Rising from the ashes of Therefore I Am, Ghost Thrower is a punk-centric force to be reckoned with. Boasting bleak, introspective lyrics over a flood of fuzz and distortion, their debut EP Get Miserable has been on repeat in our offices for months. Editor James Shotwell recently had the chance to meet with the band to discuss their history, future, and when, if ever, they will hit the road.
UTG: This is James from Under The Gun Review and we’re in Allston, Massachusetts, tonight. It is June 7 and we are at Great Scott. Joining me is one piece of Ghost Thrower.
GT: Hello. My name is Travis, I play guitar and sing.
UTG: Let’s start right at the top. How does it feel to play Allston? You talk about Allston in the song “For Austin” and here we are!
GT: It honestly rules. When I first started this band, It was kind of like a long running joke because my last band got to play Allston and Brighton a lot but it was never at a bar. When I started this everyone I rounded out and grouped up was just kind of like: “Alright, nothing serious. Just learn these songs, we’ll play Great Scott and have drinks. It’ll be awesome.” This is my first time actually doing it.
UTG: Now a month ago you re-released the EP (Get Miserable) through Equal Vision with a couple extra tracks (If you already have the first three, go get the extra two). You’re old band, Therefore I Am, was a part of the EV roster. Is it safe to assume that played a role in you working with them again?
GT: Yeah. I put the songs online, not really expecting anything. I was just kind of bummed out and recorded some music. When I brought it to Equal Vision they were the first people to say: “Oh, we like this. If you want, we’ll put it out” and knowing them from before it just kind of made sense. I mean… we were actually going to do it independently. It makes sense at this point in 2011 and with the music industry the way it is… but I, personally, grew up on Equal Vision and everyone in my band has an Equal Vision band in their top five. So when they approached us we were like: “Hell yeah, we’d love to again.”
UTG: Are you doing a full-length as well?
GT: Yes. As of right now we’re doing this EP and our second EP, which is recorded and sent to them, will be released in August or September. Then hopefully our full-length, which we are calling Lemons, will hopefully be out towards the end of the year.
UTG: Lemons, eh? So I guess it is safe to assume the themes from Get Miserable will be present here as well?
GT: Yeah. The first [EP] was Get Miserable, the second [EP], due out in August is called Has The One That Got Away, and the full-length will be called Lemons.
UTG: How many tracks are on Has The One That Got Away?
UTG: Five more songs… So you get two full-lengths in the next year, basically, between all the songs (5 per EP, plus one full length)?
GT: Yes. We kind of recorded it so that if you play the first EP back to back with the second…uh… the second EP ends with a four minute slow ballad and the first one starts with a six minute slow ballad and then goes into four. So you can kind of play them back to back and it counts as one album… so you could call it Get Miserable Has The One That Got Away.”
UTG: Ahh, I see what you’re doing. That’s the deluxe edition, when they slam them together.
GT: We’ll see if that happens. That would rule.
UTG: Or a 12″. You could split each side.
GT: I’m pushing for that.
UTG: You guys have a 7″ right now?
GT: Yup, [we have] a 7″ entitled Get Miserable. It has three of our five songs and it’s $5 online or at a show. A lot of people have concerns about where to buy a 7″, but it honestly doesn’t make a difference. You could steal the music, which rules.
UTG: You could buy it off BandCamp. It’s everywhere.
GT: Yeah, but I mean… if you’re a record collector, you’re going to buy it.
UTG: As you should. Are you a big record collector?
UTG: Is it a big deal for you to do vinyl?
GT: Yeah! It was cool! Therefore I Am did one 7″ and that was the coolest thing in the world and then when this came out it was just like “wow!”
UTG: There will probably be vinyls of the other albums for Therefore I Am.
GT: I hope so.
UTG: It definitely seems to be a trend we see a lot of on UTG. As the generation that loved music from, say 99-now gets old, many of those choosing to work in the music industry have also decided to put out their favorite band’s albums on vinyl. For instance, a good friend of our site pressed the entire Evergreen Terrace back catalog.
GT: That rules! I did not know that.
UTG: Yeah, they did. A small indie label acquired their discography and put it out. I can see this happening with old Therefore I Am as well.
GT: Yeah! Yes please! I think the biggest thing with the music in 2011 is the fact that it is accessible. You type in “Ghost Thrower Get Miserable Media Fire” and you’re going to find ten sites right away that steal it, which is cool, I mean I completely appreciate free art but if you’re a collector of something it is cool to also own and hold. Even if you never listen to it because you have an iPod and you’re always on the go, you still go “Damn, I have that record.” That rules. I feel like there’s going to be a big insurgence coming up soon.
GT: Yeah, hopefully. Something has to save the record industry.
UTG: You mentioned earlier when you started the band you were kind of “not anything serious, lets play these songs for fun.” Obviously it’s becoming serious.
When do you think that changed, was it Equal Vision?
GT: Um… no. It was kind of just… I recorded the initial ten songs as demos in my bedroom, or actually the attic of the place I was staying, and that worked out well. I went to my friend Mike who records music and I asked him if he wanted to record three of them, he did and that ruled. From there it was kind of like “Well, might as well keep going,” then from there it was “Well, might as well just start a band,” then when we did it was like “Well, we have a band, might as well play shows.” So it hasn’t been a concrete “Lets just do this” but it’s building. Slowly.
UTG: How does it feel to do it again and to start this whole process over?
GT: It rules. I always said when I was in a band “I’m never starting a new one. Starting from the ground up is hard,” but it is honestly a lot more fun than I remember it being.
UTG: Things have definitely changed.
GT: Yeah, definitely. Therefore I Am was a collaborative effort of five people putting our heads together to write music and with Ghost Thrower it was just kind of “Well, I have these songs. Do you want to play?” and they said “Yes, lets do it.”
UTG: Is that how it’s going to be for the full-length, just you coming up with ideas?
GT: No, no we’re actually a solid four-piece now. We’ve had some member changes and we’re all collaborating on Lemons.
UTG: That’s great! It’s obviously a personal project for you, so is it weird to share it with these guys?
GT: Not at all. Nick, our bass player, played in a Band called Ship Wreck and we’ve been friends for a few years, Chris played in Therefore I Am with me, and Ben is just a friend of mine who is the best guitar player I’ve ever played with so when it came time to actually write new music I would rather do it with them than alone. I mean… you can only write the same album alone so many times. [laughter]
UTG: It’s true, it’s true! There’s enough sad songs from solo guys out there.
GT: Exactly! The new stuff is kind of coming out a lot like Gaslight Anthem, Get Up Kids, and something angry all rolled together in a fight. I’m really excited to see how it pans out.
UTG: I think there’s definitely a feeling similar to those bands in there, but I like it. Does the sound come naturally or were you going for the older school punk feel?
GT: My whole life I grew up listening to Saves The Day, Murder City Devils, Jaw Breaker, Fugazi, and when it came time to write music it just, like I said with Therefore I am, it was a collaborative effort. So I give them a song that sounded like one of those bands and we would all kind of warp it and turn it into whatever; whereas with this, there was no outside influence…It was just how it happened.
UTG: It is a little dangerous because sometimes what is in your head is a much better idea than when it comes out on paper.
GT: Oh yeah, of course! One of our songs, “I’ve Never Damned You,” was actually some wimpy acoustic song that I wrote by myself. I was singing and I was just like “This kind of sucks” so then I recorded the drums on my computer and yelled over it and thought “This makes way more sense.” That’s kind of how that paned out.
UTG: Having lived in Massachusetts a few years ago and recently moving back here, “For Austin” definitely connects with me. While I don’t know too much about the story behind the song, the references to Boston and Allston are too familiar to deny.
GT: Yeah. That one in particular is about my best friend Austin. He was actually my first friend when I moved here and while I was writing that he just kept being like: “Dude, I’m moving to California. It’s going to be awesome” and I kept going: “No man, just hang. Boston is the place.” It was just kind of my way to say: “I’m writing this so you hangout with me. So please just stick around.”
UTG: Did he stick around?
GT: Yeah, he’s here somewhere. Somewhere in that area, he was at the show tonight.
UTG: Moral of the story: just as a song will win girls… it will win guys.
GT: Exactly. It won both of them.
UTG: So you have an EP in August, a full-length some point down the road.
GT: Somepoint. Hopefully by the end of the year.
GT: We’re doing a few dates coming up. Some stuff is coming up in the very near future. I can’t really talk about it but it’s going to be cool.
UTG: Comes with the label. Gotta keep some things under wraps.
GT: That and it’s not all the way planned so I don’t want to say anything yet but if everything works out it’s going to be awesome.
UTG: Well I’m sure you guys are going to be on the road sooner than later. Thank you so much for talking to me. By the way, if you haven’t bought Get Miserable yet, do so. It’s great. I enjoyed it.
GT: Thanks you man, I appreciate it.