Alt rockers Ghost Light ready to jam at FTC
Philadelphia musicians Tom Hamilton and Raina Mullen were enjoying life in a band a few years ago, when the other members decided to call it quits and they found themselves yearning for something bigger.
They soon enlisted keyboardist Holly Bowling, drummer Scotty Zwang and bassist Steve Lyons, and formed Ghost Light, a jam band with the goal of being more than just a local Philly act.
Last year, the band released its debut album, “Best Kept Secrets,” a critically acclaimed recording that Hamilton likes to think of as “a bunch of abstract paintings,” with each song part of a series meant to be experienced in order.
Since its release, Ghost Light has been part of a grassroots campaign to get the music out, including touring, releasing music on social media and doing whatever it takes to get the word out about the band. The band has built up a big reputation in the music world for its onstage musical trust falls, psychedelics and Soundgarden-inspired mixes in the studio.
On Jan. 19, Ghost Light will play the Fairfield Theater Company’s Warehouse, in support of that first album.
Keith Loria: You’re coming to Connecticut for the first time. What can those coming out to the show expect on the night?
Tom Hamilton: We’re going to be playing two sets of exploratory rock ’n’ roll. We’re touring behind our debut record and will be playing most of the stuff off that album, but we’ll also be working out some new material and a choice cover or two.
KL: You started the second leg of this tour in January. How have you enjoyed being on the road?
TH: It’s been great. We’ve been packing rooms and fans have been rabid and very supportive. It’s been everything we could have asked for. We travel by van. We’re all on the same team and have the same goals, so we just get in the van every night and do it.
KL: What did you hope would happen once the album was released?
TH: Exactly what’s happening. It’s a grassroots campaign of getting buzz and selling tickets and seeing people coming out to the shows. The crowds have been attentive and excited about what we’re doing. All the goals that we set, we’ve been hitting, and we plan on working hard and keeping it up.
KL: In today’s packed musical landscape, how do you come up with a strategy to ensure your fan base is growing?
TH: Our whole mantra is to just put out good material and we think if what we’re doing is good, genuine and sincere, people are going to respond. It’s super rewarding when it happens and we see people at the shows.
KL: I know you and Raina have been playing together for a while. What led to the formation of Ghost Light?
TH: Yes, we had been in a band together called American Babies, and it was coming to an end, and we wanted to keep working together. We looked at who was out there and was looking for a band. We had become friends with Holly. Scott had recently moved to Philadelphia, and we all just got into a room and the rest is history.
KL: What is the dynamic of the songwriting? Is it a collaborative effort?
TH: Raina and I get together and do a lot of pre-work and the writing of lyrics and then we bring it in to everyone and we work it up as a band. Our job as artists is to keep creating and keep putting out new songs to provide whatever it is that people feel when they see us perform live.
KL: What sort of goals have you set for 2020?
TH: After this leg of the tour, we definitely want to do another album. I booked some time in a recording studio in Philadelphia and we’re all looking forward to getting in there and making some art.