Welcome to yet another GDD exclusive interview! Here We are with Grey Ghost, master producer, and super cool dude. San Diego’s pride and glory while keeping it classy. He has been kind enough to sit down, and give you a little teaser of the man within the ghost. All righty, lets get started!
GDD: Kinda been a tradition over here at GDD for a while, but what do you drink? The first round is on us.
Grey Ghost: Depends on the time of day guys — wake me up with an iced coffee and I’m your best friend. Lunch i prefer unfiltered city water and at night I’m all for a good kettle + soda with two limes. Blue moon is my favorite beer
GDD: That’s only because you haven’t tried Alagash white, now that’s a beer! You’re Grey ghost, aka Anthony Ross, aka half of bubblegum sci-fi. What does each name entail? any secret personas or lives? Where is this magical time portal you’ve found and allowed you to be the producing maniac of the 21st century?
Grey Ghost: I know, someone asked me before if I had a split personality disorder. I’ve never been tested but other than talking to myself too much I think I’m pretty normal. I’ve really struggled in my musical career to find my “sound” until mid 2009. Up until that time I was doing all records under Anthony Ross and looking back i think that was a mistake. It’s so easy to be inspired by so many genres and trends, sounds etc. I was putting out electro tracks, nu-disco tracks, prog-house tracks, techno tracks all under Anthony Ross and I think I was alienating my audience by doing so. I realized after a few months that i really wanted to do a nu-disco alias. Lifelike was someone who I was continuously getting inspired by so that’s when I came up with “Grey Ghost” ( I have a weimaraner for a dog, that’s where the name comes from ). I decided that I needed to focus all my energy on “identifiable sounds” for each name and that’s why I think there’s more congruency with my projects now. I’m really quite happy with each. Anthony Ross is all big room house, DJ friendly records. Grey Ghost is dedicated to the French nu-disco sound and Bubblegum Sci-Fi with Lee is indie electro, with each project you can really hear the distinguishing characteristics that make them unique.
GDD: If you could create a complete alter-ego what kind of awesomeness would that entail. Would Danger be your sidekick or enemy?
Grey Ghost: I’d get an all dark grey motorcycle with a side cart and put my dog in it. We’d cruise the boardwalk and eat in-n-out all day. Hangin tough…
GDD: Animal style is messy while riding a bike, trust me i know So you’re at the forefront of the dance scene in San Diego and the resident DJ at Voyer. What’s the electronic scene looking like down there at the moment and what do you see in it for the future?
Grey Ghost: I could not be more impressed with San Diego. 4 yrs ago I was the resident for Giant @ Belo and we had our good & bad nights there but the reality was our audience wasn’t as educated as the talent we were bringing in. Then Voyeur came into town and flipped the script. We’ve booked smaller acts, bigger acts and everything in between. Our audience has totally backed us on our talent buys and allowed us to be taste makers in a market that originally didn’t even exist to some agencies/artists. I don’t think San Diego is a mini LA by any means but our scene hasn’t been stronger and it’s growing at an amazingly fast rate. Very very excited to be at the forefront and helping with all that is Voyeur.
GDD: How do you feel about how fast music travels today online through blogs and such? Are you thankful for the internet’s ability to really get your name and your music out there or do you think its turning into a plague? How do you think the blogs and aggregator sites like Hype Machine are changing the face of electronic music and all the people and events connected to it?
Grey Ghost: Blogs, love ’em or hate ’em have been responsible for more viral marketing for artists then anyone will probably admit. I like that anyone can have an opinion on music, i like EVEN MORE that people like yourselves are taste makers to an entire generation of kids that aren’t accustomed to nu-disco or electro or whatever. Blogs are educating the next set of fans and i couldn’t be more pleased with what Blogs have done for me. I do understand the frustration from some people because artists in our scene can’t make a living from just writing music anymore, they have to go tour.
GDD: How and when did you start spinning?
Grey Ghost: I was doing my high school dances on belt drive turn tables and American DJ CDJ’s! I still had a sign up that said no requests.
GDD: Were you a producer or DJ first? What programs and instruments are found on stage and in your studio.
Grey Ghost: I was DJing in high school and thru college and started producing around 19. My studio is filled with synths from old school 1970s’/80’s Rolands to the Virus to some Nords etc. I’m a big believer that if you want a “vintage” sound you need to buy some vintage gear otherwise it sounds like your faking it. I use ableton live for all my sequencing and i mix everything in that program. I tend to master all my own stuff although recently I started contracting that out. I’m not a certified engineer or anything i just do it all by ear.
GDD: What and when do you consider your big “break.” Caus guess what…You’ve made it…3 times….
Grey Ghost: Ya know, i still dont’ think i’ve had my big break yet. I’ve had a lot of support and a lot of things have worked out in my favor but I don’t think i’ve left my mark on the music biz yet. Rest assured i’m working my tail off to get there though! I will say one of my highlights that i’ve enjoyed so far includes 6 weeks on the billboard dance chart (top 35) for my remix with deth hertz on Felix Da Housecat’s “We All Want to be Prince” on Nettwerk.
GDD: yeah! Thanks a killer jam as well. Now everyone that has heard Cryophonik – Essence (grey ghost remix) has obviously made some babies to that song, and if you haven’t you should, but, what song for you has that same kind of magic?
Grey Ghost: hahaha. Baby making music was not intended, more of an affect i guess. That remix took me the longest, i spent so much time on each little element in that track. There are a lot of records from the late 70s early 80s that push fwd a similar emotion but by today’s standards Relation – Your Tiny Mind(Lifelike Remix) seems to be one of the most well written nudisco/synth pop records in the last few years for me.
GDD: Any new remixes, collaborations or hopefully some original stuff in the works? I’m itching for a Kenny Loggins – Highway to the Danger Zone (grey Ghost edit). Now that would slay some cheeks and shoot down some migs at the same time!
Grey Ghost: I’m scared to know what that might sound like. I write about 3-6 tracks a month right now so you can imagine I have a sea of music on the horizon. I’ve been more focused on Anthony Ross records these last few months as i’m prepping for my first WMC. I’ve completed a new Bob Sinclar bootleg with Lazy Rich that is quite magical and some bigger, more clubby type stuff as well.
GDD: Would you rather wear a permanent life jacket or a helmet for the rest of your life?
Grey Ghost: lifejacket, i’m not the most amazing swimmer. also i have a fairly large head/skull so i look goofy in helmets
GDD: Who would you say had the biggest influence on bringing the electronic scene to where it is today? Who have you personally been most influenced by? Who did you grow up listening to?
Grey Ghost: I think Fatboy Slim probably should take a huge part of the credit… while a lot of his records were cut up samples (just like prodigy) he took a subgenre and made it internationally known. I have personally been most influenced by the Cure, The Human League, etc.
GDD: If you could collaborate and work with anyone who would it be and why?
Grey Ghost: Lifelike. I have a mancrush on this guys work.
GDD: huge stage or intimate setting?
Grey Ghost: i’ve never played a big festival so i can’t say for sure but i do enjoy the smaller clubs that have a great system. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s 10 people or 3000 i still get really nervous before i play lol.
GDD: Any advice you’d like to give to the youngins out there hoping to rip our eardrums out in musical harmony and tear holes in our all-stars across the globe?
Grey Ghost: Find out what makes you… you. I wish someone would have told me: write music for yourself until you find your own sound, don’t worry about releasing stuff. When you feel, as an artist, that what you’re doing speaks to the highest level of what “you” are, then push forward and never look back. There is almost an audience for anything right now and if you really pick your path the masses will get behind you
GDD: And of course, do you Dance Dirty?
Grey Ghost: I’ve really only got a few dance moves, none of them are “dirty”, more “nerdy” and “embarrassing” for those around.
Thanks for taking the time with us! We’re all huge fans over here at GDD and can’t wait to see what the future holds in store. You can catch Mr. Anthony Ross at Voyer in San Diego Friday nights!