Music & clubs

Six questions for… Ghostpoet

Bard of the spectral spectrum and a lad talking about mundanity, Obaro Ejimiwe spreads the peanut butter blues with gloomy, mellow sophomore effort “Some Say I So I Say Light” at the latest iteration of Certain People at Berghain on Thu, Dec 5.

Ghostpoet will be spreading the peanut butter blues at the latest iteration of Certain People at Berghain on Thursday, December 5.

Both a bard of the spectral spectrum and a lad talking about mundanity – London based rapper Obaro Ejimiwe aka Ghostpoet rides a gloomy, mellow wave on his sophomore album Some Say I So I Say Light (PIAS).

Your nom de plume is quite compelling – how did Ghostpoet come into existence?

I just made it up long before it even occurred to me to use it as an artistic pseudonym. It’s not related to any specific genre. I liked it because it was a spot-on cue for the music I was working on. No hidden meaning behind it.

The netherworld or life – which do you prefer?

Life. Everything about it. I just try to reflect on what I find, smell, taste and feel. It’s just my perception of things, it’s not perfect. It’s very natural – I just observe, talk about my and other people’s lives over music. The thing I like the most is the universality of music. I’m not talking about fancy things like driving a big fat car. I’m an ordinary guy, living a normal life. I was a nine-to-fiver, with a mortgage and a girl. At some point I thought that this is my destiny I will have to stick to and forget about my fantasies of making music. Then my employer fired me and shortly after that the Gilles Petersen’s Brownswood Recordings “took a risk on a random maverick” and wanted to sign a contract with me. Things just fell into place, I just took it from there.

Now that you have a studio at your disposal, you can be a ghost in the machine.

You can do anything. You can do whatever you want. That’s the point: I am making music for me. I wanted to do the second album in the studio – I made it sound similar to the first record [2011’s Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam (Brownswood)], but in a different way. I didn’t want to make the second album glossy only because it was made in the studio. I just wanted it to be more evolved musically and sonically than the first one. If I am going to record my next album, who knows if I’ll record it in the studio?

Truly a solo artist.

I’m the only full-time member of my artistry. On the second album, however, I got some people involved who I really admire. It was a great collaboration – no big hitters, just good people who are renowned for their great work. Every single person was hand-picked for a specific type of contribution I had in mind. [Producer] Richard Formby helped me polish up the demo by suggesting working together with the drum legends [Fela Kuti & Africa 70’s] Tony Allen and [This Heat’s] Charles Hayward.

Do you play any instruments?

Not really, no. I used to play a little bit of guitar, piano, cello, trombone and clarinet but I’m not an expert in any of those instruments. I used to come in and play guitar and drum bits, a bit improvised. Whenever it hits me, really. I put stuff down wherever I am.

But how well can you translate what’s inside of you into your music?

I don’t know if I do. Nothing’s perfect.

Certain People 16: Ghostpoet, Fenech-Soler, VV Brown, Hossbach ohne Balze Thu, Dec 5, 21:00 | Berghain, Rüdersdorfer Str. 70, Friedrichshain, S-Bhf Ostbahnhof

Originally published in issue #122, December 2013.