Music Interview: The travelling Ghost of Modern Man

By Paul Jarvey

Rising from the depths of Regina, Ghosts of Modern Man brings big sound and enough rock for everyone. Brothers in arms against a lifestyle with an expiration date, they’re ready to burn this city to the ground with vengeance and volume.

Their latest release, City of No Light is a driving and expressive melee due to hit stores in the next few days.

“It’s about the things that have happened in our lives, the people we’ve met,” expands Stacey Hahn, late joiner and guitarist in the group. “It’s dark, but not entirely.”

Described as brooding and violent, the freely expressed anger in the album is never without mention of optimism and hope.

Formerly under the moniker Pillar, the group changed their name to Ghosts of Modern Man when Stacey Hahn joined as second guitarist just under three years ago. With renewed vigor, the Ghosts set out to share new songs and a new sound. The band played over two hundred shows without a hitch, blasting Canada from coast to coast and selling every copy of their premier release. In lieu of re-pressing the album, they decided it was time for a return to the studio.

Spending an impressive three weeks on their album in a basement created a unified and thoroughly developed recording. “You get into a strange state,” continues Stacey. “The ideas just flow. I’d never want to be in the studio for less time. Six months would have been awesome.” Smoothly integrated samples and the impression the musicians were born to play together suggest three weeks was perfect.

Almost predictably, the band cites Gang of Four, Hot Snakes, Radiohead, PJ Harvey and Fugazi among their most significant influences. In slightly different words, Chris Nelson from MuchMusic described the band as “The Best of Sparta meets Mars Volta.”

Fitting in among their contemporaries, the band feels at home with Smallman Records. “It’s a family kind of feel,” says Stacey, describing the label’s other bands as friends with similar minds and shared appreciation for each other’s music. “Our friendship always comes before our business.”

It’s not hard to see why. The labels other bands, including Moneen, Choke and Comeback Kid all share elements of style and the insatiable desire to tag team Canada’s stages in ruthless touring schedules.

So far, Ghosts of Modern Man has thrown successful CD release parties across the country with bands like Death By Stereo and Means to Burnthe8track and The Rocky Fortune. “We all love playing. It’s all we want to do,” emphasizes Stacey.

And they’re definitely ready for more. Their ambitious plan to promote City of No Light with another non-stop tour is bound to shake walls and melt faces everywhere. “If there were bars with sticky floors on the moon, then we’d be playing there.”