Posted On 15 Apr 2019
Meet the synth rock band Dancing With Ghosts! Their album, “Hex” was released on March 22nd. The Florida-based band lyrically bases a majority of their tracks around various struggles with mental illness, layered in with their signature dark synths. Dancing With Ghosts has been primarily DIY throughout the base of their career, something they pride themselves in.
Connect With Dancing With Ghosts Here:
Website – www.dancingwithghosts.co
Facebook – www.facebook.com/dancingwithghosts2
YouTube – www.youtube.com/DancingWithGhosts
Instagram – @dancingwithghostsofficial
Twitter – @DanceGhostDance
Learn more about Dancing With Ghosts in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
We are actually working on our newest music video for “Eyes Wide Open” later today and we’re excited to see some of these scenes come together.
Now that we are well into the 4th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 is treating the band so far? What are some goals that you have for this year? How are those New Years Resolutions going?
It’s been a good year so far complete with lots of live shows, new merch, the completion of our album “Hex” and our impending completion of our 5th music video to date.
One of our goals for this year is more widespread touring, and as such, we are currently booking for an East coast summer tour. This is a very exciting thing for us to be able to get out there and spread some of our “weird” with everyone.
As far as “resolutions” go, neither of us are big into that sort of thing, because we are always active planners, and are constantly thinking of more things we can do, or bigger, better ways to them.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could agree on? Has anything surprised you about this musical journey so far?
Stephanie: The “band” as I knew it, was just Josh when we met. He had been in a lot of previous bands and had learned along the way that depending on others has its challenges and he decided to go at it alone originally. We were hanging out during hurricane Irma. The power was out and he was just playing his acoustic guitar by candlelight, singing his songs. I knew and loved his entire first album, and coming from a band background myself, I had to jump in and sing the backup harmonies. I had secretly wanted in on this project so badly, but wasn’t going to ask. I didn’t know how I could add something that I already viewed so positively. When we got towards the end, he decided abruptly “That’s it. You’re in the band.” On the inside, I was squeeling. On the outside, I was like “sounds good”.
As far as the name goes, it was one that was decided before I was in the band, but one I loved regardless. I thought it fit perfectly.
I’m constantly surprised with the things we accomplish, because we are TRULY D.I.Y. Any music composition, lyrics, photography, music videos, down to the filming and everything, we do it all in house. Josh has been doing some of this for a while, with having a youtube channel and all, but we still find ways to push boundaries of what we thought we could do. I had never gotten behind a camera before being in this band, and am able to see improvement in quality of the scenes and speed at which we can get them done. We are always learning.
How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
Stephanie: Oh lord. I gotta say, coming from Jax, FL, I wouldn’t say I’ve obtained a lot of influence from what is big in the “scene” here. It seems like a lot of what we’d call “butt-rock” or metal, neither of which really does it for me. Aesthetically, we really try to push the limits even for our stage shows, and we don’t really see anything like that locally. We’ve been told by touring bands, we’d get along great in L.A.
How do you think that you have grown as a band since forming? What has remained the same?
It took us a while to kind of create a cohesive vision for “who” we are. Having both been predominantly in rock bands, a lot of ideas in the previous projects were not well received by past bandmates. We both have a flair for the dramatic, and we like things that are interesting to both the eyes AND ears. It’s a delicate balance to strike between the two, because it still has to make sense.
I can say, that working in this dynamic, with Josh also playing producer, my vocal range has really opened up because I am not the only one writing all of my parts, like in past projects. He likes to put me outside my comfort zone and it really gives so much more to the music in return.
Let’s talk about your album, “Hex.” What was it like putting this collection together? What was it like when you got into the studio together to record it? Were there any unexpected challenges about the overall process?
When we got the idea to create “Hex”, it really came from a place of need more than desire. The very first album “Koyaanisqatsi”, was created entirely by Josh. And yet since joining the project, I contribute heavily to the live versions of many of these songs. We had our second album “The Nightmare Inside You” as our first experiment of learning to co-write together and had a lot of of strong tracks on both albums. It got confusing when selling cd’s at shows if people wanted to know “which one they should get”. We wanted to get our best materials in people’s hands and make sure they heard them the way they are performed now. We took what we feel is our best stuff, updated anything from the first album, while adding two entirely new tracks as well. We consider this to be our “definitive works” at this point and it’s what we want to represent us as a band.
While it’s difficult to pick out favorites, can you choose a few songs that stand out and talk about the inspiration behind them and how they came to be on this collection?
Stephanie- Picking favorites is indeed difficult, but one I really enjoy performing is “Circles”. This song is really different from anything else on the album, in that it’s really more of a solo, and the trip-hop style verses and bouncy chorus strays from places we’d usually go. Lyrically, it was written from a dark place for me. Both Josh and I suffer with mental illness that comes in varying forms, with mine leaning more towards anxiety/panic attacks. This song is written about the way in which my anxiety manifests, often repeating themes in circles/loops. The content, I’ve been told is very real and relatable for people and I’m glad to give someone something to cling to, so they know they’re not alone.
Josh- The Narcissist is a favorite of mine right now, since its newer and is exciting to perform live. The production style with the distorted drums and industrial bass sound, combined with the weird guitar effect that I accidentally stumbled upon is just one of the many examples of me having what I like to call a “happy accident” while writing new material.
Generally, how do you all go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
Musically speaking, this is Josh’s area of expertise and he really enjoys crafting the songs. I literally STARTED playing keys as soon as I joined the band, so though I have gained a lot of knowledge and play them in our shows, Josh can actually play a ton of instruments and has been writing a long time. I still have input if I feel strongly about how a song should go, but generally, I leave the ball in his court.
Lyrically, it’s a mixed bag. We both contribute, sometimes writing separately, knowing that this is song that comes from a personal place. Sometimes, we co-write, bouncing ideas or themes off each other. It really depends on the song and its content.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Definitely the stage. We live to perform and engage with the crowd. It has always been a the ultimate dream for us to be able to do that as our “job”. Studio time is pretty rough on both of us honestly, and is what we consider a necessary evil. We are really particular during the recording process and that can get really trying.
Where can fans see you perform next? What do you think makes for an ideal show for this group?
The next shows we have lined up are April 21st at 1904 Music Hall Jacksonville, Fl. and May 25th at Johnny G’s Bar in Lakeland, Fl.
For us, a great show means being put on a bill with bands that have passion for what they’re doing. When we see another band who really thinks outside the box or has some “next-level” type of show, we get really excited. We also live to engage with the crowd. Because our aesthetic is different being dressed as our respective succubus/ witchdoctor characters often for shows, we get a lot of attention before hitting the stage. We love seeing people’s faces during and talking to them after the show. The crowd makes the show. We aim to put on a real “show”, not just limited to what your ears can hear.
Do you find that all of social media and keeping up with your fans has gotten so overwhelming? Or do you rely heavily on others to take care of that for the band? Which platform would you say that you enjoy engaging with the most?
Stephanie- Oh boy, I find the act of posting on all of our social media accounts both exciting and tedious. As we said, we’re very DIY, so we handle all social media ourselves. I always thought that was really cool, seeing a band handle their own accounts, so you know any commentary is coming from the artists themselves, though we recognize the benefits and need in some instances, to have someone handle that for you. Facebook is probably my favorite, only because we don’t have to hashtag everything and the comments are coming from real people who have a real interest in us, and not bots.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
Music has always been an escape for us. I think you’ll find that’s true for many artists. It’s a way to funnel your feelings or stress into something powerful and tangible. It acts as fuel, with your music/art/whatever being the end result. It’s really kind of cool. With a lot of our music being about mental conditions, I think it is definitely relatable for many people. Some of our other songs are narrative driven stories, which can serve to take to listener away, to think about something else. I truly think music is can be one of the most powerful weapons for changing one’s mood, be it for better or worse.
What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day 1?
It’d be challenging to find artists we’d both want to work with but for Josh, it’d be Peter Gabriel and for me, Gerard Way.
Bands like Depeche Mode have served as an influence on our sound since the beginnings. Our individual influences differ a great deal.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
The main thing we really hope is that people can find something relatable or comforting. They are not alone if they are feeling stressed, sad or just ordinary. These are things called the human condition, and are something that should bring people together.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this group?
Our new music video for our song “Eyes Wide Open” will be premiering tomorrow on April 16th on Youtube. You can find our prior videos there as well. We are on Spotify, Itunes, etc, but most importantly, we hope to catch you at a show real soon.