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The Black Ghosts: When Animals Stare

The new album from Fake Blood and Lord Skywave's collaboration fuses their electro background with indie-pop sensibilities for a new sound

The Black Ghosts have gained a peculiar assortment of fans from the electronic music underground to over-excitable teenage girls with a penchant for the unnatural. Theo Keating (Fake Blood) and Simon Lord (Lord Skywave) caught people’s attentions as a collective in 2008 with their self-titled debut album. Their lo-fi electro take on indie-pop set blogs alight, whilst Full Moon grabbed the attention of the Twilight producers who used it on the multi-million dollar film’s soundtrack.

Their return When Animals Stare runs along similar lines. It has been constantly developing over the past three years rather than the duo booking a studio for a month and blasting out a record. Those expecting a heavy techno fuelled album – a scene Fake Blood is close to monopolising – may be disappointed. But with much more relaxed and mature production value allowing the ethereal vocals of Lord Skywave to drift over the top, The Black Ghosts have created a delicious serving of audible treats.

Dazed Digital: Hey, how’s it going?
The Black Ghosts:
Hey yourself! I'm doing exceptionally well thank you. I'm at home in my studio making a list of words to use more. I've been up to making tonnes of new music and finding ways of making my computer sound fucked and dirty.

DD: When Animals Stare is all packaged up and ready to be rolled out, but when did you pick The Black Ghosts project picked up again?
The Black Ghosts:
We've gathered new material as inspiration has struck. We both produce everything ourselves independently so there's no time pressure or studio sessions booked - we just sit in camouflage waiting to ambush the tunes as they wander past.

DD: Are you happy with the result?
The Black Ghosts:
Yes, very happy. We didn't make it because we had to or were obliged. We’re still excited about collaborating together and what the other brings to the musical table. We feel this record is the next step - it's refining and elaborating on the blueprint we put down with the first record.

DD: How would you describe When Animals Stare in a single sentence?
The Black Ghosts:
The sound of a robot casting spells in a disco on the moon.

DD: How did the production work?
The Black Ghosts:
The whole way the Black Ghosts work is that we have complementary talents and we don't step on each other’s toes. Theo leaves the vocals and lyrics to me and I leave the beats and production to him. We send each other files over the Internet to work on and have never actually made a tune in the same studio.

DD: Have there been ideas since the last album which you have held back especially for The Black Ghosts, rather than use as Fake Blood or Lord Skywave?
The Black Ghosts:
There's some tracks which naturally fit into The Black Ghosts corner and we hold them for that - The Black Ghosts flavour is quite distinct from our solo projects so there isn't any crossover.

DD: Surely there is a huge queue of people lining up to remix some of the tracks?
The Black Ghosts:
We really worked the remix thing with the first record and got some great tracks from it, but this time we wanted to take the focus back onto the album. It does feel like the scene has been swamped by remixes over the last years mainly by people who want to make a name for themselves rather than actually having something interesting to offer. Maybe we'll see if Mr Fake Blood has any time to squeeze something out…

DD: Are there any plans to take the album on the road?
The Black Ghosts:
We've no plans at the moment. Theo's DJ schedule is pretty intense and we wanted to keep The Black Ghosts true to what it is - primarily a studio based project. We don't really write club floor fillers or stuff that can be played by a live band so we're somewhere in the nether regions with regards to live performance.
Having said that, I've done an acoustic version of the album highlighting the songs in their raw state. And of course if the record goes triple platinum, we'll get out the stage show with lasers, dwarves painted gold and our troop of dancing skeletons.

DD: What does the future hold for The Black Ghosts beyond When Animals Stare?
The Black Ghosts:
We're both busy with our fingers in lots of musical pies but I hope we'll begin the process of making another album again - there's still a lot of undiscovered territory for us.

Text by Will Gilgrass