I think most of us that listen to electronic music have been waiting quite sometime for Holy Ghost! to release their Static On the Wire EP and it’s finally here! Another fantastic piece of news is that they’re on tour at the moment. If you’re not familiar with Holy Ghost! you can check them out here, I guarantee once you do, you’ll be hooked. Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel, the pulsating duo behind Holy Ghost! gave us a chance to become somewhat acquainted with them.
KB: Where are you right now? Describe your surroundings?
Alex: I’m at a recording studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with Eric Broucek (Babytalk/stickydisk) mixing a new song for our full-length album. Its 11am. I’m on my blackberry, as usual.
Nick: I’m next to Alex. He’s still on his Blueberry, as usual.
KB: Why the name Holy Ghost! And what relevance does your name have to do with your sound?
Alex: Nick and I took the name from a Barkays’ song we both love. It has a nasty drum break on it with awesome bass stabs.
KB: Since you’re called Holy Ghost!, is there subliminal messages in your music referring to God?
Alex: No. There are no subliminal messages.
Nick: we don’t really believe in magic.
KB: We’ve received your EP and well it’s a hit with all our writers, any plans to put forth a full-length release?
Alex: Well thanks! And Yea, definitely, the full length is 90 % done. We’re just sorting out logistics. Will be out within the year.
KB: How do you like working with James Murphy and the rest of the DFA family?
And how have they been influential in your production?
Alex: Oh, we love it. James and Tim taught us 99 percent of what we know about recording / making music and Jon Galkin and Justin Miller are awesome to work with on the business side of it.
Having a support team of friends and artists like shit robot, Juan Maclean, LCD, Gavin Russom…its a dream come true for us. Basically we’re on a record label that might as well as be a clubhouse in the West Village. We joke it should be call “DFA, home for waywardly boys.”
KB: What was it like being a part of the “Drunk Girls” video directed by Spike Jonze? It looked like complete mayhem
Alex: Very fun day! Spike held the attention of that crazy room and group of pandas for about 8 hours without raising his voice once. He was incredible. James, Nancy and Pat were pretty good sports too. Classic day.
KB: I’ve read that you guys admire Nigel Godrich. For those who don’t know him, why do you guys hold him in such high regards?
Alex: The Radiohead album Ok Computer, produced by Godrich, was pivotal for both Nick and I. We both loved it. At the time we were into hip hop pretty seriously (1998?) and this was one rock record we both could agree, “sounds fucking amazing.” And if nothing else, Godrich/Radiohead introduced us to the Roland Space Echo, a tape delay from the 70’s and early 80’s that we use on EVERYTHING.
KB: Have you ever had a chance to meet him?
Alex: Unfortunately we’ve never met Nigel (though we have met Radiohead), why, you got his phone #?
Nick: When we were 18 or so we went to a Radiohead show and Alex tried to call out Jonny Greenwood on playing a very uncool keyboard called the Korg Triton. Mr. Greenwood wasn’t having it and just straight up denied using it, which made the young, drunk Alex quite flustered.
KB: Your tour kicks off in May, how do you feel about playing with a live band? Is this the first time playing with a live band?
Alex: Nick and I have been playing in live bands since we were little kids, so we’re happy to return to it, for sure!
KB: I know that you both have been musicians since Elementary school, was there ever a moment where you had a desire to be involved in another industry / go down another career path?
Alex: No not really, we’ve been doing music professionally since we were 17.
Nick: Right now. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but this job is kind of doing my head in right now. I’m exhausted.
KB: What is it about music that you love?
Alex: I think the same things other people love.
KB: Is there a particular song on Static On The Wire, while you were in the studio that you were just like this is a fucking hit?
Alex: Not really.
Nick: Do you think any of them are hits? Please let us know.
KB: Do you have any other projects going on besides Holy Ghost!?
Alex: Nope, this is it.
KB: Is there anyone that you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Alex: Stevie Nicks.
KB: Do you think when starting off in the electronic music world that it’s always best to start off with remixes?
Alex: No, it depends how you approach things. The last thing the world needs is more crap remixes, done on a laptop in 20 min, mashup, hypemachine, bull shit. My little brother who’s 15, I asked him, “Yo what are you listening to?” And he said “remixes.” And I was like, ” can you be more specific?” And he said, ” like hypemachine, remixes.” I lectured him for a good 20 min on that response. “When I was your age we had albums! We had artists! We had real music!” Don’t get me wrong, I know I sound old and grumpy and stuff, and I understand the appeal of hearing Biggie rap over Johnny Cash mixed with Aerosmith on top of Tori Amos…I get it. But come on now.
But yes, remixing – real remixing, not mashup-ing – is a great way to learn about structuring songs, what works in clubs, the value of simplicity and good sounds, etc.
KB: If aliens were about to abduct you and they said you could bring one instrument with you. What would you bring?
Alex: A piano. No question.
Nick: Fender Stratocaster.
Questions by April and David