Ghost Owl on Building a New Audience: "Get Your Ass Out There and Earn It"
Just a year ago, Adam Perry, Albert Suttle, and Matthew McDonald went on hiatus from their previous band Perpetual Groove and formed Ghost Owl. They decided to change their style a bit, freeing themselves to explore new sounds, going for a harder, more rock feel while retaining the entrancing elements and textures that ran through Perpetual Groove's music.
In this one year, Ghost Owl toured heavily; shared the stage at festivals with acts like EOTO, Kung Fu, Conspirator, and Zoogma; and released its debut album, Say Goodbye to Finland, to rave reviews. The album is one of the fresher, newer-sounding releases we've heard in a while. It presents a near-perfect balance of electronic jam and rock without ever straying too far one way or the other.
Adam Perry (singer, synths, and bass) was kind enough to have a little chat with New Times before Thursday's show to discuss how the last year went, the album release, and a little bit about what the future might hold for Ghost Owl.
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New Times: What has been the overall reception of your debut? How do you yourself feel about it?
Adam Perry: It's been a lot of great positive things. We've got positive reviews; people seem to be really digging it. We have Madison House booking us now, and I think that has to do with the album.
It did what we wanted it to do. We're not afforded the luxuries of being able to grind it out like we could before; we wanted to make sure we could put out a quality product and have it do the legwork of getting our name out. We're really excited to hit the road again because this is the first time we get to play our songs the way they are on the album. We changed them a lot in the studio; it feels like we started another new band.
It was announced that on this tour you will be adding Adam B. (AKA Elbo_Jones) to the lineup. Is he going to be a permanent member?
He's not really in the band. He's going to be doing a bunch of shows with us. We've decided to play with a revolving door of fourth members kind of thing, because there's just been so many people we've wanted to play with over the years. It's a way to play music with a bunch of different people, and nobody has to make a serious commitment right off the bat. And if things change and we all want a permanent situation, we'll do that.
I like the idea of, "Oh, this tour was with so-and-so and it made it different from the last run." Not superdrastically but to add a bit, like seasoning a bowl of chili, put a little bit of this in there, add this seasoning here. It makes for a little bit more work in the practice room.
Last week, we clocked in about 40 hours of practice time. I just want to be able to get back to being able to do this constantly again. Practice, for me, is fun and rewarding. Nothing is as rewarding as doing a show and knowing it went great, and that everything came together. Knowing you put the time in to make it that way.
What has it been like, after touring with a band for 18 years to pretty much transform into a new entity and start from scratch?
It's not easy, man, it's not easy. When you take away a lot of the luxuries that you get when you have a little bit more, (laughs) you know? With the old band, we were doing it for so long and working at the fan base having to start over, the luxuries fade away.
But it's what you want, you know? Get your ass out there and earn it. Nobody has handed anybody anything for free. You got to go out there and earn. People aren't going to put up with lackluster crap. People work hard for their money, and they aren't going to spend it to see a hack band play. You gotta prove it, or you might as well go home and sit on the couch.
Do you have any specific goals you'd like to achieve as band? Personally?
I'm pretty much just taking it as it comes. Because my goals, seem very vague and far off right now. My ultimate goals are a ways off, so I'm just keeping my head down and working hard. I don't want to feel "rewarded," I want to keep the attitude that I'm far from where I want to be. I have to keep my foot on the gas pedal type mentality when it comes to songwriting. I know about myself that I don't want to slack off on the work ethic because I'm starting to feel accomplishing things. I have to take that in small doses, stay focused... I got goals, but I don't even know how to put realistic terms to them. (laughs)
What does Ghost Owl have on the horizon?
We have our dates with Papadosio coming up in October. We're really excited to be working with Madison House booking right now. There are a lot of good things on the horizon coming through them. We're definitely excited about our Florida run, at practice we were talking about it the other day. We can't wait.
Ghost Owl with Shark Anthony, 9 p.m. Thursday, October 2, at the Funky Buddha Brewery, 2621 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton. Tickets cost $10 at the door. Visit thefunkybuddha.com.
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