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.