Lonely Ghosts is the solo guise of Help! She Can't Swim co-vocalist and resident guitar mangler Tom Denney. Originally conceived as a means of killing the hours during HSCS downtime, Lonely Ghosts status has quickly risen way beyond that of your average side project. Listening to the ubiquitous myspace demo's it's not hard to figure out why; beneath the lo-fi guitars, distorted vocals and Casio keyboards lie some of the finest pop tunes I've heard in a long while. To date Lonely Ghosts have supported Final Fantasy and Bearsuit, toured the UK with The Tumbledown Estate and recently contributed a track to Volume 1 of the excellent OIB Records Split Series (along with Munch Munch, Gay Against You and the aforementioned Tumbledown Estate). I spoke with Tom to find out more...
1. Given you are already in Help! She Can’t Swim what were your motivations for starting Lonely Ghosts?
Just to experiment with different ideas that wouldn't really work within the band. Also to test myself and see just what I can do on my own without any other people to bounce ideas off. Last summer the band had a bit of down time because people were moving to different towns and travelling and stuff so I had the opportunity to actually give it a shot. I ended up writing a lot of stuff and I just decided to give it the name Lonely Ghosts.
2. Do you view Lonely Ghosts as a band or project? Are there any plans to recruit a permanent band line-up to play your songs live?
At the moment I guess it's a one man band. I have other people play live with me sometimes but I still think the live show is developing. I haven't decided on one way of playing these songs live so for the moment I'm going to try out different things. I think it'd be cool to get a fixed band together some time though... I just need to find people interested in playing my songs so if any one's interested please get in touch!
3. How does the writing process differ from your band stuff, do you find it easier or harder to write and arrange material by yourself?
I seem to write a lot as I record. I come up with the bulk of a song on one instrument and just record that and then I work around it, making up other parts and vocals and programming drums. sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's not... I was nervous when I started that I was going to suck at writing on my own but I think I'm getting the hang of it.
4. What do other members of Help! She Can't Swim think of Lonely Ghosts, have they been supportive or nervous?
They've been supportive, I've actually got Leesey playing clarinet and doing some backing vocals on my mini album.
5. How have the gigs been received thus far? Any particularly memorable experiences?
I went on tour with the tumbledown estate playing joint sets together and we ended up playing a gig at a friend’s house party in London in a tiny box room. It was pretty mental. we'd just done a gig in Luton and drove down to London and got there pretty late. The people in the house were moving out the next day and so they were burning their furniture in the back garden. Everyone was wasted and we played in the smallest room in the house and played all our backing beats through a stereo cranked up to the max. We even had a crowd surfer. It was a messy night!
6. How did you get involved with OIB?
OIB Records is a label that was set up by a few of my friends in Brighton and has turned into a little collective which I'm now involved in. OIB is great!
7. Are there plans to release more material following your track on the OIB split? Will you be releasing the myspace stuff or newer bits?
I recently finished recording a mini album which will come out early next year on OIB. I've also got a full album written which will also come out next but I haven't finished recording that yet. The stuff that's up on my myspace will come out properly on these records as well as a lot of other stuff. I'm very excited about the mini album coming out. I recorded most of it at home and then went and finished it off with Justin Callaway who recorded the last Help She Can't Swim album. I think it sounds pretty different to what I've done with HSCS. It's still indie and pop and noisy in places but just from a different angle.
8. If you could take 2 bands of your choosing on tour with Lonely Ghosts who would you bring?
For a fun punk tour maybe The Thermals and Mika Miko. For a pretty/dark tour Xiu Xiu and Final Fantasy. For dream tour reform My Bloody Valentine and Neutral Milk Hotel.
Lonely Ghosts - 'Battle Ships' (Demo)
Volume 1 of the OIB Records Split Series features the Lonely Ghosts track 'Predictions' and is out now.