Mhostly Ghostly: Psych rockers return to town

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by Keenan Ketzner

Mhostly Ghostly stands out as a uniquely friendly, and intimate entity due to its core duo of Jeremy Blas and Simon Olander, whose friendship dates all the way back to the second grade – a fact you can hear in the band’s childlike sense of wonder and exploration.

“We always have other people playing with us, but we’ve always been jamming for a long time… We started with our roommate Reid [Immel]… And other people from Fairhaven College. But then we moved to Seattle and did the standard thing of getting new people through our other project Forrest Ray… Now we’re back together with our drummer Reid and a bassist we found in Everett.”

In 2017, they put out their first album, Faceless Fiction, a foray into 70s style art rock and ornate instrumentation layered over strong songwriting fundamentals. The cover (beautifully illustrated by Oscar Moreno) depicts a face amidst a sea of melting monsters; very fitting for their music.

“We recorded it mostly at home over eight months. We love being able to track stuff slowly, and you don’t have to worry about too many variables. Where as Spectral Hemorrhage (their latest project) was more done more as drums and beds in the same room, and then the synths were overdubbed.”

While their music can come off as intricately designed at times, the writing process for them is pretty straight-forward. Jeremy and Simon come in with the main idea for the song, be it a verse and a chorus, or a riff, and then elaborate with the rest of the band.

“To put it in the simplest way, our music is not meant to be overly complex, or serious, and it’s not supposed to be uber intense. We want to keep it laid back, so it usually starts with simple ideas; sounds that grip us. And from that, he and I both, through writing songs together since we were 10… We just kind of play off the ideology of 8-bar sections and chorus and build them that way.”

This way the songs have a uniform sound in execution, while it allows for them to take time and develop the ideas over a longer period of time, rather than having to rush into the studio and get everything done then and their. They’re able to sit with things and figure out exactly what each track needs to make it pop. It’s really nice how throughout one project, there is a sense of cohesion, but it never sounds like the songs come across as overly-similar.

Jeremy noted, “This new stuff is also pretty different from our past albums. More similar to Faceless Fiction; less heavy than Spectral Hemorrhage.” An EP which is also adorned with a lovely cover (this time by Jake Stoomby), and filled to the brim with a unique creativity, showing off both musical prowess, but with a more riff-heavy veneer.

The final aspect about their music that is so interesting is the places they go visually. Not only with the stunning album art, or the album titles which elicit visions of verbose psychedelia, but also lyrically.

“I’m pretty into Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft. Just the way they can make words scary. And Simon and I have always bonded over our joy for Kurt Cobain and Bob Dylan,” who’s blunt, but imaginatively constructed lyrics can be heard reflected in some of Mhostly Ghostly’s work.

While they may not strictly live in Bellingham anymore, they’re music certainly has an important place in the foundation of the modern rock scene here.

Catch them playing at the The Firefly Lounge along with Shimmertraps and Spine Reader on Jan. 18. Listen to their latest track “mud” at mhostlyghostly.bandcamp.com.