‘I’m the ghost, the ghost of the party. Turn me on with electricity’
Prophetic words. A little gain, a little reverb…suddenly he’s the host of the party. Friendly ghost Sam Stacpoole has descended from the attic and formed a three piece, Holiday Ghosts, alongside long-time band, The Black Tambourines. We catch up with Sam ahead of a big summer for both, with TBT’s new album, ‘Freedom’, out this July.
On a personal level do you now see Holiday Ghosts as not just a side project, but a standalone entity in itself?
Sam: Yeah, Holiday Ghosts has definitely become its own entity. Holiday Ghost [note the singular] started with me making more relaxed music on my own as a side project from The Black Tambourines — usually when band members went on holiday.
But, as a three piece, we’ve played quite a few gigs now, and both Charlie Murphy [of The Red Cords] and Kat Rackin are writing songs for the band at the same rate as I do. Hopefully we can move on to release LPs and tour. We’re in the midst of recording an album, and a solo EP of Kat’s, in which we all play as her backing band. I suppose Charlie and I see Holiday Ghosts as somewhere we can try out ideas that don’t work with our more full-time bands. [Laughs] It’s really cathartic in a way. Loads of people ask us “oh you don’t have anything online or a Facebook page” . We’re probably going to do those things eventually but, as it is, at the moment Charlie and I are so busy with The Red Cords and TBT that we’re not in any rush to have another full time music project. Eventually I hope we will.
It’s also been really fun to learn and play Kat’s music. I think she’s got a really great perspective on writing because she hasn’t been in a band before. It’s refreshing; I always find her tracks are my favourite to play.
The Black Tambourines, The Red Cords, The Golden Dregs, Lost Dawn, Gorgeous Bully, The Isabelles, Goddam Nobody, for a while Pastel Colours, The Spankees(!) … and now Holiday Ghosts. The list goes on. Do you feel, as a however conscious collective, that you feed off each other’s sounds and progress? If so, as figures that loom large over the others, who were the early inspirations of The Black Tambourines, and were any from Falmouth themselves?
Sam: We definitely do feed off each other. We practice in the same room and produce each others records, so it’s hard not to. In The Golden Dregs, for instance, Ben Woods brought in members from almost all of those bands to use on different tracks. I think it’s a really good thing, although I would really like to see someone do something really crazy and unlike anyone else. [Laughs]
‘Viva la Fal’, Wax Music called the all-dayer at Beerwolf back in December. ‘Ocean Rock’, you — maybe with a subtle wink — describe your genre. Is the scene contingent on a geographical location, or a group of friends with similar interests?
Sam: Early on The Black Tambourines took a lot of inspiration from just classic music like The Beach Boys, Jesus and Mary Chain , Velvets, Sonic Youth, and bands like Wavves and No Age that were doing sweet stuff at the time [Stacpoole tellingly elects Brian Wilson as his dream stage buddy, though admits Juan Wauters runs him close…]. Other than Lost Dawn there weren’t really any bands at the time that we wanted to play with or sound like. I remember the early Lost Dawn gigs that we put on being like “Fuck, this is insane! We need to keep being insane!”.
Ocean rock was the natural progression of beach punk. It evolves like Pokémon. We’re just a straight-up rock band really; it’s nice to leave it broad, so people can still be surprised. In terms of geography, Falmouth is such a small place that I don’t think it matters where you are. We’re all just really good friends. If there’s a gig on somewhere one night, chances are there isn’t another somewhere else, so everyone just goes.
The crowds are gathering; ‘all hail Mono’. After smashing it on the venue’s opening weekend back in April, The Black Tambourines are set to play Mono on Thursday 16th July [alongside The Isabelles and London shoegaze outfit, Evans the Death]. Do you think having this new, designated gig space can contribute to taking things to another level again?
Sam: Hell yes. I think that Mono is gonna be great. It’ll be nice to put on a gig in Falmouth and not have to bring our own PA system and sort absolutely everything out. Hopefully it will add Falmouth as a leg on the touring maps of other bands. That’s always been a real problem: you have to travel for hours to see most touring bands. It should be awesome.
FALIFORNIA, more than just The Maritime Museum and a Trago Mills.
The Black Tambourines’s new album, ‘Freedom’, is out this month on Easy Action.
Henry Young @henryoung
Photo: Carolina Faruolo