1. What have you been listening to lately?
I have been listening to a lot of podcasts. I get pretty burnt out on music, especially if I’m touring, it starts to all be too much. I listen to WTF with Marc Maron a lot. I’m pretty in love with him. I also like Conan’s podcast.
2. I think that The Kinks were the best part of the British invasion in the 60’s. What is your most controversial music opinion?
Here’s the thing, I agree. The Kinks are one of my all time favorite bands. That being said I’m pretty tired of classic rock and being so inundated with it. I hate classic rock stations, I hate hearing the same shit day in and day out on every radio station.
3. How do I put on a SXSW showcase?
Who the hell knows, maybe perform some kind of ancient sacrifice, or be born into incredible wealth. I don’t know, that stuff always seems like a “it’s who you know” kind of thing.
4. Where do bands get haircuts when they’re on the road? Is that something bands even think about?
I’m struggling with that at the moment. My hair is getting too long and I feel like I look like a dummy at each show, much to my dismay, but what can you do? I’m also fairly particular about who cuts my hair. I had someone named Nicole in Austin who was amazing, but I moved recently so I have to find someone new.
5. If we were to start a band together what would we be called?
Loser Born Ghost
6. You have to team up with one late night talk show host to fight 2 other late night hosts. Who is on your team, and which 2 are you fighting?
I would team up with Conan O’brien or Craig Ferguson and we would absolutely obliterate Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel. Can’t stand either one of them, I’ve tried, I just can’t.
7. Who would win in a fight? Casper the friendly ghost, or Patrick Swayze from the movie Ghost?
Patrick Swayze would make Casper wish he’d never been dead (or killed? Idk I’m trying to do a play on the “wish you’d never been born” thing).
8. Have you ever seen a ghost, or had any paranormal experience?
I grew up on the line of Massachusetts and Rhode Island which I think lends itself to paranormal experiences, but my time with that stuff is minimal. When I was younger I would try, I’d go to “haunted” locations and poke around and get nervous and run away. I also just get kind of annoyed with people and their ghost stories. I’m just not the audience for them.
9. What is the worst piece of advice that you can give me?
Get into ska music.
10. Any local Austin bands that you want to highlight?
Hey Cowboy and Daphne Tunes
Isaac Gutierrez for BL Mag: We last talked back in August when you released your single No Future! I saw that you are currently on tour with Sasha and the Valentines. What else have you been up to since then?
Alex Whitelaw (Spirit Ghost): I moved back home after living in Austin for 5 years. I fell into a pretty deep depression while I was down there that was definitely exacerbated by the pandemic. My last year down there was just exceptionally bad. I was getting anxious and hyperventilating to the point that I was crying and hiding in the bathroom at work everyday and I couldn’t bring myself to do anything. I was going broke from medical expenses and I was kind of just falling apart. I’ve been taking steps to kind of undo whatever was crushing me down there, but it’s been a slow process. I think moving back home has helped to alleviate a lot of the intensity of those feelings. I also think setting boundaries with people close to me and acknowledging that that’s not being mean that’s doing what’s best for me has been really nice.
You have a new single called I Prayed that comes out soon! Talk to us a bit about that song.
It is my favorite song I’ve ever written. It’s a sound that I’ve always wanted to capture, which is this combination of 50’s crooners with modern pop sensibility and dark subject matter. I think it’s the type of song I wish I could continuously write. I wrote it towards the start of the pandemic (surprise surprise). I think I was trying to convey this feeling of complete and utter isolation while being surrounded by people who are close to you. It’s a feeling I had been ruminating on for a while and I think something in me was just beginning to unravel as the pandemic continued to unfold.
The single is also accompanied with a music video. Tell us a bit about how the idea for the video came about.
I met Lucy and Vincent from videos they had done for Sasha. I liked what they had been able to do and I had always had this idea in my head of an isolated performer being taken over by their shadow side, but I didn’t want to waste the idea with a half assed video. I felt like Lucy and Vincent could help me make it the way I envisioned it. I like the image of a performer alone in a spotlight trying to win over the audience. I think it’s a type of isolation and desperation that not everyone gets to experience. I seem to return to that image a lot. I did it in the music video for “If Only” as well. I also had a friend named Ivy Pac who I knew did these really cool dances that she’d post to instagram and I wanted to incorporate her as this shadow figure. I also just like playing dress up, I like wearing a white tuxedo with a bow tie.
What is the most important thing to you when it comes to creating?
I want to like what I make. That’s really all it is. I just feel incredibly happy when I make a song. I think I still can’t believe I can do it. It’s this feeling of overwhelming joy where I can’t stop listening to it over and over again and dancing around like a kid. That joy is what’s always been most important to me. Honestly, sometimes sharing it with people is the worst part, because they’re never gonna be as excited about it as I am. I think I just never thought I was supposed to be somebody who could make songs. I mentioned this in our previous interview, but I just don’t come from a musical family, I am kind of the only one who does it and I think I sucked at it for a long long time. I still don’t think I’m great at it, that’s why I’m so appreciative that anyone seems to like it.
What does “success” look like to you as far as music goes?
I think I’m already successful. I feel like if you have one person like your music and you like what you make then you are successful. I think being able to support myself would be nice, but I also acknowledge a lot of people don’t get the amount of attention that even I get so I am just always grateful that anyone listens to me or DM’s me to tell me my song helped them a lot. I don’t know, I think that that’s just really special. I think it’s important to remember nobody has to give a fuck about anything and music is one of the most subjective things you can do, so I don’t know, shoot for the stars and all that, but also acknowledge what you have.
Can we expect to see/hear from Spirit Ghost in the near future?
Yeah, this song is the second song off a full length that will be out in March. I’m planning some northeast shows for the future which are coming together nicely.
Any plans to do any touring with Spirit Ghost anytime in the near future?
I would love to. I hope people like this new album enough that touring becomes more feasible. I know there are people who would like to see me perform live and I’d love to meet them and thank them in person. I hope I can take this album out on the road.
Is there anything that you want our readers to know?
I just appreciate you reading this interview and hope I come off as somewhat coherent and if you’re a fan that’s really nice, thank you.
To wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?
What makes you want to run a music blog and what do you hope you can do for artists that you cover?
After college my biggest fear was losing my creativity if I wasn't investing any time into anything that helped me sharpen my creativity. I'm not that good at music, so I figured this was the next best thing. There was also a ton of questions that I have for bands that I listen to, but when I'd go look at old interviews everyone would just ask the same questions and phrase them in the same exact way, so I thought "Why not ask them myself?"
I think I just want to help artists in any way I can. I love investing in people. I love seeing people grow and achieve their goals. So if I can have even the most minuscule part in helping them on that journey then I'm happy. I like asking goofy/dumb questions because I feel like it lets fans see a different side of their favorite bands or artists. I also just want to be friends with a ton of creative people.