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zondag 09 april 2017
My Own Ghost: Driving Power Pop-Rock from Luxembourg

Text: Geert Ryssen

Three years ago they came on scene and their first album ‘Live Kills’ grabbed us by the throat! My Own Ghost from Luxembourg is a killer live band with singer Julie Rodesch delivering the goods in front of a guitar battery consisting of Fred Brever (guitar), David Soppelsa (guitar), Joe May (bass) and powerdrummer Michael Stein. On April 8, their second album ‘Live On Standby’ will be released and again it’s a great, fresh and powerful album. Metal-nose had a nice chat with singer Julie.

For most readers of Metal-nose, My Own Ghost will be a completely new name. Can you tell something about the history of the band?
My Own Ghost is a rockband from Luxembourg and was founded in 2013 by Joe, David and Fred, who wanted to start a new project. By advertisment they were looking for a singer and I saw their ad and contacted Fred. We met a few days later and during this very first meeting we already wrote our first song together, "Free Fall" which is featured on our first album "Love Kills". Michael then joined the band a few months later as we were looking for a drummer. I'd already worked with him before and knew he would fit in perfectly.

Three years ago, the band released its first album ‘Love Kills’. How was the response to that album and what did it do to put the band on the map?
We released our debut album already a year after the formation of the band. The release of the video to the first single "Crystal Ball" from the album brought us in contact with Secret Entertainment, a record label from Finland. They wanted to work with us on the release of 'Love Kills'. This had the advantage that we could not only publish our album worldwide, but also had the support of a label who did all the promotion work and this caught the attention of a lot of people. We were really surprised by the positive feedback we got on this first album, as we had no idea how it would be received by the audience and media. For the last few years, this album and the good reviews we got for it, helped us to book concerts, to find our booking agency Red Lion Music from Germany, to perform as support for Loudness from Japan and Delain from the Netherlands. In addition, Secret Entertainment gave us the opportunity to record our second album with Hiili Hiilesmaa from Finland.

The new album ‘Life On Standby’ sounds a bit different. Less raw, more focused towards a streamlined sound without becoming pure mainstream with a nice mix of modern powerpop and guitar-rock with some electronic touches added. What brought this evolution to the band?
We recorded and produced our first album on our own at MOG Studios, with Markus Teske from Germany who recorded the drums and mastered the album. The second album was again recorded at MOG Studios, produced and mixed by Hiili Hiilesmaa at Coalhouse recordings and mastered by Svante Forsbäck at Chartmakers in Finland. We relied however once again on Markus Teske for the recording of the drums. So we guess that Hiili's feedback on our songwriting and his help in selecting the right songs for the album, as well as having our album produced and mastered by these professionals, helped us create this refined sound. Furthermore, we've known each other now for more than three years, we've toured a lot and performed quite some concerts together. All these things have brought us closer as a band and has also influenced our songwriting and sound.

How does the songwriting work in the band? And what about the lyrics?
We have quite a few songwriters in the band, so there's always someone with a basic idea for a new song. Each bandmember then has the possibility to put his mark. As for the lyrics, it is really important to us that the songs have a message, but that there's always room for interpretation. We want the public to be able to relate to our music. The songs are about everyday situations, human relations, experiences in life, contemplation and inner feelings,....

What is immediately clear on ‘Life On Standby’ is the high quality of the songs that are put in a very flowing sequence. Was it hard work to select the right songs and make the sequence?
A songwriter's favorite songs are sometimes not necessarily the songs it would be wise to put on the album. As we are very aware of this, we relied on Hiili's help for the selection of the 10 album tracks and also the final tracklist. We are really happy with the result as it gave a good flow to the album and makes it fun to listen to. Also, the selection ended up not being that difficult to make, as mostly our choices concurred with Hiili's picks.

You were mentioning producer Hiili Hiiliesmaa, what’s so special about him?
He is mainly known for his work with HIM, Amorphis and Apocalyptica. Hiili requested that Svante Forsbäck from Chartmakers in Finland should be responsible for the master of the album. Svante is known for his work with Rammstein, Sunrise Avenue and Bullet for my Valentine. We really appreciated to work with such experienced people and we learned a lot from them.

How will the album be distributed?
As we were really pleased with the work of our label Secret Entertainment on our first album, we decided to work with them once again for our second album.

Has a vinyl release been considered?
We have considered it and would love to do it, but we think that it's not yet the right moment to do. But it's something we'll keep in mind, maybe for the third album.

The album has very appealing artwork. Can you explain the relation to the title of the album?
For the artwork, we worked together with the Irish artist Nina Y. We totally fell in love with her work and thought that the mannequin would symbolize the meaning of the album title, ´Life On Standby', perfectly. The mannequin stands for the listlessness of some people who let life pass them by. They are frustrated and unhappy, but do not have the courage and strength to change. The bleeding apple symbolizes that there's always life and a small spark of hope in each one of us. We should never give up fighting and working to achieve our goals and to make our dreams come true.

The band has toured already with some big names. There was Loudness and now you will tour with Tarja. How does a band from Luxemburg land on a tour like that?
In 2015 we signed with the German booking agency Red Lion Music. They do a great job and help us to find and get into tours like the one with Loudness and recently with Tarja. Of course it is not enough to just rely on the work of your booking agency, we also invest a lot of work and time in order to find and get opportunities for concerts and tours.

How far does the ambition with the band go?
Our next goals would be to promote the new album, to perform concerts, play tours, to get slots at festivals across Europe and to get some of our songs played on the radio. We also already started writing new songs for our next album. As for the bigger goals, we want to evolve further as a band and to establish My Own Ghost as a known band in the rockscene.

Do you see the band go more in an evolution towards quality pop with a harder edge?
We do not want to set limits to our songwriting. We will always stay a rockband, and true to our sound, but it might be, that we use elements of different music styles for one or the other song. We will go into the direction where our music and our songwriting takes us.

The band in a live situation is a different matter: it’s a full blooded rockmachine with the full option rock’n’roll attitude. In what degree is the new album fitted for that approach?
We love to rock the stage together and that will never change. As for the new album, one has to keep in mind, that an albumtrack is in the best case destined to be played on a radiostation and might therefore seem a little "softer". The live version of the same song might differ slightly from the albumtrack, which gives it a heavier, edgier sound that is more adapted to a live situation.

Can you tell something about the rock scene in Luxemburg and is it difficult to break out of the country’s borders?
Luxembourg has quite a big music scene, considering the small size of the country. We have a very big metal scene, but in the last few years, a lot of "softer" bands have come up. Each weekend, there are a lot of events and concerts, so it really never gets boring. We have the advantage that it's not that far to get to Germany, Belgium or France, and that we are able to speak most of those languages. This makes it easier to break out of the country's borders.

As we write this, the band is touring again in Eastern Europe. Yes, there’s definitely something happening for My Own Ghost! There’s a CD-release party on April 28 in Esch-Sur Alzette, Luxemburg. Consult the band website or Facebook page for details.

Interview by Geert Ryssen

Find out more about MY OWN GHOST on the net:

Geplaatst door Vera op zondag 09 april 2017 - 22:23:58
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