As of right now, very little is known about producer, lyricist and painter oghost. Behind the artist are 5 tracks under his name whilst he appears in the credits of a large amount of tracks on his co-run label Everything is Perfect records. Lacking a profile picture on soundcloud and hiding behind his hand in his bandcamp picture (who’s to say that really is him?) the elusiveness of oghost is appealing, and thats before you hear the sounds. oghost’s tonality and timbre seem to resonate so deeply with an inner voice that is unescapable. His instrumentals seem smothered through a lens of disorder, but often through this alignment is a shiny reflection of hope, as though these songs come into existence from the void between wake and sleep; reality fading into uncontrollable imagination. Ahead of his upcoming album ‘I Love My Friends, And My Family’ I spoke to oghost about the album, painting and jazz.
What is your story?
I was born on the 27th June 2001 somewhere in Nottingham. My childhood consisted of moving from house to house and school to school. I’ve lived all over Leicester, Notts, Birmingham, Derby (which is where I am currently) and the midlands in general.
How did you come to music? How did you start producing music?
Mohammed Amin Islam. The last 3 or so years I spent at school before I went to college, he introduced me to the foundation of what I would begin to produce. He grew up thru the late 80’s through to the 90’s so he got to experience hip hop during its golden era. All the music he put me onto when I was 15 changed my life forever. Artists like J Dilla, The Roots, D’Angelo and ATCQ to name the least. One summer holiday I tried making some beats (janky as fuck) to show people when I got back from school, and from there I was obsessed. Saved up some money and got a Machine Mikro MK2 (which I still use), from there I taught myself a lot of what I know now.
Is there a particular era and place that you wish you could have experienced with the musical culture? And also, do you play the piano? It seems to be an instrument that is pretty common throughout your tracks.
The 70’s, jazz went through a huge change from the start to the end of this decade, would be cool to see it happen.
Yeah I play a bit but not that much. I prefer playing drums over piano because I feel more comfortable, but I definitely want to learn more piano at some point.
What are three records or artists that have influenced your life?
- Yawn Zen by MNDSGN
- Fantastic Vol 1 by Slum Village
- Black Focus by Yussef Kamaal
How did your upcoming album ‘I Love My Friends, And My Family’ form?
A lot of trials and personal tribulations. Every song is a heavy representation of my inner-self and the things I have been through and experienced in the short life I’ve lived. The whole process of the album has been a sort of therapy for me, from the writing to the conversations surfing the topics/ theme.
Do you think the sound of your instrumentals influence the themes in your tracks, or potentially vice versa?
Most of the time I make the beat before I start writing so yes, my lyrics are often determined by the mood of the beat.
The art that covers your music and you post for sale on instargram, how did you arrive at such a style of painting/drawing?
As an artist working on both the canvas and in sound, do you feel there is a resemblance in your workflow across these domains?
Yeah most definitely. I would say the resemblance comes from the lack of structure and the way I improvise everything. I never approach a canvas with the intent to paint something specific, I pick a colour I like and go from there; and it’s the same process with my music.
On your breakfastjazzmix, you’re featuring records that have been released through labels such as Strata-East, Black Jazz and Tribe. Are these labels significant to you?
I hold these labels very close to my heart. Each record has it’s own emotional/ spiritual value that I feel heavily when I listen to these labels.
What does jazz mean to you?
Jazz means no rules or limits, the freedom to create and express however you like. It’s more than music, it’s a conversation with instruments.
What sort of conversations do you hear throughout the genre?
Conversations about pain and hardships.
If you could have featured on any jazz album or in any group, which would it be and why?
An album titled ‘Rebirth’ by Earl and Carl Grubbs. Every cut on that record has these horn sections that are so catchy it’s beautiful.
What music have you been listening to on repeat recently?
Jadasea new EP with Redlee, that’s hard. A lot of MIKE and Medhane also. And that new Boldy James album produced by Jay Versace.
What’s your favourite film?
Basquiat played by Jeffrey Wright. It’s a film about Jean-Michel Basquiat before and after he got famous. David Bowie plays Andy Warhol, he’s a good actor to be fair.
A very big thank you to oghost for spending the time to share a few words here. For more things on oghost, follow his instagram, soundcloud and bandcamp along with his paintings. Album “I Love My Friends, And My Family” coming soon.