Ghost‘s recent Imperatour tour culminated in two sold-out shows at the 17,500-capacity Kia Forum in Los Angeles, a testament to their meteoric rise within the metal scene. But beyond the packed houses and ear-worm melodies, something else was brewing. Filmed for an undisclosed project (concert film? documentary? movie? Ghost‘s Tobias Forge remains tantalizingly cryptic), these LA gigs were a visual feast, complete with costume changes, a string quartet, and even a troupe of dancers.
And then there’s the elephant in the room – Papa Emeritus IV. Despite heavy hints of his demise, Papa IV remains alive and kicking. “At some point between now and when the next album comes, there will have been a change,” Forge concedes to Metal Hammer, “but that’s all I’ll say.”
One thing’s for sure, though: new music is on the horizon. Forge has already begun writing for the next album, but where he’s taking Ghost this time around is anyone’s guess. “I like to compare what I’m doing to being a chef. A chef with a few different interests and specialties. So you might start a few different restaurants – an Italian one, a Greek one, an Asian Fusion one. But what they all have in common is the seasoning, the decor, and the interior design… the secret sauce. With me, each record, each new cycle, is a new restaurant, but I don’t have to sit with an empty paper and come up with something new every time because the secret sauce is the same. If it comes from my notebook, it will sound like Ghost.”
And speaking of culinary experiences, Forge throws out some serious stadium-sized inspiration: Rammstein. “They were doing really well before, but since they’ve been doing the outdoor thing over the last three or four years, they’ve really upped the standard,” Forge enthuses. “They’re friends and colleagues, but I look at what they’re doing and it’s so inspiring to see. They definitely prove you can make that jump from being an arena-selling band to playing to 55,000 people a night. But you do need to put a lot of effort into it.”
“The one thing that goes against that dream for me is that I really don’t like outdoor shows, because you’re up against the elements. Outdoor shows are great when it’s slightly overcast, 20˚C out, no wind or anything. But if it’s windy or raining or too hot, it just fucks with my control tendencies.”
One thing is for sure: Forge does not waste his time dwelling on the past. “Of course, if I could go back in time and curate everything, there would be a few things that I would have done differently,” he admits, “but that has little to do with my actual career.” And what a career it is turning out to be.
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