Obaro Ejimiwe, better known to the world as Ghostpoet was first signed to Giles Peterson’s Brownswood label in 2010 upon Peterson hearing his unconventional approach to musicianship and lyrics. His sounds could not be labelled neatly, he released his self-produced (in his bedroom) debut album ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’ and a Mercury Prize nomination followed in 2011 bringing legions of fans that love him for his low key persona and for his music that could be darkly complex and soothing at the same time.
Ghostpoet has since moved on to sign with the label Play It Again Sam which has seen his experimental style evolve even further – he co-produced his forthcoming second studio album, ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ with Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Darkstar, Egyptian Hip-Hop).
Ghostpoet talks to Hunger TV about evolution, experimentation and his own ‘realm’.
HELLO AGAIN. SINCE OUR LAST CHAT YOU’VE TOURED EXTENSIVELY AROUND EUROPE AND CONTINUE TO GIG HEAVILY IN THE UK – HOW MUCH HAS YOUR LIVE PERFORMANCE EVOLVED IN THE PAST YEAR OR SO?
I’m about to tour again in May, I’ve changed up my band recently so the scope for experimentation has definitely increased.
WHAT SORT OF EXPERIMENTATION CAN WE EXPECT FROM THIS TOUR?
It’s definitely, well how can I put it, I was introduced to Analog equipment recently, so I was able to use that, manipulate and change things musically compared to the electronic way of doing things; so it was an enjoyable process making the record. I was in the studio for three weeks and I was able to experiment constantly yet not go too far in one direction.
YOUR SOUND IS INCREDIBLY LAYERED, HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ‘REALM’ AS YOU CALL IT?
It’s not allowing outside influences to effect my music, so when I say my own realm, I mean I prefer to search within myself, I’ll use what’s around me, my environment and the people I meet.
THAT’S A VERY SPECIFIC APPROACH…
It’s natural for me to do that, I can’t understand things that are miles away. I know we have the internet, but what I mean by that is, I want to see things, touch things and experience things on my own terms.
LAST TIME WE MET WAS FOR A FILMED DOCUMENTARY, ABOUT A YEAR AGO, WHAT’S CHANGED FOR YOU IN THE PAST YEAR?
I feel more confident as a person, I’m very much aware of what my music means to people. At the same time I’m trying to be humble, I shouldn’t ever take my position for granted. I just want to make music and enjoy the career I’ve been lucky to have. I’m able to explore and to be creative in different realms, I don’t know maybe if it’s the way I’ve been brought up, I’ve always steered on the side of caution, the higher I go the harder I have to work.
DOES THAT ADD PRESSURE?
I don’t know if it’s really pressure, I have a great management team and label who are letting me make the music, so it’s a day to day thing.
YOU’VE SAID BEFORE THAT YOU’RE NOT KEEN TO FOCUS ON VISUALS OR YOUR LOOK, JUST THE MUSIC. HOW MUCH CONSIDERATION DO YOU GIVE TO THE LOOK OF YOUR LIVE PERFORMANCES?
Not much, for myself as long as it’s black and comfortable I’m ready to rock and roll. And for stage as long as it’s dark and moody…we’re ready to rock and roll! I feel my music has naturally developed to the place it is today, in time it will evolve again. I just listen to all varieties of sound and music and mix it all in my brain with my everyday experiences in life.
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MOST INTERESTING EXPERIENCES YOU’VE HAD WHILE TRAVELLING AND TOURING?
Seeing musicians I’ve admired over the years playing live, meeting a few in the flesh, meeting people who like my music and hearing how my music lives in there worlds is always interesting.
ASIDE FROM WANTING TO PLACE GENE HACKMAN IN EAST LONDON AS YOU’VE SAID BEFORE, WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE PLACED THIS YEAR?
(Laughs) I would like to be placed somewhere between here and there but hopefully not nowhere, definitely not nowhere.
‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ Released 6th May 2013