WHO ARE GHOST CIRCUS AS BAND MEMBERS?
Chris Brown – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, keyboards
Ronald Wahle – Drums, Keyboards, Guitar
WHEN DID YOU HAVE FOUNDED THE BAND?
Chris: Ron and I met on Neal Morse’s online forum in 2004. We started working on music together just a couple of weeks after that, and decided to record a full album about two months after we met.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THE VERY FIRST BEGINNING OF BAND...
Chris: Everything started after I heard one of Ron’s instrumental tracks he was working on when we first met. I really liked what he was doing and, at first, I offered just to do some mastering work on the track for him. Mainly so that he would have a really good sounding demo to shop around for himself. However, the more I listened to the track the more I heard places that just seemed wide open for more instruments and even vocals. I asked him if he would mind if I recorded some parts over the top of what he had already done and he said “Go for it!”. So I cut some guitar parts and a scratch vocal on it and he liked what he heard. After that, I sent him some of the material of my own I was working on, and everything just fell into place after that.
WHAT'S ABOUT YOUR PREVIOUS RECORDING-EFFORTS?
Chris: I had released two acoustic albums just before I met Ron. One was just solo guitar, and the other was an ambient guitar album from my side project; Random Access Generator. Apart from my own material I have worked in production and have done session playing work, as well as some audio mastering work. Ron had played in several bands and had recorded some instrumental material that was used as score music for a film special effects company. I think the ‘Cycles’ album was Ron’s first full album recording experience.
WHAT'S ABOUT YOUR FOLLOWING?
Chris: We’ve been extremely lucky in that we seem to be attracting fans from all over the place. The reviews of the album in different countries has been mostly positive, but more importantly the music just seems to connect with people in all corners of the world. And they’re great fans! Many of them buy multiple copies of the album to give out to their friends, and that’s just such a huge help to us in getting known out there. I just got word from our label,(ProgRock Records – www.progrockrecords.com) that they’re going to have to do a second pressing of the album already. And that’s all because of the great fans that have found us and have bought copies. So we have to give a big ‘Thank You!” to all of them!
THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTS IN YOUR HISTORY?
Important Fact #1: Ron and I write, record, play, and produce all of our music on our own over the Internet. We have met in person twice but have done very little actual recording during those times.
Important Fact #2: I had never written lyrics for an entire album, nor sang on entire album, before ‘Cycles’. I’m self-taught as a musician but trained as a singer, as I sang in choirs for many years when I was in school. However, I never had any aspirations to sing beyond that. It just happened that I was the one, between Ron and myself, who could sing… so I got that job!
ANY INTRODUCTIVE WORDS TO "CYCLES"?
Chris: Musically we really wanted to show a broad range of sounds and influences: Everything from Prog to Metal to Pop. Ron and I have some similar musical tastes but where we really create a unique sound is by blending the different influences we each bring to Ghost Circus. We wanted to showcase that quite a bit on ‘Cycles’.
IS OUR LIFE A "CYCLE"?
Chris: It can be. I’m as guilty of having routines as anyone else, but I do try to recognize when I am caught in a cycle of doing something in a certain way that can have a negative impact on myself and those around me. The fact, though, is that many people are caught in negative cycles and don’t even realize it.
CAN WE CONSIDER YOUR ALBUM AS A CONCEPT ONE?
Chris: It’s not really a concept album but it does play on a theme. I wrote about issues and problems in different walks of life that can become cycles, for sure: greed, over-consumption, addiction, lack of civility, and the desire to be something that you’re not. These are all ideas that are present in the lyrics of the album. The last song on the album, “Mass Suggestion”, also covers religion and spirituality. While spirituality itself is a great thing to pursue in life, I don’t believe that religion is often the right path to it.
WHAT'S ABOUT THE PRODUCTION OF ALBUM?
Chris: Ron and I produced the album ourselves by sending files back and forth via the internet. We worked in our own home studios the entire time. Basically, one of us would come up with a song idea and record our parts for it, then send it over to the other guy to add his parts. We cut the vocals last, and then I started the mixing process. Ron mixes his drums, because I’m fairly ignorant about drums, but I mix everything else and do all the final mixes. I then do the final mastering and off it goes to be pressed.
WHAT'S THE MOOD OF IT?
Chris: Upbeat but still grounded in reality. We’re both very conscious of taking any song in the direction it naturally wants to go in, as opposed to throwing in solo bits or something that interrupt the flow of the song. That approach really has an affect on the mood of any song, since we’re just letting it go the way it goes.
THE MOST SALIENT ASPECTS OF YOUR NEW ALBUM?
Chris: What stands out the most to me is the fact that, regardless of the miles between us, any listener can really hear that Ron and I have a lot of fun working together! We have a chemistry together that can’t be manufactured, and that really comes through when we record the Ghost Circus material.
WHAT'S ABOUT THE FEEDBACK?
Chris: The bulk of reviews we’ve seen have been very positive. So has the fan response. We can tell that there is a sense of “this is a good album but let’s see if this is a one-time deal or if these guys will be back for another album”. We understand that. Projects like ours can be very unstable, mostly due to the fact that we’re not around each other all the time like most bands. I can assure you, though, we are here to stay! We are working on the second album right now and everything is even better, and easier to do, than the first time around. So, for anyone with any doubts, Ghost Circus will be around for a long time to come!
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR SOUND?
Chris: Hopefully a lot of positive energy! There’s a great deal of darkness in the world right now and the time is right to bring more positivity out there. And I don’t mean that in an unrealistic way, nor a hippie-flowers-and-light kind of way. Music can be positive and uplifting without going too far out of reality, and that’s what we try to do. We write about many underlying problems in the world but, hopefully, we try to do it in a way that says that it doesn’t have to be like that. There’s a way out if you just look for it.
Chris: As of right now, we are just a studio duo. We hope to have a live act put together by, at least, the third album. I know that’s still a while down the road but we do intend to turn Ghost Circus into a live band. It’s mostly just a question of money. We’ll have to hire at least four or five other musicians to go on the road with us, in order to fully cover the sound that’s on the albums. Let’s just say that even a small tour could be very expensive for us. Either way, we will find a way to make it happen in the future.
YOUR LIFE'S PHILOSOPHY?
Chris: My life is centered around the idea of doing what you say you’re going to do and living up to any promises you make. I’m a very trusting person and I like to build trust and loyalty with others. Outside of that, my musical philosophy is to be open-minded about anything that comes your way. You never know when great inspiration may come from places you least expect it to.
THE FUTURE OF THE BAND?
Chris: We’re working on our second album now and it is a concept album. It’ll be about ghosts, and it will be a good bit longer than ‘Cycles’. Apart from that I don’t want to spoil anymore of it, so you’ll just have to wait until it’s out later this year. It’ll be worth the wait!
Of course we’re still working on how to turn Ghost Circus into a live, touring band. That’s the major hurdle for us but we’ll get there eventually. It just wouldn’t be right to not play this music in a live environment.
ANY LAST REMARKS?
Chris: For the reader I would just say to pick up a copy of ‘Cycles’, if you haven’t already! And definitely look out for the new album in late 2007. Keep checking www.ghostcircus.com for news and updates about all of that. We’re always glad to see new fans come aboard. Thanks for all the support!