New York’s excellent electro-disco-rock group Holy Ghost! gives you a fine reason to get some dancing in before Thanksgiving, as they check into the 9:30 Club tonight. In theory it’s a much smaller show than the last time they were in town, in August as part of this summer’s electronic music mega-festival, Identity. But there will surely be more people dancing to their infectious beats tonight than on that Tuesday afternoon in August when Holy Ghost! was stuck with a 1 p.m. timeslot on the makeshift outer stage in the Jiffy Lube Live parking lot and played in front of roughly 60 people.
In last Friday’s Weekend section I profiled the band and Alex Frankel talked about how Holy Ghost! grew out of a lifelong friendship with the band’s other principle member, Nick Millhiser. It was kind of warm and fuzzy. Here are the not so warm and fuzzy outtakes, in which Frankel talks about spending the summer on Identity. There’s also talk of some grade-school jamming and ‘controversial’ blog Hipster Runoff, after the jump.
On spending the summer as part of the dubstep-heavy Identity Festival:
Touring is very hard. It’s really hard right now to make a living as a band and to do it the way we do it. A lot of people do it as two or three people, or with a laptop — they minimize. We maximize when we go live because that’s just the school that we come from. From DFA, partciuarly from James [Murphy] and LCD [Soundsystem]. Everyone always thought that they were making so much money from Madison Square Garden and these guys must be rich or whatever. But everything went back into the live show in terms of production. As soon as they moved up a little bit as a band, they just put it right back in. And that’s what we’ve done.
It’s great, it’s rewarding, but it’s really hard to make it. And Identity was a good opportunity for us to be able to add a member, to tour a little more comfortably, in a larger band, and we kind of said, “Eh, we’ll give a shot,” because it’ll let us build as a band, basically. We were able to bring more people, hire a monitor engineer, stuff like that.
And we didn’t have that much expectation for it. The show you saw sucked. And a lot of them sucked. But some of them were actually really good.
It was a weird lineup. I don’t know what to say about that. I’m happy we did it in the end but it was definitely a strange one. We don’t even consider that as tour. That was some alternate universe and we learned way too much about dubstep and about [expletive] house music.
On how much Holy Ghost! had in common with the other bands on that tour:
From the making of the music to the performing of the music to the music itself I don’t find anything in common with those people. Or with the DJs that are playing mainstream house out of a laptop. I’m trying to limit [myself], but I could go on how it’s really, truly [expletive] up what those guys are doing to music and to kids. It’s just sad. Those guys don’t put anything into their show. They don’t care. They’re just in it for the money.
They are touring with a laptop with a set pre-loaded into it. It’s just an ⅛ inch [cable] out of a laptop. Not even a good analog to digital converter! Blasting it all in the red. And I don’t know — I’d like to believe that if you make for of an effort and do something more intelligent than that, that people will care. Or something. But you have to try a little bit. And it’s not fair. Those guys don’t try.
And because we are an “electronic” band or whatever, then we get lumped in with those people sometimes. And I feel no kinship or anything. They’re nice guys. That’s the thing — you meet the dudes and they’re all the sweetest guys! It’s always like that. And then your favorite musician you meet is such an [expletive]. But I don’t know what is going on in America right now. I thought electro-house-[expletive]-130-BPM bad imitations of French house, I thought that was as bad as it could get. But this is next level.
On his first band with Millhiser:
We were in the school band in fourth grade. It wasn’t an art school but it leaned that way, heavily. We had a program for a month in the middle of the year, they called it mini-term. Basically all the regular classes stopped and instead you had band class, stock market class, democracy simulation — all these classes where you apply things you were learning in regular classes.
The band class was me, Ben [Fries], who does our videos now, Nick and two other kids. We’d play in the storage room of the school and we had to learn the songs that our teacher picked. She was a hippie from San Francisco so we played, like, Paul Simon songs and stuff. As a reward we got to play one song that we could pick. And picked the Spin Doctors. So that was our first jam. And we’ve been playing ever since.
On Carles, the mysterious blogger behind ‘Authentic Content Farm’ Hipster Runoff:
I’m totally pro-Carles. I’m encouraging him to write a book. I think he’s one of the great writers of our generation. He really is. He kind of scares me a little bit. He’s been pretty nice to us and I’m scared that when we put something out the next time we’re going to get some awful headlines from Carles. I don’t really see it as mean. People say he’s mean or vindictive or he’s cruel — I don’t think so. I think he’s smart and I think he’s funny.