It seems that these days that if you take a couple instruments, a 4 chord progression, and some decent lyrics, then you’ve got the foundation of a radio worthy band. As music is an art form, its nice to see a bit of creativity with musical styles, blending sounds that one would think of as a recipe for disaster. Caught a Ghost is that band that takes a wide array of influences to create a stunning mesh up of 60’s soul, 90’s hip hop and electronica that is a far cry from anything I’ve ever heard. And I like it.
Caught a Ghost is an LA based group, headed by singer, songwriter and producer, Jesse Nolan, who was able to sit down and talk about his band, touring and his appreciation of dance. The band consists of a staggering 8 members, and sometimes at most 11, which allows them to produce such a full sound. Nolan explains that for obvious “logistics” reasons they have to scale back the band to 5 while on tour. “It was designed to be scaled up and down. I like the idea of giving a performance just of me and the guitar, the full sound with a 3-piece horn is exciting or just a stripped down sound. I was a fan of 70s funk, small arrangements or the Pixies where its just nakedness of drums and bass but its still huge.” Despite the numbers, Nolan also admits that working with such a large group of musicians is pretty simple. “ It’s been really easy. [The musicians] are really talented and professional so they never need rehearsal. Everyone’s a pleasure to be around.”
Yet their shows, despite the arrangement, are made to be fun. When asked about what to expect at the show Nolan admits that there’s high energy. “We like to come out and make people feel good. I don’t want to mandate that people dance, but very often people find themselves compelled to move and I find that cool. I think its cool thing to do to move your body and express joy that way.”
Caught a Ghost has been getting mainstream recognition lately. Appearing on TV shows such as Suits and Vampire Diaries and even the season promo for Boardwalk Empire.
With a new album slated to drop early next year, possible international dates, and some music videos, Caught a Ghost is busy promoting their new music. Nightworks, their most recent album, is what Nolan describes as the “appetizer” for the new album, which will contain remixed older songs along with some new ones.
With such a distinct sound, I couldn’t help but ask how a seemingly unrelated collection of genres of music came together so well. “Aesthetic movements develop out of cultural tendencies that are happening. They appear different on the surface but they share a similar philosophical underpinnings.” Nolan explains, “Maybe its not immediately apparent but there are definitely different sounds that go well together. Searching for different combinations, like paint on a palette… sometimes it won’t hit, but sometimes you will come up with something new and interesting.”
Caught a Ghost will be playing in San Diego at the Griffin on Sept 30th. Check out their website here