Metalcore quintet Speaking With Ghosts just got signed to indie label Famined Records, following this signing, the band went on to release a new single turned video for the track "Woven In Gold". That track coming off their upcoming new album titled "Illuminated". The band got together to discuss their name's meaning, new single, and album itself.
1. Speaking With Ghosts is the name you decided upon but why was this so? Who is the one within the band that can go as far as Speaking With Ghosts?
The name Speaking With Ghosts is actually a little less literal than that. The name derives from a song by Citizen, "speaking with a ghost." We liked the way it sounded and from there came Speaking With Ghosts. While none of us have actually have spoken with ghosts, let alone seen one, we like to try and keep ourselves open minded to the idea that ghosts are out there.
2. Can you give us a brief summary as to how the band came to be and what have you done since forming?
The band came into fruition in 2014 simply out of necessity. We found the people who could fill the rolls we needed to make the band. Luckily it was all done within mutual friends so it was extremely easy for us to click and get to work.
After we started, we put together a few songs that we went up to Michigan to Matt Dalton so we could record, and we released those as our “Searching For Direction” EP. From there, we started small by hosting local house shows between two houses until we were fortunate enough to grab the attention of a local Chicago promoter, Kevin Singleton. He helped us to built up a strong Chicago-based following and helped us play a bunch of shows in the Chicagoland area in 2015. Towards the end of 2015 we were able to win a battle of the bands that allowed us to participate in that year’s Knotfest. In 2016, we started to branch out to neighboring states for shows.
We took time to go down to Texas and record our full length album with Cory Brunneman that's scheduled to release via Famined Records on 11/17/17. We also managed to sign with the Defiled Management team via Chris Cave, and that’s helped us out immensely. In 2017, we focused on expansion by jumping on a few small mini runs, and both east and west coast tour stretches. Our last run with Curses allowed us to grab the attention of Famined. Now, we hope to continue expanding and touring late this year and to start 2018.
3. You just got signed with the indie record label Famined Records, how did this come together?
While we were out on our last run with Curses we were shopping around for the right team to push our album and when Famined came up, they seemed just as excited as we were about pushing this release. Naturally that helped us in our decision to sign with them.
4. Why go with Famined Records, as opposed to all the other labels out there, what was it about these guys that stuck out to you guys?
When searching for a label it's important to remember that you need a team that pushes you and believes in you. As previously stated, they shared our enthusiasm in pushing out this album. That was key for us. While yes, the deals you sign are important, nothing is more important than the label truly believing in you. When you're out there pushing, you want the team that is cheering you on and pushing you to reach your goals the whole way. Famined happened to have everything we needed resource-wise and was ready to push immediately. So far, they've done an excellent job getting our single, Woven in Gold, the attention and hype we wanted, and we're absolutely excited to keep it up.
5. Would you happen to know the difference between an indie label and a bigger label? Which one is more important to an artist or band or are they both the same deal?
Some of the major differences will be in how they distribute your music. If they need to outsource or use partnerships, or if they have their own in house team. Without going into any details specifically, the most important thing is just to make sure the label who you choose to work with can cater to your needs. You may not need to use the bigger label if all your looking for is a stepping stone or a way to distribute your music. Many smaller labels can do just that and have partnerships that will get you started in the right direction. Some larger bands only need distribution deals and nothing else so a smaller label could again be the beneficial go to. However, with big names comes big followings. Larger labels may take different percentage cuts from you and offer larger distribution coverage or platforms to release your music on. These may also offer you more listeners because they'll have a bigger audience pool to pull from when showcasing your music to the public. In the end, it's a mature conversation the band needs to have with their manager to see what exactly the goal in singing is and what they need. Both a larger or smaller indie label can offer similar options, just the details of the deal may vary.
6. You went ahead to release the first single off your new album "Illuminated". The track in question being titled "Woven In Gold", what is the story behind this track?
Woven In Gold is loosely based off the idea in Hercules when the fates attempt to cut the thread but can't. The idea of being woven in gold defies the idea of fate. In this song we question our lives. Why are we here? What's our purpose? Am I in control? Why am I not happy? All that being said we make a point to say that we have choice. Personally, I (Ryan) have experienced many roadblocks to stop me from getting to where I am now, but despite all that, I continued to grow and I am a positive person. Woven In Gold is about taking control of your own threads.
7. Besides releasing "Woven In Gold" as the single, it had an accompanying video to go with it, can you disclose the details about the videos concept and appeal?
The video is a very loose artistic interpretation of the song. Videographer Aaron Palmer loved the back and forth struggle feeling that the song gave him and he wanted to capture that between the two actors depicted and the theme of the chess board.
8. Will there be any more songs taken from "Illuminated" to be made into more singles and videos, will they be a continuation of this first video?
As of right, now we have older versions of songs out to the public right now, those being The Boy Who Lived and Dreamwalker. Both songs were re-done and added to the album. You can expect two more singles before the official drop date 11/17/17 for the album. As for the video, right now there is no current plan to continue the video theme into other videos, however we are not closed off from the idea. Most of our songs have related themes, so it is always a possibility.
9. How would you say that "Illuminated" differs, compares, and is equal to your debut EP "Searching For Direction"?
I would say the EP and Album greatly differ in maturity. Our album is where you could say we found our groove. Our EP was our first attempts at writing as a group, whereas our album, we spent months on the same song. Revising until we found it fitting to release. Even when looking at a song that has already been released, such as Dreamwalker, you will notice subtle changes that we thought would drive the song further. Don't worry though, there are still a lot of similarities. Both releases are similar in their vocal drive. I have always written about struggle and how much one can endure, so expect some empowering or inspiring lyrics along side the hard hitting lows that we've all felt.
10. Did any of those EP debut tracks make it over to this album, or are the two releases their own thing all separate material altogether?
One from the EP, Dreamwalker, made it over to the album. Being the local fan favorite, we wanted to bring it to our album and re-push it. As earlier mentioned, the stand alone single, The Boy who Lived, is also coming to the album.
11. Would you say that this EP is in anyway connected to this new album?
The only thing that ties the EP to the album is the one song that is brought over from it. I do make references to previous songs from time to time in my lyric writing in order to show that time has past and we have changed. Otherwise I like to view them as separate.
12. Does this new album have any hidden easter eggs that you tossed in or that the fans could pick up on?
The only thing that could be an Easter Egg is our song titles. Many times when we title our songs we do so by picking things that are current to us at that point in time. We like to take tv episodes, movie references, and things like that into what we name our tracks. We still name things by subject matter, but is fun for us to name them this way because when we look back, we can remember all the things that lead up to making that song. At the same time, it’s also what we were really in to at that point in time. They are like tributes to our past, and ways to remember who we are as we grow older and further our careers.
13. Why should people check out this album, once it is out and about?
This album makes a point to show humility and talk about our struggles. That being said, it's something that everyone faces and I feel that we made this album extremely relatable. It's already effected our lives a great deal and we hope to do the same with everyone around us. We've brought Dreamwalker over not just because it was a fan favorite, but also to push what has become our motto, "Shine Light and Inspire." Our goal is to do just that with this album.
14. You landed on the Spotify homepage of the app and main website, as well as a couple of their playlists, listing you as "new metal releases". What crosses your mind when you heard the news?
It's always fun to see exactly how we reach people and we often ask people how they came across our music. Whenever we hear the reason, we are always extremely grateful to the people who shared it. That being said, when we heard this news, we couldn't believe it. We were all so excited because we knew that it would reach more people at a quicker rate. We hope that the people who enjoy our tracks, take what we wrote to heart, and help us in our goal to shine light and inspire.
15. What else do you have in-store for the rest of this year?
Other than the singles/album release, we plan on playing a lot of shows to push our new content. You can expect us to partake in as many mini runs/tours and festivals/sponsored events that we can get our hands on. This will continue through the rest of this year and lead into the start of 2018.