Peanut Butter Blues… shows off a wealth of influences, from grime-based, dance-floor beats to avant-leaning electronic noises, as well as more straight-forward folk and rock touches. It’s a difficult album to pin down as it seems to have a toe dipped in most of the prevailing styles of English music at the minute. The fact it can manage this and still seem as coherent as it does is a testament to the vision of the man behind it all. Where did all these disparate influences spring from? “It was kind of university I guess. I loved listening to music from an early, early age. I listened to a lot of stuff but once I got into grime and I got to university and I found people who were into that as well, not only into it but trying to produce it, that’s when I realised I could do this. You don’t need a big studio, you don’t need a room full of instruments to make music, you can just have a computer and a keyboard and you can just make tunes. That was kind of my introduction to electronic music and from that I explored other sides of electronica, like Squarepusher stuff, Aphex Twin and then onto Prefuse 73, Bibio and Boards of Canada. Just different aspects of electronic music so my love of the genre was born there.”
Of course, Ejimiwe was not alone in trying to weld the myriad sounds of London into one solid listening experience and he points out several people who were of a similar mindset, many of whom have gone on to do wonderful things over the past few years. “I guess I was into grime for a bit and I was doing my own thing. Then I got onto Myspace, when it was still kind of new and fresh, and through that I was able to meet people like DELS and Micachu and SBTRKT and people like that. It was along those lines. Everyone was kind of starting off in their careers. That was my kind of network. It was kind a community, if you want to call it that. It was more just like-minded people trying to make something different in music, all living in or around the one place. It was a mixture of areas and ideas really.”
Making a record like Peanut Butter Blues… is one thing but to be able to bring that particular atmosphere and feeling to a live show is a different task altogether. For all the difficulty involved, the Ghostpoet live experience has received rave reviews from all over. However, where most bands have years on the live circuit to hone their craft, the Ghostpoet band are having to learn on their feet. “I started about a year and a half ago or so. I started with the drummer and guitarist I still work with today. I knew that I wanted to create a live experience which wouldn’t be expected. I wanted to play with live instrumentation because, as a fan of live music, I like to hear live instruments when I go to a gig. I had the drummer and the guitarist and it was simple electronica really, just playing the tracks off Reason an I had a little delay pedal for my vocals. I guess it felt a little experimental but it was more kind of the fact that we were gaining more knowledge and we gradually learned a to have a setup that was comfortable. Now it’s a mixture of electronics and experimentation which we all do, it’s a mixture of experimentation and liveliness I guess.”
Despite the Mercury hype and the increased attention, it’s a case of same old, old for Ghostpoet as his plans for the immediate future unfold. “It’s more and more gigs really. I’ve got a UK tour in September and October and then I’m off to Australia to do some gigs over there and then a European tour after that. Just making music, making stuff on the road, maybe towards a new EP or a new album in the future. Making remixes, producing other people, just being as creative as possible really. That’s basically it.”
Ghostpoet plays Whelan’s on September 26th. Win some tickets over here.