Ghosts are a band with no regard for the norms or niceties of the local hardcore scene. Since mid-2011, the three-piece have made music for themselves alone, culminating with their debut release, ‘All Filler, No Killer’. Fending off the expectations of the music industry, the band has taken a DIY approach to touring, assaulting small venues, garages and even a kitchen across the east coast with their explosive live performances. It has been said that frontman Matt ‘Sutto’ Sutcliffe is clinically insane, a fact demonstrated to Kill Your Stereo when he sat down on a drunken night at 4 am to talk about Ghosts, Strike Hard Bookings, and how the band will always stay metal.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your role in the band?
HA! My role in the band. It all started about a year ago, me and our guitarist, young Bradley found ourselves in a sticky situation. We were in a band prac with a guy and a girl, and they were vegan, alas we were not. They went to find vegan treats, and me and Brad wrote ‘Old School’ as a joke. They returned and weren’t happy as our song didn’t sound like La Dispute, so they left. Brad and I kept writing songs and ended up writing 14, which came out as ‘All Filler No Killer’. I wrote/recorded drums and vocals and we picked up Lochlan on Bass and we haven’t looked back, forward or present. We were just chill as we are now and enjoy life as 3 best friends who get to play music together.
While we’re on the topic of ‘Old School’, why do you start making random noises halfway through?
Haha fuck, the random noises. I am not a very talented lyricist. I thought it would be funny if people read the lyrics and saw "Inaudible ramblings" for the rest of the song. Also, it gives me free reign to do whatever I want for about a minute, which in a band is a very long time.
What influences the band’s carefree, DIY aesthetic and attitude?
CAREFREE? DIY? Nah, don’t know dude. We obviously love Ceremony. No Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr. Not having that and being as big as they are is beyond respect. Those dudes write some kick-ass tunes which everyone loves, as all the information spread about Ceremony is purely word of mouth. All of the information spread about our shit band is hopefully by word of mouth too. When we play shows now we have no banter… It is literally just, “Hey, we are Ghosts, hope you have a good night". Not giving a fuck what people think is a major influence. We don’t believe in people liking us because we played with a certain band, covered a certain band or sound like a certain band. If you see us and enjoy our set, that is rad. If you don’t that’s rad. Enjoy us/other bands on your opinion, not what other people thought of us.
What are the musical inspirations behind ‘All Filler, No Killer’?
The musical inspirations behind our CD are pretty predictable. Me and Brad were listening to a lot of Ceremony before we wrote it. A lot of the songs were written just to troll people, for example, if you ever listened to us, the build up at the end of "Fade Away", and the timing in "Gotta Dolla?" But new Ghosts is like, kind of a sell out? We’ve officially been writing for 126 days, so that can either make you think that our new release is going to be fucking insanely good or absolute goat shit. Whatever, when it comes out you can make you own reviews. We have been writing for a long time to release this new record, which we will be doing on a 7", and we want to make it as ‘original’ as possible. We aren’t writing these songs to please you and make you want to buy our record, more to please us, and make this record something we would buy.
With song names like ‘Fuck Ya’ and references to Centrelink, you seem to have a lot of Western Sydney pride?
OH MAN, WESTY PRIDE! I finished high school two years ago, which is now 2010. So basically I spent a whole year working as a carpenter, which was dumb. I paid like $100 tax a week, which seemed to pay the average dole bludger every week, and obviously pissed me off ‘cause I was apparently spending money I could have spent on Parkway Drive merch every week so some Western Sydney bogan junkie could buy a pack of Winnie Blues and a 6 pack of VB. They didnt do shit! I was also working like 10 hours a day for $3 an hour or something so I developed a hatred for Centrelink. I had to go in and get my Tax File Number and I think I stole some guys shoes/herpes at the same time
The band has posted disparaging remarks about Backtrack in the leadup to their Australian tour. Why do you hate the band and New York hardcore so much?
Oh man, we have nothing against Backtrack. This is a hardcore band from New York touring Australia, if it was the other away around we would be so proud! Seriously, it is an achievement to any band who tours anywhere, indie bands touring Europe or local bands touring Victoria. But Backtrack, everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon of liking mosh from New York. They aren’t Madball? Fuck, I don’t even like Madball. If I did I would have gotten a head tattoo two years ago to prove to the younger generation of Sydney Hardcore that I was cool! But seriously, Backtrack are coming from New York and that is an achievement, and something that the dudes in the band will remember for the rest of their lives. Have you ever put yourself in a band you hate’s shoes? However, I heard the band Bad Taste from Victoria. And in my opinion, they are more interesting/original than the band Backtrack from New York, even though it probably cost them more individually to come from Melbourne in an old van to play to 3 payers. Yeah, local music works in entertaining ways.
How do you feel about the recent demise of Strike Hard Bookings?
Strike Hard, Dan and Oli are really cool dudes. They never, ever, ever, ever even considered putting us on a show, for good reason. They brought out a lot of international acts who were actually really cool, and they basically ran local shows from 2007 onwards. The scene wouldn’t be what it was without them today. I have a lot of respect for Dan and Oli, as they put a lot of effort into local shows and bigger shows. Imagine if Strike Hard shows didn’t happen, how many of you would have seen Daylight? Then you couldn’t be Tumblr cool. Without Strike Hard, my old band would never have had shows, your old band wouldn’t have had shows, and you would never have been to a show. As much as shit is talked in the local scene, everyone started somewhere, and most people started with a Strike Hard show. Have respect. If it wasn’t for them , everyone would still be listening to Emmure and I Killed The Prom Queen.
Why is it that you think that promoters are reluctant to book your band?
Why are people reluctant to book Ghosts? Because we suck. We don’t mosh, we don’t PowerViolence, we don’t Punk. We wrote songs and now we play shows. We aren’t cool, our lyrics don’t get reposted on Tumblr or Twitter, and in the scene now that basically means your band doesn’t even exist. I’m not gonna be mean and say we will "DISRESPECT THA VENUE”, or “FUCK SHIT UP”, because we don’t, we are actually very respectful of people who will put on shows for bands like us. However, if you look like someone we will probably ask you about the person you look like. We saw someone at a Newcastle house show recently who looked like Justice from Trapped Under Ice, so mid set we had our own interview with him, and he had no idea what staying cold was. Very disappointing.
What has been your favourite show to play with the band so far?
See that’s a hard question… We have played with a fair few bands. Not noteworthy ones though. Michael Crafter are always enteraining, and Venom Eyes ripped up our Queensland dates, but were too cool to invite us down to their Victorian dates. Every band we have played with has been absolutely awesome in their own way, however one of our all time favourites would be Let Me Down, Jungleman from Sydney. Those guys write indie music like it should be written. And if for some reason anyone from Victoria is reading this, let us play a show in your garage!
The band has tried to keep its number of Facebook likes at 666 in order to stay metal. Are there plans for a fully-fledged metal album in the future for Ghosts?
Hahahahahahahahhahahahahaahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahhahahaha! Okay, that is probably the only reaction you will get to metal in this interview. Don’t get me wrong, I went to see Slayer at Soundwave, and it was disappointing that they didn’t play, but the riots that ensued and the rage that they didn’t play were definitely highlights for me. The iron-clad promise to keep Ghosts at 666 likes is kind of just funny. We have never asked for people to like our page/promoted our page in general. People have just stumbled across is in general and liked it for some reason. Whenever we get to 667 likes, one of us logs in and blocks someone to keep us at 666. We aren’t Satan worshippers, we don’t even like the devil and stuff. We just think 666 is funny, and the fact we got to that many liked without asking for help is pretty cool, even though people only like us because we are shit. But yeah, keep us at 666, its hilarious!
What about a regular album?
Nah, no metal album from us, although we will always love the System Of A Down kind of band we are. And yes, it is 4:57 am and I was just playing with my next door neighbour’s cat, who is extremely metal. She digs all System Of A Down tunes.
Tell me about the craziest thing the band has ever done?
THIS BAND HAS DONE NOTHING CRAZY EVER! No, but seriously, we have played in the craziest places ever. Buxton, anyone hear of there? Canyonleigh? We play weird house shows anywhere. We literally went to Queensland and played a show to 8 people in a rehearsal studio, then to however many people at a house show on the Sunshine Coast. Most bands will only play cool shows in cool places. Fuck that. We play anywhere to anyone, as long as you have fun. That is our only goal. The funnest things we do are play shows, and the best times have been the house shows no one has known about.
Are there any hopes for a proper Renegade reunion?
OH FUCK, RENEGADE! Nah, Renegade are shit. I’m only doing the Strike Hard Fest reunion show to get free entry to see Phantoms, then I’m bailing to play in this shit band (Ghosts) and see Black Coffee and TAIPAN (everyone in the scene knows how good Taipain are). Also, Renegade is dead. If after this show they choose to pick a drummer, I am completely 100% cool with that. I won’t continue with Renegade as I am not 100% cool and they have cooler drummers in the area who are keen to continue on and play riffs.
What does the rest of 2012 hold for Ghosts?
2012? Hopefully the release of our non-anticipated 7”, a Ceremony tour, the invention of a new kind of rum, and the entire demise of civilization. Oh, and hopefully Lochlan (our bassist) gets friend zoned by a girl, because that keeps happening and is always funny.
Any comments you’d like to finish on?
Everyone can suck our dicks. Please? No one else will. You’re still reading. We take that as a yes. Awesome.