Even as past artistic endeavors come to a natural ending point, new inspiration can take root under the most trying circumstances. Ghost Work is a story of escaping cycles, the power of reconnection, and balancing the formative past with an unrevealed future. While time moved forward in fits and starts for the members of Ghost Work -- Sean Husick (Milemarker), Erin Tate (Minus The Bear), Aaron Stauffer (Seaweed), Dustin Perry (Snapcase) -- the urge to continue to create remained constant. With such an impressive collective background of prior projects, the pool of inspiration, resources, and chops ran nearly infinite, but the story began with a timely reuniting and a collaborative desire to pursue the same signal fire.
"Personally, I had a lot of music to make. To get out of me," says Sean Husick (guitar, primary songwriter). "I had been spiraling downwards for many years, between drugs and alcohol, and had not done anything creative to mention, but I got clean a while back and have been creating ever since. This is part of my journey of recovery." Erin Tate (drums) adds, "I re-met with Sean after many years of disconnection. We bonded over some rock bottom issues we both had to go through, and we ended up talking about music again. After my exit from Minus The Bear, I scrambled with my self worth and identity -- knowing that Sean had also gone through similar issues, really helped me want to get off my ass and create music again."
Light a Candle For The Lonely arrives three years after the band's debut release You'll Be Buried With and lands somewhere in a post-punk world, but with a grittier edge. Think The Cure and REM, but with an almost AC/DC level of recklessness. "I had been looking for more mid-tempo rock bands rooted in punk/hardcore and struggled to find ones that I could identify with other than some later Hot Water Music stuff, Interpol and The Strokes where I often landed," says Husick. "I set out to craft something in between these bands." "I think we are showing our confidence on this one," adds Dustin Perry (bass), "It is definitely another step forward for the band."
Vocally, Ghost Work leans again on the instantly recognizable and storied voice of Aaron Stauffer. "These songs are about the conflict between all that is natural and what we do with our minds and our creations that move us away from, or ultimately poison, the natural," says Stauffer, "[specifically] the forces that drive our worst selves -- addictions and want." Stauffer's professional life, like the rest of the band, has taken a trajectory away from music, and he now balances his waking hours between working as an emergency room RN, pursuing creative endeavors, and trying to find solace through surfing. "For a lot of these songs, I actually work on my vocal parts while in the act of paddling around the very cold California coastline. My plan was to listen to a song over-and-over in route to surf, so it would be planted in my subconscious. It was the same with an ER shift -- I would find myself passively [contemplating] a song as I worked, especially if it was a heavy situation."
As a primarily virtual band, the process of creating Light a Candle For The Lonely involve lots of back-and-forth. Individual jams and riffs turned into sketches; sketches became demos; demos became fleshed out and structured songs; and songs became nuanced and Ghost Work-ed. Final drum tracking took place in-person in Husick's Chicago studio. "We all had more input on this record," says Tate. "While I was in Chicago recording, Sean and I had a fair amount of time to tweek and re-tweek ideas. When the record felt pretty 'done' (as far as the recording), we felt like handing it off for mixing. Getting another head was the right thing to do for the greater good of the project." Mixing for the record was completed at Warrior Sound in Chapel Hill, NC by Al Jacobs (He Is Legend, A Skylit Drive, Beloved).
At its core, Light a Candle For The Lonely is a meditation on the stark contrast between the natural beauty of our world and universe and the uncertainty and de-evolution that keeps us from celebrating it. But within that unpredictability, certain growth and constants provide steadier footing. Light a Candle For The Lonely is the search for the authentic in place of the synthetic; the gratitude, humility, and dedication that is paired with a concerted renewal; and the reverberating sound of an unexpected reawakening.
Ghost Work - You'll Be Buried WithMay 5, 2023