Feature photo – Brit Khedun-Burgoine
We caught up with Ghum to talk about the making of their EP, new music and falling for L.A. Witch.
Back in the cold February of 2017, London four-piece Ghum released their self-titled debut E.P. The release in question is as haunting as it is touching, each track marries itself to the next through a smokey veil of new wave guitar recalling Siouxsie and the Banshees. The driving rhythm section provides a warmth and depth which underpins the bands sound, leaving the vocals to cut through the sparse soundscape bringing to mind the early demos from Londoners 2:54 or the beginnings of the exquisite Warpaint. The sound waves in and out between intimacy and aggression yet each track it’s own dark soul.
We ran into Ghum, and got chatting about the making of their E.P, new music and falling in mutual love whilst playing with Los Angeles’ scuzzy rockers L.A. Witch.
The ‘Ghum EP’ was released back in February, it’s an emotional rollercoaster of a listen, delicate, unhinged and with so much fire in its belly, what stage are you at in terms of following up this release?
Vicki: Thanks very much! We’ve recently made a video for ‘TV’, which is the second track on the EP, which Jojo directed and filmed. We’re hoping to release it a bit later this autumn – it’s our first video so it’s pretty exciting! We’re going back in the studio to record with Mark Jasper at Sound Savers (a great DIY recording space in East London) in December.
Laura: Thank you for that description of the EP! We were definitely looking for some fire! As Vicki said, the video and the recording of some new songs we have are being worked on next. We are so looking forward to the new recording and the video release!
A freak wave appears and threatens to put the country underwater, you have time to listen to two albums back to back before all is lost!!! What albums are they?
Vicki: ‘Floating into the Night’ by Julee Cruise and probably ‘Dig me Out’ by Sleater Kinney.
Laura: ‘Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea’ by PJ Harvey and ‘Surfer Rosa’ by Pixies.
Jojo: ‘Is The Is Are’ by DIIV and ‘Exquisite Corpse’ by Warpaint.
What new music is on your walkman at the moment?
Vicki: The soundtrack from the new series of Twin Peaks (which is amazing), the new Zola Jesus album and the new Lower Slaughter album.
Laura: I’ve been listening to quite a lot of Magnetic Fields and Japanese Breakfast. Also this week has been a lot of Car Seat Headrest.
Jojo: When I get into a record I get pretty obsessed with it and listen to it constantly until I get sick of it (which is usually never). At the moment it’s the new Alvvays album, debut album from LA Witch and The Amps’ one and only ever album ‘Pacer’ which is a great album. For those who might recognise the name, The Amps were a band Kim Deal formed after The Breeders took a break. Although short lived but so damn great.
Tell us what it was like to create the body of work which is the “Ghum EP”. What did you want from the four tracks as an E.P?
Vicki: From a drumming perspective, the ‘Shallow’ was particularly fun to write. We actually started that one off as a jam in my first ever practice with Ghum (as the others had already been playing together for a while) – Marina came up with a really cool bass line and I came up with something a bit Joy Division-esque mainly based around the toms, and it all clicked together.
Laura: We were looking for a very specific atmosphere for the four tracks, they are quite different from each other but the cohesive factor was the dark, slow, misty vibe. We experimented with delay and reverb in the vocals and layered them a bit, keeping everything still quite minimalistic.
Jojo: It takes us quite a while to wrong songs as we’re quite particular about melodies and stitching parts together that take you on a journey rather than the standard song structure. In that sense, we tend to jam quite a bit and something will just slot in our heads somehow, and that’s how ‘Shallow’ came about. As Vicki mentioned already, it really clicked together for that one and same goes for quite a few of our songs but overall we wanted to put songs on our first EP that explained Ghum’s sound in its entirety: mysterious, voyaging and different somewhat. To be honest it’s hard to even describe our sound ourselves!
As a band what has been your highlight of 2017 so far?
Vicki: For me, getting our T-Shirts made! Laura designed them and did a really great job – it’s really cool to see people wearing them at our shows.
Laura: Yeah, I love seeing people wearing our t-shirt too. Also, the recording of our first music video was very exciting for me.
Jojo: Playing a gig with LA Witch and mutual falling in love with each other as a result of said gig, and also our first ever merch! The t-shirts have gone down a storm already. We’re so chuffed.
By Karl Johnson