Addict Music Interview – Ghostpoet
August 22, 2011 by Joanie Eaton
What an unparalleled year South London bred, Obaro Ejimiwe AKA Ghostpoet has had. Boasting an iconic collaboration with Kano, commendable festival slots throughout Europe and a well-deserved Mercury Prize nomination for his debut album ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’, can the bloke do no wrong? Falling amid the cracks of an assortment of genres, ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’ reeks of pure, creative trip-hop innovation, blurred and battered around the edges and complemented by intelligent, sharp lyricism.
Ghostpoet. It’s a name you should start getting used to.
So big, big news- you’ve been nominated for this year’s Mercury Prize for your debut album ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’. Massive congratulations. How on earth did that feel when you found out?
Thank you very much! It felt like I was floating on air really…to tell you the truth I still am! It just felt so amazing to be seen as good enough to be part of such a prestigious thing and it was a real confidence booster to musically keep doing what I’m doing.
Very standard question: What’s the story behind the name ‘Ghostpoet’?
The “ghost” part I guess came into the name from a fascination with ghosts and the paranormal when I was kid and the “poet” was placed in to differentiate myself a little bit from the idea of being seen as just a “rapper”. I wanted a name that on first glance you couldn’t make out what music was behind it.
Amongst others, nominees include James Blake, Adele and Metronomy. Who do you feel is your main competition? And have you got any favourites on there yourself?
I don’t really feel it’s a “competition” really, but I if I had to pick a winner I would choose Metronomy. Love their album…love those guys!
How would you sum up ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’? What were your main inspirations for the record?
I guess the LP is a snapshot of my life, the life’s I come into contact with and a musical mixture of all the sounds I love. My inspiration/s is life and its myriad of colours and the emotions that come with it.
Still early days but- any plans for a second album yet?
I’m creating little demos on the road at the moment, but I’m nowhere near the stage of working on album two properly…the time will come!
Vocally, you have a really distinctive, almost slurry tone. Are there any specific artists/bands who have influenced that?
Not really- well not consciously. I’ve always admired the styles of people like The Streets, Roots Manuva, Skinnyman and Jamie T but I’ve tried to mould my vocals/lyrics around the music I make to make them as unique and real to me as possible.
How would you describe your sound to a Ghostpoet virgin?
Experimental, Electronica Hip-hop with a dash of lemon and a pinch of salt.
To follow up from the success of ‘Cash and Carry Me Home’, you’ve got your final release from the album, ‘Liiines’ out on September 5th. The singles are quite different. Excited for the responses?
Most definitely! It’s always exciting putting a new single out and this will be my third. I’m really happy ‘Liiines’ is coming out, especially as it may be the last from this album. It really means a lot to me, lyrically.
You supported Metronomy and Jamie Woon this year. How was that? Any tour shenanigans?
Indeed, I was lucky enough to support those guys this year. I learned a lot from both Jamie and the Metronomy gang, especially on playing live and general musicianship. They’re really great people which made both tours such a pleasure. Tour shenanigans? Hmm…I once had like six teas’ after a gig…does that count?!
Do you still get nervous before live shows? Or does it feel like a bit of a breeze when you start to get used to it?
Fortunately I don’t get nervous anymore, not really. It used to be really bad. I used to shake and I wouldn’t be able to speak before going on! I guess with repetition things just become a little easier.
Speaking of tours- you’re just about to headline your very own. How incredibly exciting. What can people expect from one of your live sets?
Yes and I’m really, really, really looking forward to it! Well the live set is much more energetic then the album listening experience I would say, with some experimentation and good vibes thrown in. I just hope people will enjoy themselves and shake a leg or two!
Ghostpoet UK tour dates:
22 Cardiff Arts Institute
23 Edinburgh Sneaky Petes
24 Glasgow The Captains Rest
26 Dublin Whelans
30 Oxford O2 Academy 2
1 Bristol Start The Bus
4 Birmingham O2 Academy 3
5 Winchester The Railway
6 Portsmouth The Registry
7 Nottingham Rescue Rooms
8 Sheffield The Harley
9 Manchester Deaf Institute
10 Brighton Digital
11 Leeds University Union
12 York The Duchess
13 London Scala
14 Newcastle The Other Rooms