Brighton With Ghostpoet.
We met up with Ghostpoet back in Summer for a chat.
Purveyor of melancholic jams and woozy lo-fi beats combined with words of the everyday and hard learnt wisdom.
Hazy sunshine hits the beachfront in Brighton on a day when the weather hasn’t quite decided between Summer and the beginning of Autumn. I’m sitting in the bar at the Concorde 2 in the late afternoon waiting for the arrival of Ghostpoet, an artist nominated for the Mercury Music Award for his debut album Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam. A soft light has begun to creep through the window and starts to fill the room.
Ghostpoet, or Obaro Ejimiwe as he is known to his family and friends, arrives with an understated smile that hints excitement, one that shows us how the tables have turned. He will now be performing on the stage that bore witness to the bands he watched growing up.
We sit and chat about his debut album, which deals with living life and the trials and tribulations it brings, both real and imaginary. Lines like ‘I’m tired of insufficient funds and dodgy phone calls’ and ‘key in the door but the door won’t open’ reveal an honesty and experience that a lot of people can relate to. Ghostpoet contemplates when asked about the various knockbacks taken in recent years, the boring job or the frustration with the slow progress of getting his music to the next level. “It’s what I do, it’s just life. I think it’s never a walk in the park but I think if you keep going then you’ll get somewhere”.
It is balanced with a comedic pinch of salt, says Ghostpoet “I think there has to be comedy with the hard hitting stuff”. Referring to lines like ‘Wear things like pork pies and eat things like pork pies’. It’s finding humour in the every day or in just a moment that Ghostpoet holds on to and works from to create his music.
Ghostpoet draws inspiration from a cross section of places, his past, the present and things around him. “It’s from the music I hear, people I meet, even to the things I eat” (Laughs). His parents bought him some basic decks for Christmas when he was younger. This, coupled with influences from Badly Drawn Boy and Roots Manuva, formed the basis for experimentation that later came into focus on late nights whilst he was at Coventry University.
The change from a struggling musician working a 9-5 job to touring nationwide and being featured on The Streets mixtape ‘Cyberspace and Reds’ has by no means come easily. You get the impression it is something he is just about beginning to believe. But amongst this constant shift and transformation there is one thing that will remain the same…
“I do like EastEnders but I’m more of a fan of Come Dine With Me” (Laughs).
Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam is available by CD via Rough Trade, Amazon and HMV.
Also available digitally from 7digital, Play.com and Itunes.
Catch Ghostpoet here: http://www.ghostpoet.co.uk/
Words and Photography Patrick Bethell.
Illustration and last photo Lorna Harrington.
Editing Ellen Melhuish.