D//E Interviews: GHXST

Heavy shoegazers, GHXST, have just released Dark Days, their newest EP, and one of their finest offerings thus far. The band discuss their new record and more in an interview with D//E, followed by the dreamy new video for highlight track, U R My Night.

What about James Baldwin's book, Dark Days, made you decide to name your new EP after it? How relevant do you think that book's themes are today?

The most painful thing is that Baldwin’s books are still as relevant as when they were written. Like all doom bands, GHXST is indebted to black music history and especially the blues. It seemed morally wrong to stay silent when systemic racism is so obviously on display in the USA.

Baldwin is a New Yorker, and since he’s both vicious and elegant it seemed like a perfect reference.

It looks like you consistently prefer the EP format rather than the full length. Why is that?

I guess we like how the EP format captures a mood or moment in time. We did release a compilation album EvilWickedDesire with Desire Records which is the only ‘LP’ length album to date. You can still buy that vinyl here

On It Falls Apart you refer to two of all-time heroes of yours, Jimi and Iommi. Are there any other sources from which Dark Days pulls inspiration which are not that easy to detect?

I’m a huge fan of Tinariwen. Some of their Saharan blues style made it into the guitar work for Come Home. And one very obscure reference I’ll share: the film sample from the start of It Falls Apart was taken from the sound of wind before a duel in a Kurosawa film.  

How is the band's creative process usually? Is it more systematic or spontaneous?

In the past we were writing nonstop, mostly inspired by life in NYC. Our sessions would go from late nights into early mornings, six days a week. Now that we’ve grown into our sound, it’s easier to ‘find’ the sound when we write. But songwriting is tough, sometimes you come up with 10 good ideas in one night. Other times you can’t write anything good for weeks. 

As usual with your music, there are a few different musical terms and genres with which one could describe Dark Days. How would you characterize the new EP?

Some combo of psych, grunge, blues, shoegaze, and no wave. But we like to call it doom. 

You've said that you hope someone blows out a speaker playing Dark Days. With which records have you blown out speakers yourselves?

We actually did blow out at least one PA when we first started playing underground venues in Brooklyn. It was the 808 kick that did it. But then one time we saw SALEM wreck an entire sound system during their set. That made me feel better.

How long has it been since you played live? Where do you see things going after the pandemic?

It’s been over a year since our last gig. We really miss it. We’re thinking of recording/streaming some acoustic versions of the songs on this EP. After the pandemic, we’re going to check out venues in California and maybe even come back to Europe again. 

What comes next for the band after the EP's release?

Recording a collection of acoustic murder ballads. 

Band photo courtesy of Big Mouth Publicity

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