Dale Husband is the man behind the upcoming acoustic project Glad Town Ghosts that have only recently released their debut single, including B sides and demos, on Massive Skull Records. Having hired Wraiths, the band whom Dale plays bass and adds backing vocals for, to play a local show in Wakefield – I was given the opportunity to speak to him about his individual project in what proved to be an intimate conversation about the emotion and story behind Glad Town Ghosts and its emotive music.
Thank you very much for your time. Being as you’re currently the bassist in the hardcore/metal band Wraiths, what inspired you to take such a drastic change of musical direction in a solo undertaking?
It’s ok! Thanks for taking time out of your holiday to ask me questions, it’s very admirable. Yeah it’s a weird one, in short I’ve been writing songs for years and also playing in hardcore bands just as long, I played a tonne of shows in 2012 just under my own name playing acoustic music, then joined Wraiths and put it on the back-burner, I was still constantly writing but never releasing anything. The guys in Wraiths and a few of my other friends would be at me all the time to start bringing solo music out again and then Massive Skull records messaged me asking if they could put something out with me, I love that label so I decided to pick it up again with some new songs and a new name.
Would you say your time prior to joining Wraiths, being an acoustic project, was as successful as it is now?
I wouldn’t say so, I didn’t really care for pushing it then. I was still finding my feet figuring out what style of music I wanted to bring out, I only really started playing acoustic shows to force myself into finishing songs because I’m my own worst critic and usually end up shelving 80% of the things I write. People did seem to like my stuff though, but I’m a lot more focused on taking a proper approach this time around and hopefully pushing it as far as it can go. It’s a different thing musically but being in Wraiths has been a crash course in how to be in a band really, there’s a lot of really great guys in and around that band so I’ll be applying what I’ve learned from them in the past year or so to Glad Town Ghosts for sure.
Sounds like they’re very supportive of you!
Seeing as you are your own worst critic and your debut single is to be released shortly; are you proud of how it’s turned out overall?
Yeah man, they’re a bunch of positive bullies. Yeah, I am. It’s probably the most happy I’ve been with anything in a long time. Mike from Massive Skull and Luke from a band called Lessons had a lot of input with harmonies and instrumentation so I just wrote this really simple song that’s a lot more personal and less metaphorical than my older stuff and we met up in a flat by the sea and laid it down over some smokes. It was a totally cool way of recording it, and I think I sound a lot let tense on it than I tend to get in actual studios. I wrote it really quickly as well, and recorded it a couple of days afterwards so I didn’t really have time to pick it apart. So it is what it is I guess, I just hope people dig it.
Sounds like a very unique and chilled out way of getting things done. I know I would definitely appreciate something like that.
As you say you’re the most happy you’ve been with anything in a long time, what sort of mood would you apply to Glad Town Ghost’s music? To me, I get a very rustic sense of longing and almost sadness in parts of some songs.
Yeah it worked pretty well, it’s not the kind of music that should be tight to a click track and be full of bells and whistles I think. Yeah, I’m happy with the music but it’s not really happy music, I agree! I have a kind of ridiculous mind at times and think a lot about scenarios and people around me, probably over think actually. Longing is definitely a recurring theme, the concept of time and what we do with it is something I’m in love with so it probably reflects a lot of that. And the past 12 months have been kind of crazy emotionally, so sadness is probably pretty on the mark. There is a bit of positivity there though, I’m all about hope as well.
Understanding that concept myself, I can see the appeal for the style of music to go hand-in-hand with those themes.
The atmosphere that’s built by the instrumentation allows your vocals and the lyrics to work very well. What would you say inspired the hopeful side of things? Your song ‘Coalmine Song’ acts more like a tale than a lamentation. I love the post rock-eque guitar that sounds so distant as the rest of the song carries on.
Yeah we really wanted to have a nice ‘bed’ or organs and strings etc. Nothing too over-bearing just something to add some atmosphere to the tracks. I’m kind of bias against that song because it was the first solo thing I released in 2012 and my friends still sing it to me now, it’s taken me this long to want to listen to it again, never mind have it on a proper release. It’s probably my most hopeful track to date yeah, probably because it’s just a really simple message and image, it is a tale you’re right. It’s not really personal but my grandfather was a miner and my Dad grew up in a really rural, salt of the earth way. So it’s more a commentary on his extended family and the good, simple living vibe I’ve picked up off him. The only thing I really love about that song is the added instrumentation, it’s all Jamie Donnelly who recorded the track. He’s very much a proper producer and he’s a real student of the art he loves, he totally made that track 100 times more than it was.
I think it’s great, for what that’s worth. It really gives a sense of the time which the lyrics are depicting, which is a rare quality these days. What other artists would you say influenced the release and the sound of Glad Town Ghosts?
Thanks very much man, I’ve kind of over-written my own opinion of it to be fair so it’s nice other people have good things to say about it. I’m the world’s biggest Iron & Wine fan, I think his lyrics are as close to God as I could get. I try and match a bit of that style with more simply arranged stuff like The Low Anthem and Bob Dylan, I’m into a lot of more punk based acoustic stuff like Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry, Tom Gabel etc. and a tonne of ambient music so I draw influence from everywhere really and try and take stabs at certain styles. People seem to liken my newer stuff to Bon Iver and a male Joni Mitchell which is a very cool comparison, although I’m about .5% as talented as any of those names. My Mam thought a Great Lake Swimmers song was one of mine the other day, which was pretty funny.
You can most definitely hear a variety of influences in your music.
Seems you’re getting somewhere with that much recognition then!
How have shows been? Positive reaction?
Yeah I’ve only sent it to a number of magazines/radio and some friends but it’s all been great feedback so far so I can’t complain. I haven’t actually played any Acoustic shows since June 2012 haha, I’m just starting to book some up now but I’m trying to be selective I guess. I got tired of playing to loud drunk guys a while ago. I played a song on Piano to one of my closest friend’s boyfriend and sister last weekend, that’s the nearest I’ve got to a show in ages. They liked it though, so it’s a 100% positive reaction out of the 2 people that have heard Glad Town Ghosts live.
No doubt the positive reaction will spread. Although the answer to this question may seem obvious, I’d like to know your explanation – how would you compare shows with your role in Wraiths to Glad Town Ghosts?
It’s pretty much as opposite as 2 projects could be, I love Wraiths because I love playing in bands, I love really heavy music and I love really aggressive live shows which is pretty much the impetus of what we do. I’m not me when Wraiths play because it’s a room full of people been really over the top angry which is awesome fun but I treat it as just that, like I can’t really express my thoughts and feelings about the world and people in Wraiths songs aside from screaming about how much it sucks. They both compliment each other though, I’m lucky enough to be able to put exactly how I feel personally into motion with Ghosts and then cut myself off from life and be a lunatic on stage with Wraiths. It keeps me busy though and both are totally rewarding. There’s a massive level of camaraderie in my band as well, driving around the country in a van playing Metal with a bunch of great dudes is a nice change from sitting on my own writing sad music.
In that case, would you say that Glad Town Ghosts is cathartic?
I’d never thought of that actually but I’d say so yeah, I’m pretty terrible at expressing myself completely to people so it’s a good medium for doing that. It’s not all negative emotion but the majority of my negative emotion is put into songs, most of them aren’t heard by anyone but me, but it’s nice to get thoughts on paper and be able to analyse them in a different sense I suppose.
Yeah, allows for clearer thoughts for yourself.
How about the name Glad Town Ghosts, how did that come about?
Yep exactly! Like solo counselling. It was more or less a cool phrase I just thought up, I think it was a line in a song or an idea for a song. Once I decided to start another acoustic project, the first decision I made was that it definitely wasn’t going to be my name. I recently moved back from Manchester and was walking back from a pretty heavy night with a friend of mine from home and said we should start a band with that name. We weren’t really in a state to viably start a band at all but the name stuck. I think it kind of fits with the sound anyway.
I think you’re right, it fits well as a name.
And so, my final question, what are you going to do after the release of the single? What are your future plans? Will you be unearthing shelved material to release or writing new stuff?
We’re currently rushing around trying to sort some press for the single, so we’re going to push that for a couple of weeks and film some acoustic sessions and updates in some nice places around Cleveland. Probably book a few shows here and there and finish recording the EP which hopefully will be out by September. I’m still writing a lot of it, I have about 30 sketches of songs from the past 8 or 9 months and I’ve started piecing them together and re-drafting a lot of them. So it’ll be probably be a lot of stuff that’s been revisited and given some new ideas. It’ll be new to people that hear it anyway!
Thanks a lot for your time man I appreciate the questions been outside of the stockpile of boring interview questions. No doubt I’ll see you at a Satanist convention soon.
It’s been a pleasure man, thank you for being so open. Really love your music.
And so, there you have it. Glad Town Ghosts have now released their debut single and Dale is continuing to work hard on his project, something I am most looking forward to.