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TOBIAS FORGE Discusses How He Started GHOST With A Demo Of "Stand By Him"

Nearly two decades ago at this point.


Ghost got their name out in 2010 with a demo, a 7" of the song "Elizabeth," and their debut album Opus Eponymous. But four years prior, Ghost mastermind Tobias Forge was trying to see if the project was viable at all with a demo of "Stand By Him."

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In an interview with Jon Weigell on Rolling Stone's Twitch, Forge said he hit the studio with a former bandmate to record "Stand By Him" and felt pretty confident that Ghost would be something he'd enjoy doing.

"Originally it was just an experiment. When the seeds of Ghost were planted, it came in a very pure form of a song… I think most songwriters recognize this; you sort of just play around with ideas, and sometimes you come up with ideas that feels slightly detached from your current band, but they still might feel inspiring. This song, at the time, had some power to it that I really liked. And then, it ended up being 'Stand by Him' on the first album.

"What ended up happening was that I didn't have a studio myself, and a friend of mine who I'd played with in previous bands, both in Repugnant and Crashdïet and Subvision. But at the time in 2006, we weren't in the same bands anymore. And I just asked him, 'Can I come by in the afternoon, just record something?' And you know, very quickly, like, 'Oh, here's the drum beats that I want… just give me the bass, give me the guitar.'

"And it was just a quick sketch of the song. And he said, 'This is great! Can do a band again.' And I said, 'Well, this song came so intuitively, and it's so odd.' Or it feels, in my mind, sort of revolutionary odd. So in order for me to feel like that is a great idea, I need to write a few more songs and see if there's more where that came from. And eventually, there were.

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"And I think what really got me to continue writing and eventually choosing to set all the other projects aside and focus on this one thing was the fluency of writing. It felt like it was really combining a lot of the things that I like. My playing background comes from very extreme, very noisy music. But I grew up with a lot of melodic music, and not only rock.

"It was of all kinds of pop stuff, everything that was on the radio in the '80s I've digested. I've always had you know, a fascination for big vocal music. With that, I mean everything from Toto to gospel music; everything that has a lot of strong, well-sung vocals with harmonies. Look, I like Johnny Rotten too, but I wanted to combine that evil-esque music but with sort of an AOR vibe."

Now over a decade later and Ghost has Impera under their belt, which just won the American Music Awards' first-ever award in The Favorite Rock Album category, is up for a GRAMMY, and sold very well upon its release. Forge also recently revealed he's working on "the vibe" for a new Ghost record that we're hoping comes out in 2024.

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