunes’ crossfade look like a future Grammy winner.

Debut album ‘Rituals’, which has already spawned single ‘Dead Film Star’, is set for a UK release this spring. It was, they tell us, recorded partly here in Paris, where Nicolas, along with guitarist and keyboardist Benoît de Villeneuve worked on vocals and synths, and partly in Carpentras, in the south of France. There, at the Vega studio, the guitars, bass and drums were recorded ‘as live’, on tape. It was also, explains Nicolas, “a lot of fun… We were playing ping-pong, having barbecues…”.

As well as touring Europe in their own right - they were, just two days previous, less than a mile from DIY HQ at east London hotspot the Sebright Arms - they’ve also braved the potentially terrifying task of opening for cult Canadian noise duo Crystal Castles. “That was great,” assures Nicolas, “the crowds were full of people expecting techno music. Their audience is very young, and when we arrived with three or four guitars they were like [pulls face], what’s that instrument? What is it!”

From tonight’s performance, a set which we’re told will be “only new songs from the album” and “maybe a bit more rough, because when we play live it’s a bit more rock,” it’s both easy to see why the Crystal Castles fans were confused - and why the band were asked to support. There’s one foot firmly in the rock camp; Nicolas’ on-stage poses are straight from an 80s hair metal video at times, even climbing off stage at one point to bash in to members of the front row. They quickly cite Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Tangerine Dream as influences. But, that electronic element can’t be ignored, and as soon as they begin, Nicolas’ time in M83 is immediately evident with a wall of thick synth noise underpinning everything.

There’s a dark eeriness to Team Ghost’s sound, as their name quite rightly suggests. There’s a dark eeriness to Paris. Nicolas doesn’t know if the city’s had much effect on the band’s style. They certainly don’t choose to live there. “When you want to play music in France, you need to live in Paris, it’s not like in England where there’s a scene in Manchester, in France there’s only Paris. Maybe you can feel a dark vibe because it’s a city. Maybe if you were in the countryside it would be different. Our music is very urban, but it’s not a goal.”

Team Ghost’s new album ‘Rituals’ will be released on 18th March via Wsphere.

Taken from the February 2013 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.

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