Aesthetics of endless pain and suffering in melodies… Crossing the borders and discovering the contrast, melancholy in joy, dark side of the happiness, these are all you can experience via Ghost Bath music.
With this new vein of black metal having such sharp depressive vocals, raining screams, carrying unexpected atmospheric passages and adding aggressive crescendos, Ghost Bath comes by destroying what is known before and opening a new suicidal path.
|With Dennis and Tim in Leipzig|
My evil twin sister who is ready to blacken my world, introduced me the band with Moonlover album and showed me their Bremen concert record back then. It was an utter turning point, then I have been delving into Ghost Bath music with an endless dark desire. With the release of Starmourner, surprisingly I found a chance to make an interview with Dennis and Tim during Ghost Bath’s European tour at Leipzig concert on 16th November 2018.
Leipzig is a very special place for me due to that special concert of Mayhem happened on 26th November 1990 that I kept listening the record called “Live in Leipzig” intensely still by chilling. Therefore watching Ghost Bath live which is my foremost dark desire lately is kind an ending on a high note under that lunatic pitch black atmosphere of Leipzig.
I would like to thank Anne Swallow from Nuclear Blast for the arrangement of this blast!
Here is a long-winded interview with an unexpected turn into literature and philosophy deeply which shows the sophistication of Ghost Bath members!
“My idea was to take the sub-genre and make it more melodic with better recording.”
|Photo by Austin Scherzberg|
How are the reactions to Starmourner so far from media and how do you feel about the album? Starmourner has a different direction from Moonlover in musical sense, like going more toward post-rock carrying positivity in music when I compare bleak suicidal atmosphere of Moonlover.
Dennis: Yes. Basically it is definitely different than Moonlover, so I heard from the internet and fans that people who really like Moonlover don’t like this one or vice versa. But I don’t want to make same record so I can say that I am pretty satisfied.
You used the ecstasy concept for Starmourner while tragedy for Moonlover album. Why ecstasy over tragedy? Is there a reason why you chose ecstasy this time?
Dennis: Yeah, kind a like an idea from painter Mark Rothko did like, said like. Basic human emotions like ecstasy, tragedy and doom. I used tragedy for Moonlover and ecstasy for Starmourner.
It sounds like a trilogy. Is Funeral album doom part of this trilogy?
Dennis: No, Funeral is its own. Third part, “doom” will be the next album.
You made a contract with Nuclear Blast with this album. How did it happen? Nuclear Blast has been improving their black metal category lately.
Dennis: We had Moonover from Northern Silence Productions. Our producer Josh Schroeder worked with King 810 with Monte Conner who moved to Nuclear Blast. He got a contact with him and Monte called me. It took 8-9 months to figure things out for contracts and stuff. This is how all those things happened.
Ghost Bath started as one-man project but you have a fixed line up right now, right? But unlike you, the band members’ names are unknown still. Is it on purpose?
Dennis: (Laughings). When I first started, I didn’t want anyone to know who I was and where I was. Like on bandcamp, I did not put any location among all other places and then I just picked China.
Were you in China any time in your life before?
Where is China coming from then?
Dennis: I don’t know. There is no reason. Actually from there, I got a contact with Chinese record label, small one. And they put out the record and so it is listed over there. Then, another Chinese record label Pest Productions which should have been bigger put up Funeral.
So label is from China hence the rumors came from there?
Dennis: But I also put China as location too (laughing). I originally had 4 band members which are completely different then these band members right now. They quitted right away because they don’t like the vocals and high pitch things. So I closed down their faces and put their names in Chinese.
What is the current line-up now?
Dennis: We have Tim, John, myself, Pin, Josh. Until then we were like a live band and I was doing the music but we are a band right now and gonna write the music all together for the next record.
As I understand, specifically on Moonlover album, you do not use any lyrics but meaningful, abysmal screams conveying abstractness instead of it. It was quite surprising for the listener and interesting approach for an ambient/post/black metal band. What do you wanna say about this?
Dennis: You should have heard about the bands like Sigur Ros from Iceland?
Yes, I like them a lot.
Dennis: They are sort of doing the same thing like making the words to go with the music. I just do it with screaming.
Yeah, it is a creative thing. Will you do the same thing for the next album? You started to put some lyrics at the Starmourner album already but…
Dennis: I don’t know yet if I wanna put the lyrics or not. We will see at the next album. But we didn’t start writing lyrics on Starmourner, we already wrote lyrics on Funeral album before.
Ah, yes. So, new topic is coming; Literature… You are also into literature and writing as I know. So your words seem like busy with other projects which are denser. Please tell about which genre are you writing and the general concept of them?
Dennis: For 7 or 8 years ago, I was really sick and couldn’t do anything and for some reason I decided to start writing. That was the time I started writing seriously, there were other stuff that I wrote previously. I just became obsessed writing podcast, watching videos, writing, reading books, trying to write something that is to be published. A year and half I finished a book but I didn’t like it so I am writing few more now. I feel like I am getting better the more I write. We will see by time.
“Art, philosophy, spirituality are connected altogether.”
In which genre are you writing on?
Dennis: The last one was sci-fi, this one is epic fantasy.
As I know, this epic fantasy book that you have been writing will be a trilogy, right?
Dennis: Yes, it was like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, something like that.
Ballad to the Stars is the name, right?
Dennis: For now, it is called Ballad to the Stars. But I will see when it is done.
I am wondering about your influencers or authors you would like to read?
Dennis: I like Terry Pratchett, I really like the humor and satirical fantasy of Douglas Adams at “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”. I like the darkness of “Malazan Book of the Fallen” and I took influence from that as it has different kind of characters and worlds. I definitely like “The Lord of the Rings” for the journey and quest at there.
Tim, you are into philosophy, right? Which era are you interested in?
Tim: I am interested in a lot of different stuff. May be 5 years ago I started to read Buddhism. I actually started reading Sartre and eight different existentialist philosophers. And I see many connections between Buddhism, Hinduism kind of philosophies with Sartre and other phenomenologist philosophers like Sartre. So I started to make connections between eastern and western philosophies. Lately I am really obsessed with that so I read everything I could.
Speaking of phenomenology, Husserl came to my mind as a foremost phenomenologist. Did you read his works?
Tim: Husserl? Absolutely and also Heidegger, they are all huge influence on.
By the way as a reader, have you found a definition of phenomenology yet? As you know it is somehow incomprehensible.
Tim: Yeah, I would say it is closer to practice or kind of meditation. It is not just ideas.
Like a method?
Tim: Yes, actually it is an actual mindset. Method of meditation that you can enter a certain path your mind can go down. You can use it basically to understand yourself, consciousness, relationships and reality better.
“Sort of trying to express the connections between music, philosophy and meditation by writing.”
|Photo by Austin Scherzberg|
As it focuses on appearances of experiences, so I am thinking that Ghost Bath as music project can be said to carry some phenomenological approach?
Tim: Generally music to me is music and writing together. I mean I am working on my collection of essays right now. I have been writing and filling journals for last few years. I am reading, travelling and writing essays. Sort of trying to express the connections between music, philosophy and meditation by writing. Art, philosophy, spirituality are connected altogether. Yes, I do see many similarities between the experiences of being on stage playing music and phenomenological procedure that you sense that you are surpassing just regular thought and going to more like a flow of the state, kind of meditative state. It is kind of seeing the reality in more clear way.
Speaking of Sartre, he has a political side too, you know.
Tim: Yes, yes Sartre is my entry way of learning Marxism because of his critics. As a fact, he isn’t just simply loyal follower of Marx, he comprehended it. His critics of Marxism is huge influence on me in terms of politically.
I have been also studying Simone De Beauvoir and sharing her views.
Tim: Ah yes, I read those letters that they wrote to each other and their own journals also. It is huge influence on me for writing because I read the journals to see how they traveled Europe while writing on the same time. It inspires me just like our music inspires me. I want to do the same thing, to write some journals about philosophy.
|Photo by Austin Scherzberg|
Do you have any plans to release a book in the future?
Tim: Yeah, basically I have 4-5 years of essays, some going through rereading of them and categorizing them and then gonna select the best works of mine and put it altogether. It won’t be in chorological order, it will be like ‘this was the day and this was where it is written’ like collection of different essays. Themes are philosophy and travel and just like that.
It sounds very interesting; I really would like to read when it comes out.
Tim: I don’t how long it will take, I have never made a book before but I have just been writing a lot and I have to do something with that to see it in the shelves. Writing is a really nice thing. Sometimes I go back and open up an old journal to look and I find out that I expressed something so perfectly that I can’t believe that I wrote it. But there are also times like that I say it sucks and I don’t like it.
As I am a horror story author, I would like to ask if you are also into horror genre. Do you like Edgar Alan Poe as one of my influencer, for example?
Dennis: I think, I prefer Lovecraft.
Tim: Tell Tale Heart is so good!
“Sometimes I use art to escape from suffering.”
|Photo by Austin Scherzberg|
What does melancholy mean for you in your own words?
Dennis: I think it is like not caring about anything. Nothing really matters at that point.
Tim: I guess it is like a physical pain in my stomach. It is how I experience it.
As you are dealing with suicide, death, loss in your art. Do you think if art is born from suffering?
Tim: Sometimes I use art to escape from suffering kind of ritual.
Dennis: Yes, there are connections. But to kill himself, to be depressed or whatever the connection it is, sometimes art causes it while another time art is the result of it.
Do you think if it doesn’t have to be suffering to create an art?
Dennis: I think it is better, if there is. But that is my personal view in the end.
Which music styles do you listen? Who are your influencers in music?
Dennis: What I listen and my influencers are completely different. What I am listening now are ambient stuff. If I am writing, I listen soundtracks and classical music. The influencers for Ghost Bath were originally Agalloch when I started the band, Silencer for the vocals and depressive suicidal black metal bands. My idea was to take the sub-genre and make it more melodic with better recording.
Tim: For influencers, a lot of stuff so it is really hard to pin down. But when I was young I was listening grunge like Alice In Chains, definitely who has melancholic dark sad stuff in the music. I think they influenced my guitar playing too.
Have you contacted with your fans? After all those EU and US tours, do you know what kind of listeners do you have?
Tim: Well, we are known as a depressive band, so we tend to attack many people who have mental issues. :)
Dennis: There are all kinds of interesting personalities. :)
Tim: I am always talking with the fans, I give answer their questions and honestly I like to know them. I like to have interesting conversations.
Dennis: I run the band’s social media. We always get the messages after the shows like “oh, I am too shy to talk to you. But you were really good”. Everyone can come and talk to me, it is fully ok.
What about new album? Any plans for the date or the concept of the new record?
Dennis: No set date. After we return from this tour, we will take a little break and then start writing the new album. We already have some riff ideas and our drummer also have been working on drum parts. We do have the concept, the name and some riffs so far.
We came to my last wish from you and last question as well. Is it possible to tell me a song having best black metal riffs ever according to you? Thank you for the interview.
Tim: At the record called “Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam”, all the songs and the guitars are so crazy. Every time I listen this record, it gives me chills. The song called “Carving a Giant” has the best riff as a song. That record with its every instruments is a deep kind of black metal. It is the only record I found that really hits me and almost like a spiritual experience for me.
Dennis: I think the song “The Pale Mist Hovers Towards the Nightly Shores” from Carpathian Forest EP “Through Chasm, Caves and Titan Woods” has the best riffs, drums, vocals, everything I think. Other one is the song called “Into the Painted Grey” from Agalloch’s “Marrow of the Spirit” album. It is a 12min song and it has really cool guitar riffs.
Golden Number/ Moonlover
“Basic human emotions like ecstasy, tragedy and doom. I used tragedy for Moonlover and ecstasy for Starmourner.”
|Stories of Starmourner|
GHOST BATH refers to the act of committing suicide by submerging in a body of water. The band writes and creates under the assumption that music is an extension of one‘s own soul. They journey through the sorrow and sadness that all lives experience, but leave a glimmer of hope.
"The album explored melancholy, sorry, depression, and earthly things," says Nameless. "It represents purgatory and, most importantly; tragedy. The trilogy will represent basic human emotions and the experience of an afterlife simultaneously."
"The stories, or parables, look into Jewish angelology and the hierarchy of angels as found in the bible and other religious texts,"