Ahead of the released this Friday of Ghost Of The Avalanche's fourth EP ‘Obsessive Compulsive Gender Dysphoria’ we caught up with Nick, one half of the bass and drum driven noise-punk duo.
Nick Wiltone and Mel Per-Hour create the kind of maelstrom that straddles punk, hardcore and guttural rock but in amongst the discordance, you’ll find pockets of pop sensibility.
How long have you been going, how did you come together?
Mel and I met whilst playing in other bands on our local music scene. I told him I was looking to do a side project as a duo and he offered his services. We played on and off together for a couple of years but only as and when we had the time. A few years later we both quit our respective bands and decided to start up what would become Ghost Of The Avalanche again. That was around 2014 so we've been playing as GOTA for about 4 years.
Are you pretty collaborative … do you write your songs together and share similar influences?
Yeah, we are very collaborative. I usually bring a rough idea to practice and we play around with it until it becomes a full song. Without Mel's input those songs would sound very different. We both like all different kinds of music but where our influences meet is usually heavy bands who know how to write a hook. 'Dark Pop' as I like to call it.
How about your creative process, what inspires you to create particular songs?
Each song has a different starting point as an idea and we usually build on that. So sometimes it might start with a line of lyrics or a bass riff but ultimately if it's a goer we have to be feeling it when we come together in the practice room. We know pretty quickly if something is going to work or not. A lot of our songs are socio-political in their lyrical content but we don't like to be too obvious about it. We want people to think and listen and take what they want from it. In terms of the music, we try and write songs we want to listen to so generally they are high energy, a bit riffy, and we try to write good hooks as we believe that's what makes a song memorable. We also try and write songs that let us put on a great show whether we're playing in your parents living room or at an open air festival.
So is there a story behind the new EP?
This new EP has been in the making for quite some time. Last year my wife and I had a baby daughter which meant I didn't have loads of spare time to write so we didn't make it into the studio until earlier this year. Whilst that was happening Mel came out as gender-fluid and so we both had a lot going on (and still do) in our personal lives. The EP is a reflection of change and growing up. I've previously struggled with OCD and always thought of it as a negative thing. I used to be quite secretive about it, trying to hide it from my peers much like Mel with his gender fluidity as I didn't want to be judged by others. But now I have a daughter (she's asleep on me as I type this) I want her to be able to grow up not feeling scared of anything and that these kinds of issues are not taboo. Mel and I decided to call the EP 'Obsessive Compulsive Gender Dysphoria' as it's a combination of the things we've both struggled with but we're transforming them into something positive and wearing them on our collective sleeve. It's recognising we have these issues, being ok with that and you never know, hopefully we help others who may be struggling with their own issues by being honest.
If you had to describe each band member in only 3 words, what would they be?
Mel - Funny, energetic, sassy
Me - handsome, suave and debonair
What's next for you this year?
The EP is out on 25th August and then we start our 'Obsessive Compulsive Gender DysTOURia' which is a bunch of shows in the UK then a few in France. We will also hopefully be putting together a couple of videos to go with a couple of tracks off the new EP and then I guess we'll do more shows and start writing some new songs!
You can check them out at www.facebook.com/ghostoftheavalanche and grab merch & music from: www.ghostoftheavalanche.bandcamp.com.
The special edition pre-order comes with limited edition GOTA tote bag featuring EP artwork. 5-track CD (with additional bonus material) complete with special edition artwork is limited to 100 copies worldwide. Pre-order comes with stickers and badges.
Also check them out on their upcoming tour dates:
27th August – Teapfest, Barnstaple
1st September – The Granary, Frome
2nd September – Mothers’ Ruin, Bristol
9th September – Wagon & Horses, Birmingham
7th October – The Royal Oak, Bath