Exclusive Interview: Chasing Ghosts on “Bring Me Suffering”!

Earlier this week we reviewed the sophomore record from Milton Keynes based Melodic Metallers Chasing Ghosts. It comprises an intriguing trio of cuts which combine a male/female vocal harmony in different blends to achieve a mournful, yet rich vision. We had the pleasure of speaking to Lee Brueton (Songwriter, Bass, Synths) about “Bring Me Suffering“.

Since “These Hollow Gods” you’ve brought in drummer Rich Still while Meghan Pettitt appears as a guest vocalist on all three of the new tracks. How do you feel they helped you achieve your vision on the new release?

It has been a long search for a new suitable drummer to join us, who understands the genre of music. It’s important within our music and especially these new tracks in particular, that the drums allow the music to breathe. We have had many drummers that just wanted to play blast beats at every opportunity, or put unnecessary drum solos in. Rich was different, he listened, was respectful of the writing and understood what was needed and that sometimes less is more. He also brought a fresh sense of energy into the band, as he loved the music and was hungry to be part of the group, which always helps.

When I wrote these new tracks, I always knew that I wanted natural strings and some female harmonies. I spent a longtime trying to find the right vocalist to collaborate with us and who’s style would work with Nelson’s. I heard Meghan’s vocal on one of The Eden house tracks, which had the perfect tone and so decided to reach out to her. When I first heard their two vocals together live, I knew that the full potential of these tracks could finally be fulfilled. It was a great sense of achievement, that inspired us to continue to push the dynamics of our sound and not allow a bit of hard work to compromise our vision.

In our review we’ve suggested there is something of Type-O-Negative’s Peter Steele (RIP) or even Nick Cave in Nelson Cancini’s vocals on the record. Who would you say are the influences on the EP itself and on the band in general?

As individuals, we all have such a varied collective of influences, however the strong dominant bands that we all seem to share are Anathema, Paradise Lost, Draconian, My Dying Bride, Moonspell and definitely the late, great Type-O-Negative. Our music lends itself to the baritone vocals, that bring out the emotion of the songs, we also made a conscious decision not to want any screamo or growling, we want every lyric to be heard for what it is and allow the heaviness to come from the music alone.

Having received some critical acclaim for “These Hollow Gods” back in 2018 did you feel any pressure or weight of expectation going into recording “Bring Me Suffering” and if you did, was it a good thing?

Absolutely! But I am and always have been very critical of my songwriting anyway. I tend to keep many of my songs to myself for at least a few weeks before sharing them with the rest of the band. A lot of my songs that I have felt simply are not good enough, have never got beyond my 8-track. I don’t want to write album fillers, I want every song to be strong enough to be a single in its own right. Thankfully with this new EP I can definitely say that for once I was very happy and felt that the music and lyrics were the best I have written to date. 

How did you find working with Jaime Gomez Arellano (Myrkur, Paradise Lost, Ghost)? What was it that brought him to your attention as a choice for the Mixing and Mastering?

When we recorded the new EP, we just was not satisfied with the overall sound, we felt it didn’t do the songs justice, the emotion, the atmosphere and heaviness, just seemed to be lacking. We had recorded these in the renowned Chapel studios, that we had used before with ‘These Hollow Gods’. We soon realised that our sound had evolved and had become even bigger, with the guitars, male/female vocals, piano synths and natural strings all competing to occupy the same space. We knew we needed a producer who was experienced within our genre and could deliver the sound they deserved. We decided there could be no better person, then the producer of one of our most respected influences Paradise Lost. I was unsure as an unsigned band whether Gomez would agree to work with us, but thankfully he loved the tracks and could hear the hidden potential. It was a real privilege to work with him, he listened to what we wanted and was such a professional and very down to earth as well. He has helped us create the strongest music of our career so far and established a relationship that we will definitely be revisiting in the very near future. 

Lyrically there is a fair amount of introspection and darkness wrapped into these new songs. Did you find the whole process a cathartic one?

Yes, most definitely. I always say that I could not have written these songs when I was a teenager, when I hadn’t experienced even a fraction of emotions, such as loss, regret, rage and all the other emotions that make us human. I have found that out of the most dark and painful times, something so pure and honest can be created, that is liberating, definitely music is a way for me to exorcise my demons.

What does the future hold for Chasing Ghosts? Are there plans to play shows once lockdown is over and would you anticipate Meghan Pettitt perhaps joining you for those?

The future looks exciting, we have a great lineup now, new songs that we can’t wait to play live, festivals, tours, whatever live opportunities come our way, not just in the UK, but across Europe as well. We would also like to potentially work once again with Gomez on some new recordings at the end of the year. Regarding Meghan, we have decided that we like the addition of the female vocal, so are already in the process of recruiting a permanent female singer to join us. However, we are also very keen to continue to collaborate with other like minded musicians in the very near future, whatever the songs calls for, we will endeavor to make it happen.

For now we just hope that people enjoy the music and continue to support us. We are always grateful for every new fan, new like, reviews and comments we receive, just like here at Metal Noise.

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