Racket Ghost interview with Benjamin Astro, Corey Kellicut and Sarah Koliboski

March 6, 2014

Racket Ghost interview with Benjamin Astro, Corey Kellicut and Sarah Koliboski

You’ve got garage, you’ve got surf, you’ve got a dash of
some good old fashioned garage rock, punk and some seriously heady psychedelia
going on.  What more do you want?  Of all the bands riding the West Coast
revival wave I’ve never heard another band that comes close to Racket Ghost,
and to be honest I’m not even sure that’s what they’re shooting for.  There’s something vividly original about
Racket Ghost, teetering between their surfy reverb drenched inclinations and
their rawer more punk rock garage sound that reminds me somewhat of The
Epsilons or Fuzz.  It’s a devastatingly
effective package.  With a single that
sold out in three days on Goodbye Boozy and a cassette tape coming soon on In
The Records that’s sure to disappear just as quickly, I knew it was time to
track down the ghosts that had been haunting my subconscious and singing to me
in my sleep for so long.  I am pleased to
introduce you, the uninitiated, our loyal readers, to one of my all-time
favorite bands, Racket Ghost!  I write
about a lot of bands for Psychedelic Baby and I get to be pretty good friends
with a lot of them, I love sharing good music and I love talking about it with
people.  But every once in a while you
hear something that just hits you like a ton of bricks, like a punch in the gut
that wakes you up from your torpor and breathes life back into you reawakening
all these senses that you thought were dead. 
From the moment that I stumbled across Rack Ghosts’ Bandcamp page, from
the first time I heard their music, it’s been like a blissful jab to the skull
every time!  Reverb laden surfish guitar
tumbles and spills all over these ingenious rumbling bass lines and minimal yet
devastating drums beats.  Every time I
put on some Racket Ghost it’s like I’ve stepped back in a time machine and am
staring into the maw of some Southern Californian garage in the mid-60’s, three
dark shadows jerking and spasming to the sweetest rhythm I’ve ever heard.  The joint I’m smoking tastes sweet and
tickles my lungs as the first rising frenzy of an acid trip rises up my
spine.  Or is that just the music
burrowing deep inside my subconscious and awakening long dead cerebral
connections?  Jesus, am I writing this or
just thinking it?  Did they hear me?
while you read: http://racketghost.bandcamp.com/

What’s the bands
lineup? Is the current lineup the original one or have you gone through some
changes since the band started?
Ben:  Our current and
original lineup is Corey Kellicut on bass, Sarah Koliboski on drums and backing
vocals and I play guitar and sing.
Are any of you in
any other bands? Have you released any material with anyone else? If so can you
tell us about it?
Corey:  I play lap
steel in another Lansing band called The Chirps.  I also played on some recordings for Veloura Caywood, which were released last year on Burger Records.
Ben:  None of the
recordings are really around today but I played bass in my first two bands Dead
Stream Corners and Space Brains.  Both
were Lansing bands that I helped form with some of my best friends from around
town.  Many of us grew up together, so
there was this great connection and rivalry going on there.  Dead Stream Corners was really stripped down
and raw garage/punk tunes heavily inspired by the Back From The Grave comps on
Crypt records.  We recorded an album with
Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders in Detroit but we never properly released the
album before things fell apart and we split up. 
Space Brains was a lot fun.  We
were a really close knit bunch of guys. 
The summer that we formed, we spent practically every day together for
three months.  After work or school each
day, we would rally at our drummer’s house to relax and smoke, maybe eat
dinner.  I bet we probably practiced
sixty out of ninety days that summer!  I
learned a lot from the guys in that band. 
I wrote songs with a definite structure in mind but we were pretty
chaotic and open to experimentation.  The
driving drum and bass created a platform for the messy, reverb laden guitar to
intermingle with the whacked out sounds provided by our saxophone player.  I think you can still stream a few tracks
from both bands on Myspace.  Check out
“Psychic Eyes” from Dead Stream Corners and “Big Bad” or “Steady 77” from Space
Brains if you can still find them.
Where are you
originally from?
Sarah:  I was born in
Flint but I lived all over Michigan before settling in Lansing…
Corey:  I was born in
Alma but I grew up here in the Lansing area.
Ben:  I was born at
Lansing Sparrow hospital and have lived in Lansing my entire adult life, but
grew up in a quiet little farm town called Mason about thirty minutes from the
Michigan capital.
Was your household
musical growing up? Were your parents or any of your relatives musicians or
really into music?
Corey:  My parents
weren’t really but my grandma played piano in church.  My dad preferred not having music on at all,
he liked quiet at home.
Ben:  My family was
never really heavily into listening to music growing up.  There were a couple records that I really
loved as a kid that I remember my parents owning though.  My dad had the first B-52’s album, which is
still a great fucking record in my opinion, and then that Bengals record, with
the song “Walk Like An Egyptian” on it.  I
would go down into the basement when I was really young and put that record on
and listen to that song with these huge headphones.  I would get goose bumps, getting all creeped
out, thinking to myself, “Walk like an Egyptian?  Weird… 
What does that meeean?!” 
Ha-ha-ha!  I had no clue what that
meant when I was that young, and, after close examination as an adult, it
doesn’t really mean much of anything at all! 
There was also the Lansing oldies station, where you might have to
listen to “My Girl” a fuckin million times before they spun Status Quo’s
“Pictures of Matchstick Men” for you.  My
dad would spin the Beatles on a regular basis, it was kind of his go-to
whenever he wanted to listen to music.
Corey:  Yeah, my
mother would blast the Beatles.
Sarah:  I didn’t grow
up in a musical household per say.  My
dad was a long-day, blue collar worker who liked quiet when he came home.  He was into classic rock, I guess, if the
radio ever was on.  My mom went through a
brief pop country phase where there was Garth Brooks, Tanya Tucker…  What was another one she liked?  Oh, K.T. Oslin!  She definitely loved music in that sense, ya
know?  She often liked to refer to her
glory days as a back-up singer on the road and would sing around the house a
Corey:  Who was she a
back-up singer for?
Sarah:  It was just
some cover band she met in the 70’s. 
They did strictly covers and were already an established thing by the
time she joined, ya know?  She tried out
for the position of back-up singer.  They
already had tours booked around the country. 
I know she and the other back-up singer wore little matching
outfits…  I don’t recall what they were
How were you first
exposed to music?
Ben:  Well, I remember
the radio being on a lot when I was younger. 
When the music was bad, and music from the 80’s generally was, it was
downright depressing.  Lansing’s own
Light Rock 99 WFMK, made up the soundtrack to some very grey rides to school in
the morning as a kid.  Fortunately, I
realized that when I requested the oldies station in the car, my parents were
more than happy to oblige.  I always
thought the oldies station was the best when I was a kid.
Sarah:  I have to give
a lot of credit to the Monkees TV show…
Ben:  Oh Yeah!  The fuckin Monkees!
Sarah:  When I was
four or five years old, I was mesmerized by that show.  I thought I was going to marry Mike
Nesmith!  That was like my first little
kid crush.  A Monkees’ tape was also one
of the first albums I ever owned.
Ben:  Yeah, I was
definitely obsessed with them at an early age. 
When I was really young, like second or third grade, I had to stay home
from school with my dad because I was super sick.  My temperature was hovering between 103⁰ and
104⁰.  I was sitting on the couch
watching TV, with my head poking out from all these blankets wrapped around me,
looking like a volcano about to erupt, and I had these crazy vivid
hallucinations while I was watching this twenty-hour Monkees marathon.  I saw all these brightly colored geometric
shapes spinning and glistening in front of my face.  It seemed like they were performing and
singing along to the show just for me! 
When my dad walked in, I was talking to the shapes and trying to grab
them out of the air.  My fever was so
high I bet my fucking brain was boiling!!!
Corey:  My mom
basically just listened to Phil Collins and the Beatles.  My sister and my cousin really got into the
Monkees and got me into them, too.  They
were a little more obsessed than I was though. 
I mean, I liked them but they used to act like they were the Monkees and
they would always try to make me be Davey Jones.  I never wanted to be Davey Jones, no one
wants to be Davy Jones.
When and why did
you first decide that you wanted to start making your own music?
Sarah:  My parents
bought me an acoustic guitar for Christmas when I was a senior in high school
and taught myself how to play with a Beatles song book.  I played saxophone in band at school as early
as I could.  I stayed with that all the
way through high school in any incarnation that I could, concert band, marching
band, jazz band; all of that.  I guess I
always knew that I wanted to make my own music but I never had the opportunity
that I wanted, to play in a real band until the last couple years.  Not until Ben and I met and started playing
Ben:  I had been
watching some of my close friends form bands and start to play their first
shows when we were all eighteen or so.  I
didn’t have any musical experience besides playing the trombone for a year when
I was like twelve, but I was very curious. 
Around this time, I had just started going out to shows and drawing up
fliers for my friend’s band Rattlin Bones. 
Seeing these guys that I knew so well play these really high energy live
shows, it kind of had the ability to transform these otherwise really
unassuming guys into whatever they felt like at that moment and it really
inspired me.  I soon became aware of all
these other great local bands, as well, the Black Lungs, Funender, Rattlin
Bones, Red Teeth,Tax, the Chirps, the FlaminGo Go’s, Transylvania 500, Vulture
Island, Red Swan, who all became great friends of mine later on.  I sound so much like a cliché 18 year old but
at the time, I had this uncontrollable urge to invent my own identity and to
construct my own little world within the music I created.  I taught myself to play guitar that same
year.  I practiced like crazy, writing
simple songs that I could sing and play along to.
Corey:  When we were
really young my cousin had a guitar that we would pretend to play. It was cheap
and hard to play.  The strings were
really high off the fret board so it wasn’t very kid friendly but we used to  set up our Legos, make a band out of them and
play behind the Legos as backup singing along with it.  Somewhere along there my parents got this
boom box and we discovered that we could record onto it, I guess somewhere in
there I learned something.
Where is the band
currently located?
Ben:  Lansing,
How would you
describe the local music scene there?
Fractured.  It’s there buts it’s
kind of divided into factions.  People
stick to their own personal tastes, “I like this kind of music so this is the
kind of band I’m going to see.”  Macs is
kind of the place for live music and has been for a long time.  Upstarts that have emerged in the past five
to ten years, like The Good Town Gang House have built up a strong local
presence.  They support live music for
local and touring acts, everyone tries to help out the touring bands while
they’re in town, and it’s a place where you can always go for free shows.  I just think it’s cool that we have at least
one place in town where you can go most nights of the week to see free shows.
Ben:  This town is
fairly limited when it comes to places to play, so that kind of effects the way
people come together.  But the few people
that are here are really dedicated and love hosting live music and making
recordings in their spare time.  The
musical influences are all over the place in Lansing but everyone seems to be
able to carve themselves out a little niche.
Corey:  It’s not
necessarily the most cohesive scene. 
We’ve ended up on shows where everyone else there was all metal.  I played a show once where we played all
rockabilly songs and all the other acts were rappers.  Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Sarah:  Where was that
Corey:  That was at
Are you very
involved with that local scene?
Ben:  We’re not really
involved with organizing and we don’t play out too extensively.  We all have to work a lot so we make it to
shows when we can.  I think we all tend
to play more music at home in our spare time.
Has it played a
large role in the history, sound or evolution of Racket Ghost?
Sarah:  Short answer:
Ben:  When I was
pretty young, there were a few bands I mentioned earlier who operated in
Lansing that really opened my eyes.  The
bands all had this kind of edgy, weirdo punk sound to them but some were more
influenced by early rock and roll.  They
came from this really honest place and just poured themselves into their
respective bands; I was really impressed by their motivation.  The drive that they had on and off stage
always had a really huge effect on me early on and I’m still here.  So, it still does to a certain extent, I
When and how did
you all first meet?
Ben:  Sarah and I met
at a party at this house venue in town called The Good Time Gang House, one
week after Halloween in 2009.  I’m not
much of a drinker anyway but I was fooling myself that night and I was about as
drunk as I could possibly be.  I was
actually there with another girl was terribly distracted by this other presence
in the room.  Up to that point Sarah and
I had only met in passing.  I approached
her feeling very unstable and asked her for a cigarette.  At first, everything I said came out sounding
really labored, I recall my mouth not working properly that night.  Despite my condition, I must have made a
decent impression because she kept talking to me and we really got to talking
for the first time.  We felt incredibly
comfortable and at ease with each other from the moment we met.  In my fragile state, I lost all sense of time
and didn’t leave her side for the rest of the night, while the girl I’d arrived
with stormed around the party giving me the evil eye for acting like such a
bum.  I’d had so much whiskey that I was
completely oblivious to everything but who was right in front of me.  Let’s just say I could have handled the whole
night a lot better.  But, without that
encounter we might not have ever had the opportunity to meet again.  Before all that, Corey and Sarah, you guys
knew each other a long time ago through school, right?  Didn’t you guys have running class together
at LCC?
Sarah:  Yes Ben, we
had running class together… 
Sarah:  Yeah, that was
just weird small world stuff…
Ben:  And I had known
Corey from playing music around town…
Corey:  And there was
a show at Basement 414 that we were all at where you said you had these songs
and were looking for a bassist and I said, “I’ll do it!”
What led you to
form Racket Ghost and when was that?
Ben:  I had been
writing a bunch of stuff on my own and I wanted to see if anyone I knew would
be interested in playing these songs with me. 
At first I was kind of trying out drummers, but I wasn’t “officially”
having people try out, I was just kind of playing these songs I had with
friends who played drums to see if something would click.  And all of these guys were great drummers in
their own right but something didn’t feel right.  We have this beautiful fucking 60’s Gretsch
drum kit with this peach and pearl swirl finish.  It was all set up in the middle of the house
because I’d had people over jamming and one day, Sarah just sits down while I’m
playing one of my songs.  She just
started playing like she’d been practicing these songs or something and that
afternoon she laid down two beats that we still use on the songs today.  She didn’t even play drums at all before that
point, that’s the best part!  It took
Sarah and I a few months to get our set nice and tight, just guitar, drums and
vocals.  Then, we had Corey come over and
we basically did this crash course and ran through like every song we had at
that point.  We were amazed, after just
one or two practices.  He had written all
these bass lines that fit what we were doing so well.  Corey soon proved himself as one of the most
versatile musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure to play with and we knew he
would be a perfect fit for what we were trying to do.  He really strengthened every song we had.
What does the name
Racket Ghost mean?
Sarah:  The literal
translation is “poltergeist”, but outside of that we like to think of it as a
“ghost of a noise”, “a memory of an impression.”  I like that it works on two different
levels.  I think it fits in with our
overall imagery and aesthetic and what some of our songs are about.
As you all know I
am totally in love with your sound. I am also however terrible at describing
and labeling music. Music is art and I’ve just never believed it fits into
these neat little boxes that everyone thinks it should for easy consumption.
How would you describe Racket Ghost’s sound to our readers who haven’t heard
you yet?
Sarah:  I’d say we
agree with you there.  It’s one of the
hardest questions to answer, for me personally anyways…
Ben:  It’s difficult
if you try to label it that way.  For
people that haven’t heard our music, I try to describe the kinds of sounds we
make and the tone that we project, but I also usually mention that my guitar
playing is pretty heavily influenced by surf music and Michigan rock and roll.
Sarah:  A band we
played with in Chicago called us “Stoner Surf.”
Ben:  I’m not real
crazy about that one but it’s better than the lazy “garage” response.
Corey:  I always liked
the fans that would describe us as Dick Dale meets The Stooges.
There’s so much at
work in your music that sometimes it’s easy to gloss over sections and I don’t
know if I’ve ever really managed to pin down all the different sounds that I
hear cropping up in your tunes. Can you tell us about your musical influences?
What about the band as a whole rather than just individually?
Ben:  We kind of
talked about that a little bit already but we all have strong ties and
appreciation for Michigan made music and Michigan rock and roll and soul…
Corey:  Yeah, I try to
throw James Jameson’s name in there whenever I can.
Ben:  I’ve always
loved instrumental surf music.  Before I
ever picked up a guitar I wanted to know how it felt to be able to play like
that, the guitars are always right up front and ready to attack.  The bass and guitar usually write their parts
independently from one another.  So,
they’re not always playing the exact same thing, which creates a unique texture
that you don’t really hear anywhere else. 
That genre was so precise too. 
Everyone played right in the pocket so you could dance to it but the
reverb always seemed to make the songs lag just slightly, like it was floating
in space, giving all those old songs that really eerie, unhinged quality.  When we play live, I feel like we follow a
similar code.  We like to project our
energy onto the crowd by building up the music, just to watch them get all
squirmy and stirred up. Instead of trying to express everything with words,
we’d much rather transfer that emotion into raw energy and set it free in the
crowd.  We try to write songs that
express a lot of emotion through the music without having to spill it all over
the page.  But at the end of the day, the
ultimate goal has always been to create music that makes people wanna move
around and shake their ass a little, let themselves go, lose control.  A lot of my favorite music follows similar
Sarah:  I agree with
everything said so far; so much of how I play is about instinct and
reaction.  I find myself trying to shape
my parts around the guitar, to compliment it in a direct sense rather than just
providing a steady back beat, keep it melodic yet simple, which is a tendency
present in almost all of our songs.  We
all love a lot of the same music, we all love playing music, and I think the
desire to capture and communicate something unique is ingrained in each of us
as individuals and I think it’s strengthened when we play together; especially
during live performances.
Let’s talk a
little bit about Racket Ghost’s songwriting process. Is there a lot of jamming
and playing around or does someone bring in a riff or more completed idea and
share that with the rest of the band to finish it up?

Ben:  It kind of
started off where I would have all these songs written in rough form.  Then, Sarah and I would tighten them up from
start to finish and Corey would come over, and, in a night, he would create
these really solid bass lines that fit the music like fucking magic!  As we spent more time together, the ideas I
would bring to practice were way looser and we were way more comfortable with
one another.  We would bring ideas to
practice and we would expand on the original riff a ton.  Sarah and I have been doing more of a
brainstorm for lyrics lately.  When we
write together, we both look to one another for approval when we’re making any
major decisions.  We kind of “sign off”
every step of the way, so we’re constantly bouncing ideas off one another,
kicking them back and forth.
You released your
debut single on Goodbye Boozy a few months ago. Beech Party b/w Watch Me Move
was a single sided 7inch. Gabrielle has been putting out some of the most
killer music from across the planet for years now and this single was certainly
no exception. Can you tell me a little about the recording of this material for
the single? I know that at least one of the Szegedy brothers from immensely
awesome The People’s Temple was involved with production. Who recorded this
material? When and where was it recorded? What kind of equipment was used?
Ben:  Yeah,
Gabrielle’s a damn good man.  I can’t
thank him enough.  We were blown away
when he asked to put out our first single. 
The guy has a pretty unflinching track record.  The Sick Thoughts (Interview here) single he
just put out was fittingly ill.  George
wasn’t around for these recordings but he did help us record some tracks for a
different session later on.  I recorded
all the songs for the Goodbye Boozy single at our house, in Lansing, in May of
2012.  We recorded everything live on an
old TEAC 3340s, 4-track and overdubbed the vocals and organ later.
I know that single
was pretty limited, how many copies was it limited to? Is that still in print?
Sarah:  I think
Gabrielle only released 240. 
Unfortunately, they’re all gone. 
From what he said, they sold out in three days!
Most people
wouldn’t know this but I stumbled upon your Bandcamp page extremely early on
and just fell in love with what I heard. And when I find something I like I
get, well maybe a little obsessive as you’ve experienced firsthand at this point.
As a result of this harassment I know there are three songs that didn’t make it
onto the single. Are there any plans for that material?
Ben:  Yeah,
actually!  Another small Italian label
called In the Shit Records just put out a cassette for us and the songs you
speak of are on that tape, along with a few other tracks from the sessions that
we did with George Szegedy of The People’s Temple.  People who associate us with that really
burnt sound on the Goodbye Boozy single that I recorded for us will be
surprised when they hear the songs we did with George.  We used the same tape machine as before but
we had a much nicer mixer this time.  The
quality is on a completely different level. 
George is a really talented guy. 
We all had a blast working on this stuff, but we really treated it like
work.  We only had a small window of a
few days to work with, so our days would usually start around noon and from
there we would sometimes work until midnight. 
I think four songs from that session will be on the In the Shit release.
I also know that
you have a good stash of live shows that have been recorded and archived. While
a compilation release of live material has been discussed at this point there
hasn’t really been any concrete plans made and there hasn’t been any of that
material available even digitally aside from the tracks that showed up on your
Bandcamp page. Are there any plans to make use of that cache of live material?
Ben:  We always talked
about picking out our favorites and making a compilation, we’ve just never been
able to make ourselves sit in front of the computer for any length of time to
finish the job!
Sarah:  We’ve been
lucky enough to have most of our live shows recorded by our friend Ed who’s
probably attended close to every one of them, except for out of town gigs.
Ben:  Thanks Ed!!!
Corey:  We should just
post a link to Ed’s email so anyone who wants them can just contact him about
it.  Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Apart from the music we’ve already discussed has Racket
Ghost released any music?
Ben:  Nope.
Are there any
plans for any releases coming up, maybe a full-length album? Yeah that’s right,
I am going to jibe you in an internationally released interview about doing an
album. You should do one. Seriously, like yesterday.
Sarah:  We have the
release on In the Shit records that we’ve just mentioned that has music from
our first two sessions.  The recordings
we did with George were originally supposed to be part of a full-length, and
some still could be…
Corey:  Yeah, we could
use some of the songs from the last session for a full-length.
Ben:  Yeah, we really
need to record some more I think, too. 
We have some great new songs that we play live that haven’t been put on
tape yet.  I think those songs should
really be represented on the full length. 
So, we still have some work to do but the plan has always been to put
out a full length eventually.
Where’s the best
place for our U.S. readers to purchase your music?
Ben:  The best place
to obtain our newest release would be directly from me at
benjaminastro@gmail.com or from Antonio at In the Shit Records.
Sarah:  We
periodically swap out the songs on our Bandcamp page for download as well,
which we’ll be updating with some new sounds around the time of our next
release.  There are actually a few
singles left floating around from our last release from Goodbye Boozy and
they’re for sale at the local record stores around Lansing.  You might be able to call Flat, Black and
Circular or the Record Lounge in East Lansing and order one from them.  They’re the only places you can pick up our
old single.
With the recent
international postage rate increases where’s the best place for our overseas
and international readers to get it?
Ben:  Through us.  I’ll make it as painless as I possibly can.
Where’s the best place for a readers to keep up on the
latest news from Racket Ghost like upcoming shows and album releases?
Corey:  Facebook.
Ben:  …and word of
Does, or did,
Racket Ghost have any goals that you’d like to, or have, accomplished this year
Ben:  We were hoping
for another release in 2013, which miraculously fell into our laps.
Sarah:  The Goodbye
Boozy release was a milestone, for me at least, this being my first band and
all.  It’s just cool having something out
on vinyl.
Ben:  I think it was a
milestone for all of us really.  Have you
ever had any of your music on vinyl, Corey?
Corey:  No, that was a
first for me too.
Ben:  We had an
original goal set for ourselves that we would have a release within a year of
us forming and we accomplished that.  I
couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out for us so far.
What do you have
planned as far as touring goes for the rest of the year?
Ben:  We do one off
shows and we basically take them as they come. 
Going on a lengthy tour has never been a major goal for us.  As much as we’d all like to, it’s not
realistic for us at this point.  We all
have obligations that would prevent us from being away from home for too
long.  What we can do is play these
little three day jaunts which we sort of did this summer.  We played Chicago on our way to the
Firecracker 500 Festival in Iowa City.
You have played
with some seriously amazing bands! Who are some of your personal favorites that
you’ve had a chance to share a bill with?
Sarah:  I would say
the show we played at the Loft with People’s Temple and Language was one of my
favorite shows so far.  Everyone had such
a good time, the way the energy built throughout the night and then all three
bands got on stage at the end and played “Gloria” together.  The way the audience responded to the bands
and the way the bands fed off the energy of the audience…  There was just an overall cohesiveness to the
whole night.  A really positive vibe.
Ben:  At the
Firecracker 500 Festival we got to play with White Mystery (Interview here),
The Blind Shakes, The Delphines and the Autodramatics.  That was a really great fucking time.  I had never heard of The Blind Shakes before
the show and I was blown away when they played at the end of the night.  I had been drinking these lemon vodka drinks
all night and was officially wasted at that point and I just danced my ass off
to their entire set!  We met White
Mystery at the same festival and they graced us with their presence here in
Lansing a couple months ago.  We really
have the best time when we play with our buddies in The Peoples Temple, though.  We all seem to play a little bit harder when
we’re together.  There’s this kind of
friendly competition.  It’s all about
trying to get a reaction out of the crowd, the goal is to get people to move.
Corey:  Yeah, I really
enjoyed everyone we played with at the Firecracker Fest.  We were a good fit for that night.  I had a good time the night we played with
the Hemingers at The Good Times Gang House too.
Ben:  Oh yeah that’s
right, we traded records because their single came out on Goodbye Boozy the
same time as ours.  It was cool meeting
Ben Lyon!  I’ve always really admired his
flyer work.  That guy is seriously
Who are you on
tour with in your dreams?
Sarah:  That’s a hard
Corey:  Yeah…
Ben:  The bands that I
would actually want to go on the road with might also be a fucking nightmare to
tour with.  The Stooges and the Cramps
come to mind.  I like that they both have
these really strict roles on stage and everyone has to do their part or the
whole thing falls apart…  But offstage, in
his prime, who knows how Iggy would treat you day to day, ya know?
Do you have any
funny or interesting stories from live performances that you’d like to share
with our readers?
Sarah:  I would say
the last show with White Mystery when that girl got up on stage after our set
and she told you she was literally mopping your sweat off of the microphone so
she could keep it as a souvenir.
Ben:  Oh yeah, I
forgot that happened…  That did happen
didn’t it?  Ha-ha-ha yeah, that was wild.
Do you have a
music collection? If so can you tell us a little bit about it?
Corey:  Uh, it’s
ok…  I would love to have a huge
collection but it’s not something I’ve ever really focused on too much.
Ben:  We haven’t
really had extra funds to buy that much lately and I never really felt a part
of the whole mass collecting thing. 
That’s not to say we don’t have a few cool records between the two of us
but a lot of my records have come and gone over the years.  I’ve had to sell quite a few recently because
I was unemployed for a while.  I have a
decent collection of records from the bands I’ve played with over the years and
of course, I have a few that I won’t ever part with.  But as far as some of the classics go, I can
always find those again.  I guess I’m not
super attached to the idea of collecting.
As you well know
from the numerous Facebook messages and e-mails that I’m a bit of a nut when it
comes to physical music. There is just something about physical releases that
is magical and irreplaceable to me. Having something to hold, artwork to look
at, liner notes to read, it all makes for a more complete listening experience.
Do you have any such connection with physical released music?
Ben:  Yes!  The physical aspect of music is very
important to us.  The packaging, the
artwork and the overall esthetic are a big part of it for us; especially when
releasing our own music.  Some of my
favorite records have these very arresting cover images that really stick with
you.  For me, the right album art can set
the mood for the music and change the way you hear the record.
Sarah:  And both being
visual artists, all the thought that goes into the packaging and layout and how
that translates to the finished product, the texture, the smell…  You know its old books versus a kindle, or
vinyl versus the iPod.  I think the
palpable, physical product always wins hands down for me.
As much as I love
physical music having digital download allows me to take my record collection
on the go with me. I’ve also been exposed to a myriad of music that I know I
would never otherwise have heard, Racket Ghost being one of those bands. It is,
on the other hand, destroying decades of infrastructure inside of the music industrial
complex for lack of a better term. What’s your opinion on digital music and
distribution as an artist during the reign of the digital era?
Ben:  I really have no
problem with digital music.  If that
makes it easier for a new listener to access music, then I’m all for it.  It’s all about personal preference.  If you like the ritual of going to the record
store and buying vinyl, that’s fine too. 
If that’s not your thing and you’d rather keep your collection on your
hard drive that’s cool, whatever works for you. 
I’m definitely not a purist.
Sarah:  As far as the
record industry goes, it’s kind of a double-edged sword.  The day of the overpaid rock star is over and
digital music has made so much music available to your everyday average
Joe.  Not to mention it’s expanded what
you can do from your own home now as far as recording goes.  It’s anybody’s game.  It totally leveled the playing field.
Corey:  Things that I
could never track down before I can easily go online now and find.  It might just be a sample of the original and
the quality might not be all there, but it’s good for what it is.
With all the
various mediums of release available to artists today I’m always curious to
hear why certain artists choose the particular mediums that they do. Why vinyl
as opposed to a CD or even a cassette tape release? Both of which are
significantly cheaper monetarily. Do you have a preferred medium of release for
your music? What about when you are purchasing music?
Sarah:  As far as our
release goes, vinyl is what was offered to us and it’s the medium that we would
prefer our music to be released on but we’re open to releasing our music in all
Ben:  When I’m going
to pay for music, I only buy vinyl.  CD’s
just don’t hold up and depending on what I’m looking for, paying for a download
feels strange when holding the sleeve and the artwork are so integral to my
overall listening experience.
I spend more time
than I’m comfortable sharing with our readers every week looking for music that
is going to blow my mind. The next great thing just a needle drop or tray
insert away ha-ha! Is there anyone from your local scene or area that I might
not have heard that I should be listening to?
Sarah:  Cat Midway.
Ben:  Veloura Caywood
and Cat Midway.
What about
nationally and internationally?
Ben:  I wish I had a
good answer for that…
Thanks so much for
doing this interview, totally stoked we finally got a chance to do a piece on
Racket Ghost, I’ve wanted to write a piece on you all since the day I heard you
and started whining about wanting more music! Is there anything that I missed
or that you’d just like to talk about or share with our readers?
Do you ever feel like you’re not living your life to the
fullest?  But, instead merely slithering
onward dutifully to the same diluted future as the hopeless sack stumbling
ahead of you in line?  This swallowing
sensation is commonly felt all over the universe.  It seems to spare no man and in other parts
of the galaxy this sensation is more affectionately referred to as “the Mega
Pummeling Effect of the Infinite Galactic Gauntlet.”  If you too have ever felt that cosmic black
curtain being drawn over your story before the act was through, know that you
are far from alone, friend!
Racket Ghost can be listened to anywhere but will always
sound best
¤ With someone special sitting next to you
¤ Cranked up at parties where no one likes rock and roll
¤ While driving fast and ferociously in someone else’s car
¤ When ingesting large amounts of the celebration plant with
your favorite friends
We’ve been waiting for a certain someone like you.  Yes, YOU! 
You are PERFECT!  You are the
one.  Until you came along, things were
looking pretty grim around here.
(2013)  Racket Ghost –
Beech Party b/w Watch Me Move – 7” – Goodbye Boozy Records (Limited to 250
copies; 80 of Cover A, 80 of Cover B and 90 of Cover C.  Single-Sided)
(2013)  Racket Ghost –
Racket Ghost – Cassette Tape – In The Shit Records (Limited to 69 copies)
Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014
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