Discover up and coming bands in 10 questions…
31 October 2018
Nashville based sonic daydreamers PALM GHOSTS touched Turn Up The Volume‘s moony side of his soul some months ago with the release of their third, excellent album, entitled ARCHITECTURE. Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most delicate and captivating guitar pop longplayers I heard all year. Formed by Philadelphia native Joseph Lekkas, an experienced singer/songwriter/producer, this 5-headed collective generates that sort of gracious and magical pop melancholy that is able to relieve your moodiest moments,
able to make your mixed thoughts drift away on a cloud, able to forget your reality for
a while. Enough reasons to have a chat with the clan’s chieftain to learn more about his compelling music. Let’s start the acquaintance with one of the group’s fresh beauties…
Welcome, let’s roll…
1. What’s the story behind the band’s name and
how would you describe the group’s sonic identity?
“The name Palm Ghosts comes from the idea that darkness can exist in broad daylight, and ghosts can haunt the most unlikely of places. I’ve always been interested in the concept of duality. Perhaps it comes from reading too much Hermann Hesse in my formative years. With Palm Ghosts, I try to create cinematic and dreamy music. I love the sounds of 80s dream pop and many of the early 4AD bands as well as more aggressive post-punk bands like The Chameleons or The Birthday Party. In our early catalog, there’s even some indie folk and indie pop. I like to keep things a bit open, musically.”
2. You started this project back in 2014, Joseph. How does the band interact with you, as musical maestro & vice versa when it comes to write and record the songs?
“In the past, I used to write songs in a more traditional way, on an acoustic or electric guitar, rehearse them for months with a band, and record them. For the last couple of records, I write in my studio and record as the ideas come, and edit them later. So, I’ll come up with an entire concept, often with the help of Benjamin Douglas (guitars and keyboards) and then bring in the other members to play parts on the final recording,
thus adding their signatures to the songs.”
3. What or who inspired the newest album’s title ‘ARCHITECTURE’?
“On ‘Architecture’ I wanted to celebrate the more esoteric offerings of the 80s. Groups
like Japan, The 4AD catalog, Eno’s work with David Byrne, Peter Gabriel’s Security, even some 80s King Crimson, especially Discipline. So I immersed myself in that stuff and tried to build the songs from the ground up, inspired by those sounds. So, in my mind, the study of what made those songs great to me was, in essence, studying the architecture of that era, hence the name.”
4. Tell us more about the album’s front cover image.
“That cover was designed by an amazing graphic designer in Philadelphia named Matt Hanemann. I asked him for something inspired by Vaughn Oliver’s work with 4AD or Peter Saville’s work with Factory Records and I think he nailed it. It’s so perfect in it’s geometric minimalism and represents the music on the record so perfectly to me.”
5. To me the duet vocals – you and Erica Whitney Wilkes – give the songs a truly magic pop touch. How/when did the idea of using two voices developed?
“Thanks for that! There are not many groups that combine male and female lead vocals in that way. The Raveonettes is a band that does it to a degree, but not as heavily throughout their catalog. I remember thinking it might be cool to add a female voice to my recordings and then, I thought, what about a male / female co-lead situation. The first time I heard our voices in that way, it clicked for me and I thought it might be a signature sound for us. It’s actually quite difficult to pull off sometimes, as phrasing and pitch have to be near perfect because much of it is in unison. We rehearse quite a bit to make it work.”
6. Which song do you consider as the PALM GHOSTS signature track so far?
“I’d think ‘Love in Winter‘ would be my choice at the moment. It captures the dark dreaminess as well as the pop qualities of the band.”
7. New single TURN THE KNIFE is a beauty.
Was it part of the ARCHITECTURE sessions?
“‘Turn The Knife’ was not part of the ‘Architecture‘ sessions, actually. The record had been done for quite some time and I wanted to start writing some new songs and both ‘Turn
The Knife’ and ‘The Golden Age’ came together very quickly. So I released them as singles while I work on the follow up record to Architecture, which is around 50% finished.”
8. Which movie would you pick to visualize the band’s
music on a big screen while playing a concert?
“Interesting question! I think Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey
would be a nice visual representation!”
9. If you would go back in time on which artist’s front door would
you knock and ask to have a selfie together?
“A toss up between Salvador Dali and David Bowie.”
10. Your number one artist/band to go on a world tour with?
“Going on tour with Peter Gabriel would surely be something amazing.”
Thank you Joseph Lekkas for this cool chat.
May the road rise with PALM GHOSTS!
Stream/purchase ARCHITECTURE here…