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What I Learned at Bandcamp: Ghost to Falco

Ghost to Falco, bandcamp, interview

Portland‘s Ghost to Falco has been producing music and DIY tours and albums for over 10 years. In November 2013, the band released its fourth album, Soft Shield, on Italian label Fooltribe and toured across Europe to support the release.

Soft Shield will be released in the U.S. in April but is currently available for streaming on Bandcamp.

The Spec interviewed frontman Eric Crespo, read what he had to say and listen to Ghost to Falco tracks below…

Tell us a little about yourself…
I have a pretty high metabolism. I spend a lot of time in a blanket fort I built in my neighbor’s spider-ridden garage (my practice space). My main residence at the moment is in Portland, Ore. in the southeast part. This is a pretty broad question. I think I’ve already told “a little,” which is what it asked for.

How long have you been making music?
I guess since I was about three. I was known among my family members for making up this short song with an accompanying choreographed dance routine, which consisted of holding both thumbs and forefingers together and doing a curtsy-like sort of thing with your legs. The song went, “hop-low-low…Be it!” I’d try to teach the dance to people, but I was never satisfied with the way they performed it.

I got an electric guitar when I was 14.

Who/what are your influences?
For the past many years I’ve been dreaming a lot about the canyon country of Southeastern Utah. Some of the stuff on the album is trying to musically evoke that landscape I think. I live in Portland so dreaming about the desert is sort of a good escape from the often rainy grayness. I’ve been down to Southeastern Utah to hike around and camp a lot, once for a month straight, and I can never go back as much as I want so I make music to sort of evoke the feeling of being there. I try to come up with my own way to conjure the canyon country desert but it’s tough when Morricone really nailed it down with his western soundtracks. It sounds so right at this point. It’s ingrained. He did for the desert what theremins did for outer space.

What is your favorite song on the new album and why?
Probably, “High Treason.” It’s got pedal steel on it which is pretty exciting to me. Also, I don’t completely understand what’s going on with all the interplay between the instruments, even though I orchestrated the thing. I like trying to uncover the mystery of it. The mystery keeps me coming back.

Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
I’ve got a project coming up pretty soon that’s been on my mind a lot–for the release show for our new album we’re playing the album from start to finish, and we’re going to have all the instrumentation from the album performed live. We usually play as a trio with guitar, bass, drums, monophonic synthesizer, and sampler, but for this show we’ll have cello, violin, pedal steel, piano, extra percussion, extra singers. Some songs will just be the trio, but some will be seven people on stage–it just depends on what was recorded for that specific song on the album. I’ve never tried to do such a large production for a live show, so I’m pretty excited to see how it goes down.

Also excited to play with some people I’ve never played with before. The cello player I’ve never even met in real life! Sometimes playing music with new people opens new doors.

Past that, I’d like to tour solidly for the new album, but it’s just not so easy. We’ve been on tour a lot already. We toured Europe for all of October and November. Basically, we just can’t afford to go on tour much at the moment.

Also, I think about starting a really trippy band with the mountain dulcimer I got for Christmas. I want to have the right people in it though. I just don’t know.

If you could no longer be a musician, what would you be or do for a living?
This question assumes that I make a living as a musician, which is unfortunately not true. I consider making music my life’s work, but that’s different than making a living at it. If I constantly toured, didn’t pay rent anywhere, and mostly toured solo then I could support myself doing Ghost to Falco. I’ve considered it for sure and have lived that way for months at a time. I think the music would suffer if I did that full time though, and I would have to break off the relationship with my loving girlfriend, which I definitely don’t want to do.

I’d also have to mostly go at that solo style, which is how I started doing Ghost to Falco–I used guitar loops, and samples and analog synthesizer to make a lot of sound. I still like playing one-off shows like this, but I feel like the music lacks something when I perform solo. I like composing for a band nowadays. So, anyway, bottom line is there’s not enough of a fan base at this time to earn a living from Ghost to Falco.

As far as what I actually do for a living, it’s varied a lot over the years. For many years I worked on call at residential treatment facilities for people with mental illness. It was interesting for a long time, and super flexible–I could leave town whenever I wanted, pick up shifts when I needed them, but it didn’t pay so great and I just got burned out on it. A guy who has played off and on in Ghost to Falco for years just got me a job at the bar he works at as a barback/dishwasher/food runner. I’ve got two days a week there, and it’s a pretty nice place to work, as far as that goes. I’ve also done stagehand work and gardening for the past many years so I might continue to do that some. I’ve also done a lot of focus groups for money in my life and that’s usually hilarious. I think they’re on to me though. They’ve stopped choosing me. Sadly, I think they prefer to get people who don’t try to make a living from focus groups.

If I never got into playing music I think I would have liked to have been a filmmaker or maybe a cultural anthropologist who studies indigenous tribes by living with them. When I was a kid I wanted to be a pro baseball player. Maybe I would have done that. I’m also working on this series of paintings right now, so I guess being an artist for living would have been something else I would have liked to do. Any lofty, dreamer sort of profession would suit me I guess! But at the moment being a part-time employee at a bar where I work with friends, and working on music and art kind of feels like living the dream, I gotta admit.

Oh, but also I’m trying to get into doing video editing for money. If anyone needs any video editing done get at me. I got a grant recently and got the stuff for it. I’m ready to go.

What musicians or bands do you look up to?
Ohioan, Halcyonaire, Low Hums

Why do you make music?
I wish I knew!

Anything else you’d like readers to know that we haven’t asked you about?
Yes. A lot of stuff. If I got going I don’t think I’d stop, so I’m not gonna start. I got other stuff to do.

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