Astonishing Londoners band ‘Ghosts Of Our Former Selves’ release a wonderful soul/funk track ‘Sea of People’ that will hit the Formula Indie the November 11th!
Night Church is the second album from London-based band Ghosts Of Our Former Selves. On the new record you can hear the band’s love of soul and funk but also their fascination with synth sounds and classic songwriting. While Marvin and Stevie might be a thread you can pick up, there are shades of Daft Punk, The Police and even Elton John. There is emotion in this record. The four years between first and second albums is bookended by the loss of fathers and the birth of children. In the middle a lot else has happened. Singer and lyricist, Theo Brehony, describes the life events behind the songs:
“An album is a slice of life. This is like a picture of all the things that have happened since our last release. It started out as an album about the breakup of a relationship but turned into a record about redemption, love, starting again, having children, becoming fathers. And that’s just the surface – there is a song about online dating, Brexit, Glastonbury, the weirdness of Dubai, the UK’s lockdown, couples in therapy… and living each day as if it’s your last.”
The album’s title track is a mix of 70’s classic funk, gospel and synth pop. It came about after Theo found himself in downtown Los Angeles late at night looking for a gig taking place in an old theatre. After negotiating the somewhat sketchy streets close to Skid Row, he eventually found the venue and was overcome by the shared feeling of excitement and a love of music shared with everyone who had managed to get there. There was a feeling of “if you know, you know”. This was a Night Church, a sanctuary appearing out of the darkness at the point in his life when he needed it.
“I was feeling alone at that point in my life. I had gone to LA to find something for myself. I came around the corner in this edgy area of the city and suddenly there were all these people going into an old theatre and we all had the same reason for being there. As the night went on and it became more and more euphoric, the phrase Night Church came into my head. Now I realise after the strange and unnerving times that we have all had that we all need this. We can’t wait to create this type of shared experience again.”
Another clear standout on the record is ‘Golden.’ Brehony was an only child raised by a single mother with Greek heritage. It was suggested that this would give him “golden boy” syndrome and his lyrics reflect “you can be a golden boy but you can’t be a golden man”. Theo, who has recently welcomed his own son into the world challenges this narrative, and suggests that if we can feel a little ‘golden’ in this life, we should embrace it.
While making this album, Theo and producer/band member Fred Ala became obsessed with the classic songs of the 70’s and early 80s and that influenced the way they recorded many of the songs. They wanted an organic approach with the whole group, simultaneously in different rooms. They would then choose a take and add extra tracks to give the songs a modern edge. Theo adds:
“At one point we just realised we had found the sound. It’s something you agonise over so I was pretty euphoric when I listened back to the drum track on Outsiders and knew it was what we wanted. I had watched The Defiant Ones documentary about Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine. At one point there is a story about Bruce Springsteen killing everyone in the studio taking three weeks to get a drum sound – we almost reached that level of insanity but we got there in the end.”
Mixing the album proved the trickiest part. The UK’s lockdown meant that the band could not get into the London studio owned by their engineer Charles “Chicky” Reeves. At least half the record was mixed on Zoom with an audio app – this meant Theo and Fred could listen back in real time, see the virtual mixing desk and then make comments. Fred remembers:
“At first it was frustrating because you don’t have that interaction or chemistry in the room but actually it makes you more focused. You have to listen and wait to talk. It also means no travelling to the studio which meant you could dip in and out of mix sessions while at home. I would n’t do this every time but we will probably always do this for some mixing sessions from now on. It saves time!”
Night Church has been a long time in the making, and took an equally long time to record but this could just be their most personal release to date.