How did the band come to be?
The band was launched after I had the idea of a concept album about the 1980s hard rock scene in Los Angeles California. I got a hold of my friend and 30+ year bandmate Todd Long and shared the idea. He was totally into it and by the end of that day we had the skeleton of the song “Miles In-Between” that ultimately became our first single released on Golden Robot Records.
Do you have any releases coming up in the new year?
In October we will release our second single on Golden Robot Records called “Never Goodbye” then follow-up in November with our full EP release. We’ve already begun work on a full-length that should come in 2021.
What is something you want listeners to take away from your music?
I think it would be nice if listeners could take a piece of the characters portrayed in the music and let that shape their level of empathy and understanding for other human beings. On our EP “Headed West”, the concept of the album is a fictional band that leaves their hometown and heads to the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles to “make it big”. Just by listening to the stories that unfold within that framework could serve to change the perspective that many people have concerning the 1980s “hair metal” scene. It wasn’t always sex, drugs, and rock n roll. For the bands that found success, a key ingredient they all share is guts and hard work. Those are universally required for success in nearly any endeavor.
With everything that is going on in our world what is one cause or organization that you are passionate about?
For me (John Merchant) personally, MUSICARES through the Recording Academy deals with addiction recovery. Being in recovery myself, it’s close to my heart. With what’s happening in our world today it’s easy to fall into depression, and depression begets sadness, begets pain, begets a quest to numb that pain, which oftentimes leads to substance abuse in many forms. Hopeless hearts are the perfect breeding ground for addiction.
What is your writing process like?
Usually we share very rough riff ideas, then start to hammer out a song structure. Once we get a skeleton in place, I start to search for a theme and story for lyrics and let the melody serve to move that story along. As we’re working through that, we’re also adding musical parts to the original skeleton that support the storyline and add emotion and texture. It’s really like painting, just with words, music, and melody.
To follow up with the last question, what inspires your sound?
Every single song that’s ever connected with us. That can be music that we grew up with and artists we idolized, to a song that may have caught our ear on the radio or elsewhere. We’re a rock n roll band with strong 1980s hard rock and metal roots, but we let our music be informed and influenced by any genre that speaks to us. That opens the door for everyone from Bruce Springsteen, Jason Isbell, and Bob Dylan, to RATT, Motley Crue, Poison, Faster Pussycat and LA Guns. If it tells its story and draws a listener in, we’re onboard. We don’t discriminate. A good song can come from anywhere.
Any tours coming up soon?
Covid-19 has spun our industry completely sideways and has put a lot of our brothers and sisters out of work. We’re hoping that 2021 sees the business start to recover. Shows are being announced by artists in multiple different genres. Ghosts of Sunset are already having conversations with our team at Samurai Artist Management about festival dates and supporting slots on several tours. Of course, it seems the entire world is up in the air now. We’re keeping our fingers crossed and are excited to take this music to like-minded people as well as turn some new people on.
Anything you would like to tell our readers?
Please visit us on all the normal social media platforms. Like, comment and more importantly share. Just like it was when we were coming up, “tell a friend” is one of the greatest, most organic ways a band can build itself. We want everyone to know how grateful Ghosts of Sunset are for all the love and support so far. We’re just getting started and the fans we’re connecting with are creating a supportive, loving, inclusive community. It’s insanely exciting.