“We’re in that vein, but don’t really sound like either,” says Jonah Krieser, lead vocalist and guitarist of Ghosts.
“We get compared to Drive Like Jehu and The Hot Snakes,” he notes, identifying Ghosts with the post-hardcore scene, which includes such bands as Fugazi — a Ghosts favourite.
“I totally respect [Fugazi’s] work ethic, but they were in a unique situation. It would be hard to pull off what they pulled off,” Krieser adds, referring to the band’s do-it-yourself style as the root of its musical success.
“We’re not a staunchly political band, and we’ve done well locally, but it’s been no instant success,” Krieser reveals. The band has worked hard for its success, as evidenced by a current spot on the Frostbite 2005 cross-Canada tour alongside The Planet Smashers and Guttermouth.
However, it was only recently that Ghosts began to stray outside of Saskatchewan. “We hadn’t really hit the road across Canada until the last four years,” Krieser says. “We had only played locally in Saskatchewan, sometimes in Alberta. We haven’t been out to the Maritimes, and we do way better in the West.”
The band has been together since 1994 but was known as Pillar until 2002. The name change occurred when Krieser and bassist Jamie Deal added guitarist Stacey Hahn to the ensemble. This past summer, original drummer Chris McBennet left the band to pursue a career as a pilot, and his place was filled by Tristan Helgason.
Describing the band’s progression, Krieser denies its sound has become “mellower.” He explains Ghosts was “never really a hardcore band; more of a metal band, when we were younger. A little more like Helmet. As we progressed, got older, I guess we got a little more poppy, but more importantly we became better songwriters.”
The band’s experience and songwriting ability is evident on its Smallman Records debut, City of No Light. The album is a carefully-crafted, dynamic mix of melodic post-hardcore. But, Krieser maintains the group has stayed true to itself and its sound.
“Screamo has turned into this fuckin’ weird fashion show. But that’s not discrediting all of them,” Krieser explains. “I mean, that’s what happens with all genres. It gets polluted, and just becomes an excuse to fit in, with people afraid to be themselves. But that’s just the way it is now — things get co-opted faster than they used to.”
In a changing musical landscape, Krieser remains confident that Ghosts is the real deal. “All the people we’ve met wouldn’t have helped us if we didn’t make good music.”
Ghosts of Modern Man will be part of Frostbite 2005 at Call the Office on Saturday along with Guttermouth, The Planet Smashers, Angry Agency and Arsoncityscape. There are two shows — a 3 p.m. matinee and a 9 p.m. evening show. Advance tickets are $15 at Speedcity Records.