INTRODUCING: GHOST OF YOU (Brno, Czech Republic)
Words by Nathan
Captivating voice takes you into the dark corners of psychedelic pop where you meet the ghosts of your former selves. The music of Ghost of You is hard to categorize – as a band with strong electronic overtones, they shift smoothly between various elements within the running time of one song. Hailing from the Moravian capital Brno, these four ambitious lads aim high while maintaining close tights to their local scene.
Tom Novohradský, Michal Janík, Štěpán Pařízek
Even if they occasionally angered a fan or two because their sets weren’t that long at the time. Their reasoning was that they want to keep the audience’s attention for the entire duration. “We want to make sure people get the most of it”, Michal explains in the student documentary Ledovec ve městě (Glacier in the city). Director Václav Mach accompanied the band for several months and captured the excitement of recording of their first album, their victory in a young bands competition which brought them a slot at the Sziget festival in Hungary and the journey to Banát, a Czech village in Romania which hosts a music festival every year.
In terms of sound, Ghost of You blend post-rock with elements of psychedelia. They take inspiration from a whole spectrum of genres and are not afraid to experiment and twist a variety of elements to their own liking. Their sound often evolves into unexpected directions within the running time of one track. The range is from goosebump inducing softness to ecstatic drum pounding and shrieking vocals.
For their second album, they teamed up with Onřej Ježek again but the approach was different. They brought ideas and sketches into the studio which then grew into songs on the spot, material for the first album had been written in advance. According to the band, Black Yoga is a confrontation with our demons, with the bad side that dwells in each of us. It is a bad habit you repeat, a mistake made over and over again. It’s the moment when morning breaks through after a long night, daylight floods the dancefloor but the party still goes on.
The work that’s been done in the three-year gap in between the albums is audible on Black Yoga. Four individuals have grown into a functioning organism and importantly, they didn’t lose their appetite for experimenting. Black Yoga is somehow sexier – the tracks are smoother and more likely to get stuck in your head. For me, it also threw new light onto Glacier and the city which made me come back to it again and again.
It’s refreshing to see a band radiating confidence and taking their music seriously. For too long that hasn’t been the standard in the Czech Republic, but these guys are proof that the times are a’changing.
Europe is easy to travel but her cultures are hard to access if you don’t speak respective national languages. On similar grounds, it is not easy for musicians to reach listeners beyond their country of origin. Even if they sing in nearly-perfect English, there might not be anyone writing about them in the global language. Visions of Zhiva is a zine presenting artists from Central Europe.
Who is Zhiva? Zhiva is the anglicised spelling of the name Živa (also Živena, Siwa). The Slavic goddess of life and fertility was worshipped in the region of today’s Poland, Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia before the arrival of Christianity.