Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost! was a difficult musician to interview because rather than committing to definitive answers to my questions, he answered in shades of gray. This led me to ask for clarifications, and ask the questions in different ways. Not a knock on Frankel, of course, but it did make writing the story more challenging. In the end, the parts I felt confident I understood, I included in the story that ran Friday (read it here). Some of the rest is available here, for your enjoyment.
If you’re going to Treasure Island Music Festival Saturday, make sure to catch Holy Ghost!
You have made a point of declaring that you’re now outsider to the dance scene in New York. Why is that?
Not that I don’t stand by what we say, but it’s a thing where reporters in an interview might say, “What do you think about the scene right now?” and our natural reaction is to say, “I don’t really know. I don’t feel like we’re in the scene. I don’t know what a scene is.” Nick [Millhiser] and I … always operated within our group of friends and people that we know that like dance music or old disco music. But we never were party promoters or into after-hours clubs or like, “Have you heard this remix?” We’ve never been like that. We never have felt connected to any scene other than our friends.
Everyone is talking about the concept of aging on this album. Is that a theme you knew you wanted to incorporate, or did it just evolve naturally on its own. Why do you think it’s there?
It was a conscious decision as much as writing any lyric or any piece of music is conscious. It’s not premeditated, I guess is the answer. We didn’t set out and make a plan to write about aging. We’re only 30 years old, so I don’t know if we’re experts on the subject. “It Must be the Weather,” that song to me has a lot to do with aging or depression.
You toured with New Order this summer, right? What was that experience like for you?
It was awesome. When you meet someone who you’ve grown up (with) or who you idolize or really respect, sometimes you don’t want to meet them because you’re scared that they’ll turn out to be total jerks. That’s absolutely happened to us before. I was introduced to someone who turned out to be such an asshole, and I had all of his records. We were very pleasantly surprised. They were so nice and so helpful. I have not a bad thing to say about that experience. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Was there a lesson you learned from them or skill you picked up?
They give it everything they’ve got every night. Whatever the city, whatever the weather, however many people were there, or anything, they really played their hearts out.