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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Holy Ghost! talks latest record, smaller venues

    Photo by Harry McNally, courtesy of Big Hassle Media

    Currently in the middle of a U.S. and Canada club tour following early September’s release of its second record, New York City synthpop duo Holy Ghost! will make a stop tonight at Club Congress. The Daily Wildcat caught up with member Nick Millhiser to discuss the pair’s writing process, their club shows and the new record.

    DW: What did you guys do differently with Dynamics, your latest LP, versus your first, self-titled record, in terms of the recording and writing process?

    Millhiser: The first one felt a little more difficult. There was a much more dramatic learning curve on the first record because there was not only the challenge of writing a record, but we were also sort of trying to teach ourselves all the technical aspects of the record as well, as far as engineering and production. This time around, the technical side came relatively easy.

    Along with the two records, you guys have done some work remixing tracks from other artists, including Moby and MGMT. There’s an obvious difference between the two, but can you discuss the positive aspects of each?

    They’re totally different in the sense that when you’re writing your own stuff, there’s the challenge and the reward in having to make the thing from scratch and writing from scratch. But we both love doing remixes. The fun of doing remixes and part of what makes them a little bit easier is that you’re already given a framework to work around, and, generally speaking, we’ve only taken on remixes that were things that we liked … in their original state. So your starting point is a pretty fully-formed idea. The fun of it is that you just take it apart.

    You and singer Alex Frankel have known each other since elementary school. Do you think there’s a certain dynamic that comes with the two of you knowing each other for that long?

    Absolutely. The nature of knowing and working with somebody for that long, and I think also starting when we were so young, I think our overall skill sets have evolved to complement each other. … As much as there’s overlap in what we both contribute, I think over time we both sort of evolved to complement and highlight what the other person does or make up for what the other person lacks.

    It looks like most of the stops on this tour are pretty small, intimate venues. Do you guys prefer those over the festivals?

    I think as a general rule, we prefer club shows. One, because we get all the time we need to make sure everything is set and everything is going to work and we’re comfortable, but at the same time, with club shows you’re kind of preaching to the choir. Everyone who’s at a given club show has come specifically to see you, whereas at a festival, I feel like half the time you’re playing to people who know your stuff and the other half of the crowd is people you’re trying to win over.

    What’s your guys’ end goal for a crowd that attends your shows? Your music is largely upbeat, so is the idea as simple as getting a bunch of people to come out and dance for a few hours?

    That’s basically it. That’s usually my goal for going to a show. It’s not supposed to be an overtly heady experience in any way. We just want people to come and have a good time and there’s no grand, philosophical statement behind our live show. I hope people feel like they’ve seen something different, maybe by the nature of which we play live with the band and stuff, but people walk away with some sense of appreciation of the way we do things differently than other people. But really, that’s pretty insignificant relative to the importance of just having fun. If people don’t have fun, then we kind of haven’t done our job.

    Follow Kyle Mittan @KyleMittan

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