by Sara Pena
Ghost, I x Adrián Cuerdo
Photographer Adri Cuerdo’s photo series features Paris-born Berlin-based musician Ghost, I. Below they share their collaboration together, and the singer-songwriter discusses his upbringing, songwriting, and his process for making new music. Ghost, I has been developing a unique fusion of live acoustic performance and experimentally produced music. His sound is honest and emotional, melancholic and mysterious yet often uplifting. His DIY approach to art and music is influenced by punk, his beats by hip hop, his melodies by soul.
- What does music represent to you?
Emotions, memories, traumas, fear, and love transcended.
- Would you consider your work as a catharsis of past experiences?I definitely think that looking in the past is a way to channel experiences that have been difficult or exhilarating and recreate those states on stage, theatrically, like a catharsis.
- Do you write your music with instruments or in your head? How does the creative process start?Both, sometimes I am just sitting down with the guitar and humming melodies over improvised chords and I come up with new lyrics or look into notebooks for poems I have been writing lately. Other times I wake up from a dream in the middle of the night in which I was hearing a piano playing a slow and intense progression with a lot of reverb on it and I have to stand up, with as little noise as possible to not wake up my daughter and partner, and tiptoe to the bathroom with my guitar to find out what those chords were. It is very overwhelming emotionally when a song comes like this. It is hard not to cry awkwardly in the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- Do you feel free to put anything in a song?I feel free to write anything true and embarrassing, but I would never allow myself to write songs from an entirely made up story. Because in the end I need to connect emotionally to it, so I can fall into the song every time I sing it. In my eyes (and ears) this immersion in the universe of a song is the most valuable thing for the artist and the audience.
- What did you think when you listen to your own songs? How do you feel now about your first couple of songs?I am both moved and embarrassed by the innocence of my first songs. But the ideas in them are always surprising looking back, it’s almost like a different person wrote it. My songwriting and producing skills always get better, so today it feels like a more precise and accurate expression of my identity. I don’t like to listen to my own songs but I love to perform them on stage.
- How much do you think the songs go towards building up a myth of a state of mind?The myth is just parts of my personality, pushed to an extreme. I take my so-called flaws, my insecurities, my obsessions, truths hard to face, and I go deep into it, until I reach the other side and come back with this superhero confidence that people can hold onto to accept and understand their own selves, their own truth.
- Have you done another record?
Yes, it’s almost finished. It will be out there by October. I don’t have a title for it yet and I don’t know if it is going to be an EP or an album, I have a lot of material but I am selective with it and I want to deliver something impactful.
- Are there any artists around today that you’d like to collaborate with?Kanye West, Yung Lean, Peter Doherty, Billie Eilish, Grimes, Chief Keef, the ghosts of Nina Simone, Etta James, Prince, and Amy Winehouse.
- Could you name 5 groups or musicians worth listening right now?Nadia Tehran, Död Mark, Kodama, Naim, Loco Candy.
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