Interview: Holiday Ghosts

Photo of band Holiday Ghosts
Natalie Howarth

Brighton-based indie-rock quartet Holiday Ghosts are to set off on their UK tour during April, following the release of their latest single Favourite Freak. Impact’s Natalie Howarth got the chance to talk to Sam Stacpoole and Katja Rackin of the band, who were originally a musical duo before the band evolved.

Holiday Ghosts was initially started as a solo project by multi-instrumentalist, Sam Stacpoole, then he and drummer Katja Rackin were a duo for some time before introducing bass player, Ryan Cleave and guitar player, Charlie Fairbairn. “The current formation is all folks who met in Falmouth, mostly doing different university courses. Except me – I’d just live there and hang with uni students instead of studying. Falmouth’s a small place so we were bound to run into each other and friends we did become. We all now live in Brighton and Hove.”

Fans have often observed that their multi-genre essence usually resonates with the modern psychedelia genre, however Sam seemed to disagree: “I disagree with psychedelia – I feel like we’re much too basic and stripped-back to ever make people feel trippy or hippy. I think indie is fair – since the world has moved passed the ‘landfill indie’ phase, I think good ol’ indie is ok again. I dunno – I always end up saying rock’n’roll, but less vintage.”

the blend of influences that enable their music to be both introspective and energetic

Their eclectic sound has a lot of influences from a range of genres including punk, folk and garage rock: when asked about their musical influences, Sam said, ‘’60’s garage rules. It’s pretty darn formative with the instrument sounds we use. For example, we try to get our drums at a gig to sound more like they did in a time before sub woofin’ PA systems. I think also, because of the cleanish guitar tones we use, perhaps it is reflecting the 60’s pedal free sound.”

A defining feature of the Holiday Ghosts’ sound is their use of harmonies that create depth and texture to the music, with the blend of influences that enable their music to be both introspective and energetic.

When it comes to the song writing, the band are collaborative in the process and Sam states that “we jam out all of our songs as a four before they are finished. When Kat and I write songs I think we rely pretty heavily on each other’s approval and ideas collaboratively at the very first stages.”

“Every word in this song is the truth, you could say Mr Herandi wrote this song, we just present it”

Their lyrics are poetic and abstract, offering space for reflection; a memorable song for me is Mr Herandi from their album ‘North Street Air’ released in 2021. A playful melody assisted by tuneful guitar riffs and a politically charged message about the mysterious, eponymous Mr Herandi who is based on a real-life landlord: “Mr A Herandi is a multi-property owning big-money-bastard in Hove and Brighton. He lives in Spain and doesn’t give a shit about the state of his extortionately priced maisonettes. Our first place in Brighton when we originally moved there was owned by him, and we had problems too numerous to mention. And this sick profiteering fuck was totally neglectful to say the least. Every word in this song is the truth, you could say Mr Herandi wrote this song, we just present it.”

As they are currently touring around the UK this month and will be performing at Are You Listening? Festival and Deer Shed Festival, I asked what their most memorable moment on tour was. “I once hit a C chord in The Old Blue Last and for some reason it blew my mind. It felt like the greatest C natural that has ever lived. There’s too many gigs to single one out. I like it a lot when the crowd is animated and comfortable.”

Following this, I asked what their dream venue would be to play is and Sam stated that, “I have always wanted to play at The Albert Hall in Manchester. I’ve never been there, but I’m pretty obsessed with the live Bob Dylan 1966 show. For that reason, I’d like to stand there. I also just really want Holiday Ghosts to play in the Princess Pavilion in Falmouth. I’ve played there a lot, just not with Holiday Ghosts. It’s one of my favourites.”

Hopefully we will see them in these venues soon! In the meantime, go see their show on 19th April at JT Soar in Nottingham; Sam says, “Please feel free to talk and heckle us throughout the show – it makes for a much better night.” You won’t want to miss it!

Natalie Howarth

Featured Image courtesy of Johnny Griffiths. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of @holidayghosts via Instagram.com. No changes were made to these images.

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