The Ghost Inside have cemented themselves as juggernauts of the metalcore genre. Their Epitaph debut, ‘Get What You Give’, pushes their sound into dynamic new territory, balancing out the overdose of aggression with newfound melodic sensibilities. The California five-piece will give their Australian fans a first-hand experience of their new material this September, touring alongside The Amity Affliction and Architects. Vocalist Jonathan Vigil sat down with Kill Your Stereo to talk about the band.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your role in the band?
My name is Jonathan Vigil and I’m the singer for The Ghost Inside. I’m a person who likes to have a good time and make the most of the time that I have on this earth. I’m always someone who has a positive outlook and kind of a light at the end of the tunnel mentality towards things.
What was the writing process like for ‘Get What You Give’?
The writing process was pretty much the same as the last albums, where our guitar player would write a bunch of stuff on the road and then when it came time to recording, him and the drummer would put it together. Then, I would come and work the lyrics to the music. This one was a little different because we had a new drummer, Andrew, who is also a songwriter in his old band, so he helped out with some of the writing. We had a producer on this album, so that’s kind of an outside source of ideas.
So there was more of a creative input from outside sources this time around?
Yeah, our producer didn’t really write anything, but he helped structure stuff and make choruses stand out a little more and stuff like that. He didn’t really write any music though.
The album contains some of the band’s heaviest material to date. What drove the decision to take this direction?
For ‘Get What You Give’, we wanted to be more aggressive, be heavier, be more melodic. With our last two albums, our first album, ‘Fury And The Fallen Ones’, we didn’t really have a style or direction. When it came time to record ‘Returners’, we just tried to write a better version than the first album. For ‘Get What You Give’, we had an idea, we had a direction, we had a way that we wanted it to sound, and we’re very proud of the outcome.
You guys have introduced clean choruses for the first time on the new record. Will this be a recurring element of your music in the future?
You know what? I don’t know. It’s not something that we planned on doing, trying to be popular, to change our sound or to get new fans or anything. A part just called for it. We didn’t force them, we didn’t try to squeeze things in that didn’t make sense with the band. The more melodic parts and the more melodic songs kind of progressed into that. The music just called for it. Assuming that we write another album that has parts that deserve parts like that, then we will write that kind of music.
What were some of the influences behind the lyrical content of the album?
I feel like I can only write about what I know and what’s going on in my life. For me, I wrote a lot of it about the sacrifices that every touring musician has to make to be able to make the band work and the perception that you have when you say that you’re in a band. People kind of look at you, saying that you should be settling down with kids and a job, and that’s not what I set out to do with my life. I wanted to make this band work and I wanted to travel and see the world. A lot of it deals with that, and we have a song about addiction because everyone knows somebody who has a problem with addiction of some kind. Every song has it’s own story, but it’s all encapsulated within the album title, ‘Get What You Give’.
What drove the decision to sign with Epitaph?
We were done with MediaSkare, so we decided to open our eyes and see what else is out there for us. We had some offers from some other labels, but Epitaph is such a good home for the band. It’s such a good family vibe, the way that they run things and how a musician is the owner. He knows how business it is, he knows what it’s like to be in a band and tour and put out records. It just felt like the right home for the band, the whole vibe of Epitaph.
What was it like to record with A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon?
It was great. Jeremy’s a very talented person, he’s very creative and he’s one of the most successful musicians in this genre of music. To have him on board for this album is incredible, because like I said, he structured a lot of choruses for us and he made our songs stand out a little more than if we didn’t have him. When it came time to try to incorporate a little bit of the clean vocals, he obviously had a lot of influence on that because he’s had a lot of practice with that. It’s what he’s successful for. He’s full of ideas and he pushes you to do your best. I think without him, that record would’ve sounded a lot different, but we’re very stoked with the way it came out.
Who are some of your musical heroes?
I think lyrically, one of the biggest influences for me is a band called Bane. Their lyrics have always been kind of straightforward but were always so well-written that they kept me intrigued. That was a huge influence on me lyrically. Vocally, I think my biggest influence is Poison The Well. ‘You Come Before You’ is exactly what I kind of shaped my voice into sounding like. If it wasn’t for those albums, those people, I wouldn’t be the way that I am in the band. Those are definitely two of my biggest influences.
What are some new bands and albums this year that you have particularly enjoyed?
Recently I’ve been listening to a band called Letlive. They’re on Epitaph, they’re really good friends of mine and I’ve grown up with the singer for over ten years. Their album is incredible. It isn’t like anything else in the scene or the genre, and they do it very well. A band called Transit has an album called ‘Listen & Forgive’ that they put out, and I think it’s one of the best albums that I’ve heard in the last couple of years. I can’t stop listening to that.
How has being in a band of this caliber for so long impacted on your life?
Well, you know, like I said earlier, being in a band is all I’ve wanted to do. It’s all I’ve ever dreamed of. It’s kind of corny to say I’m living out my dreams, but it’s the truth. I’ve been all over the world, I’ve been to Australia three times, I’ve been to Japan, South Africe, Europe. I’ve been to everywhere I’ve wanted to go or dreamed of going to. The fact that I get to do something in a band is really incredible. It’s definitely helped me to do other things to do but never really found the means. Now that I’m in this band, I’ve met so many cool people and toured the world. It’s really an awesome feeling.
Where has been your favourite place to tour?
I think my favourite place I’ve been to is probably Japan. I’ve always been a big fan of Japanese culture, and being there felt like I was in a different world. They are so respectful of American bands, or any band. In between song, they’re dead quiet, just staring at you and waiting to hear you talk. It’s kind of a good feeling. As I said, I’ve always been into Japanese stuff so being over there was definitely a big experience for me.
Tell us about the craziest thing the band has ever done?
Craziest thing the band has ever done… We toured South Africa last year and while we were down there, we had a day off in Cape Town and we did a great white shark dive, so all of us got in wetsuits, got in a cage and swam with great whites. That was definitely the craziest thing we’ve ever done as a band and I’ll never forget that.
What does the rest of the year hold for you guys?
Since the release of our new album, we’re gonna be on the road nonstop. We’re going to South America with August Burns Red after this, and then we’re touring some more in the States and we’re touring Australia too and Europe later on. We’re just staying busy on tour and playing shows.
Where do you see the band in five years?
Oh, man. This band has far surpassed anything I ever thought I could do with it, so anything from here on out is a bonus for me. In five years, if I’m in the same position I am now, I’ll be happy with my life. In five years, I always hoped to have grown, to have found more success and reach more people and to be able to have more fans for the band. With all that said, we’ve already got so much further than I ever thought we would, so I’m stoked for whatever comes.
Are there any comments you’d like to finish on?
Thanks to all of our Australian fans who have been supportive of our band for so long. You guys are the reason we’re able to come out there and party. Thanks for the support, and we’ll see you soon!