The Ghost Inside
For what do you stand? It may be the most important question one will ever ask.
To put it in The Ghost Inside's parlance: "What do you stand for?" The five men of this California band passionately, feverishly and articulately inject that forceful query into the very foundation of their sound, their vision and their overall presentation. The Ghost Inside stands for authenticity, dedication, perseverance and the most literal adherence to the core values behind their craft.
With an old school focus on meaning and sincerity combined with a modern exploration of sonic connectivity, The Ghost Inside place equal emphasis on deeply personal vocals, urgent riffing and pile-driving breakdowns within the framework of their heavily melodic modern metallic hardcore. It's that attention to detail and a focus on dues- paying roadwork that has garnered the group a fiercely devoted following as they've toured the world alongside bands like Parkway Drive, Bring Me The Horizon, August Burns Red, and Devil Wears Prada.
A Day To Remember's Jeremy McKinnon handled production duties on The Ghost Inside's Epitaph debut, Get What You Give, and the result is nothing short of the band's most dynamic and explosive material thus far. The quintet's two prior releases - the breakthrough album Returners (2010) and their first full-length, Fury and the Fallen Ones (2008) - laid down the promise and potential that has now been fully delivered with Get What You Give.
Tracks like "Dark Horse," "Engine 45" and "Outlive" are anthems that are built for crowd participation in the live environment, where The Ghost Inside takes pride in giving all of themselves over to the crowd.
"I realize now more than ever that if you put everything you've got into something, it's going to pay off," says vocalist and co-founding member Jonathan Vigil. "That's how we've modeled this band. We just push everything we have into this to make it work. And now we have signed to our dream label and we're putting out our best album to date. You have to sacrifice to make things happen."
The Ghost Inside began in El Segundo, California, as a group of friends united by their shared passion for different bands they'd witnessed in the underground scene. Changing their name from A Dying Dream after the release of one EP, their sound and style crystalized as they put together their debut album.
"When we wrote our first record, we had no idea what it was going to sound like," says guitarist and main songwriter Aaron Brooks. "We just wrote songs because it was fun and it was the kind of music we wanted to hear. I want to be able to listen to our records and feel like if I wasn't in the band, it would be my favorite band. And that has happened with all three records thus far."
While The Ghost Inside employs a catchy melodic sensibility, their third album doesn't see them softening their sound one bit, as so many bands have before them. Get What You Give is in fact the group's heaviest work in many ways. "A lot of bands as they go on want to write 'mature,' dumb, artsy music," Brooks says. "I like really heavy music, so that's what I'm going go write. Plenty of people were probably expecting us to come out with something that wasn't as intense as our other records, but that kind of pushed me to write an even heavier album."
The first two albums saw the band writing a batch of material and then hitting the studio. This time around, much of the material was written while sequestered at Wade Studios in Florida. A longtime friend and supporter of The Ghost Inside, McKinnon was there to help offer guidance and outside opinion as they shaped their songs. "We'd write what we thought would sound cool and he would put in his input; he'd sprinkle his magic and make it sound that much better," Vigil says. "Vocally, he would help structure some choruses. He just knew what works."
Brooks enjoyed the collaboration with McKinnon as well as the contributions from drummer Andrew Tkaczyk, who had been a major songwriter in his previous band, For The Fallen Dreams. "Jeremy thinks very similarly to me musically in terms of song structure and stuff like that. It was nice to have someone pushing us. There were just more people bringing ideas to the table. I enjoyed it a lot."
Lyrically, the songs tackle a wide variety of topics, from addiction, to self-sacrifice to battling back the perception many people in the world at large have of guys like The Ghost Inside who have chosen something other than the 9-to-5 grind. "A lot of people look down on you when you're in a touring band for a living," Vigil says. "But the joke
is on them. People may think I'm wasting my life, but I'm seeing the world. I have all of these memories, I have all of these great relationships, and I wouldn't trade that to sit at a desk everyday."
The rest of the guys, which includes bassist Jim Riley and guitarist Zach Johnson, are wholeheartedly in agreement. "Our band has gone through a few members. Everybody in the band now has had the same history with bands. We've all been doing this since we were younger. We don't want to be doing anything else," Brooks points out. "This is exactly what we want to be doing. Every time we get to go to a new place, or make a new record, it's just more motivation to keep doing it. It's just so rewarding. We're not going to stop now."
The most rewarding thing about participating in The Ghost Inside is the relationship they share with each other and with their audience, from both personal interactions and the responses to their artistic output. The Ghost Inside has long established that they like to have a good time onstage, but alongside that fun atmosphere, they've forged a deep connection of shared experience.
"The biggest payoff is when we go around the world and see new places and then we meet people who don't even speak our language very well, and how much our music and lyrics have influenced their lives," Vigil says. "I've had people who come up to us and say we've helped them through the darkest times in their lives. You don't always think about that impact when you're writing a song, but then it hits you when someone comes up to you in tears."
The Ghost Inside has already accomplished more than the guys in the band ever expected and with Get What You Give it's clear that their best days are still ahead. The Ghost Inside is a band who makes music, regardless of trends or careerism, for the simplest and most straightforward of reasons.
"When it's all said and done I just want people to remember The Ghost Inside being an honest band who stayed true to our music and lyrics," Vigil says. "We do this because we love music, we love touring and we love meeting people."