If you’re looking for an exciting new band to sink your teeth into, then you’ve come to exactly the right place. 60’s induced cuts that impose nostalgia through delicate colour pop tracks are the trademark of Holiday Ghosts. Comprised of Sam Stacpoole (Guitar) and Katja Rackin (Drums), the politically and socially driven duo are out to make a statement through emotive lyrics and scuzzy guitars.
Having recently signed to FatCat records ahead of their third full-length offering ‘Northern Street Air’, we had a chat with Sam and Katja about what to expect and the stories behind it.
Alannah: Who are Holiday Ghosts? How did the band come together?
Sam: We’re a good times rockin guitar band. Katja (Rackin) and Myself (Sam Stacpoole) have been around the longest, around 6 years, but we’ve played with different lineups from a pedigree of pals from Cornwall. Currently we have B.SPANKS on 2nd guitar and Moth LM on lead bass.
Alannah: Where did the name come from?
Sam: There’s a bunch of theories. It’s been a long time I can’t really remember for sure. I came up with the name about 9 years ago but it was Holiday Ghost as a singular. it was a solo project at that time. the S was added later with the extra members. Someone asked me if it was because we lived in Falmouth, a holiday destination, and when the tourists left after their time we remained as the Ghosts of that Holiday. That was a pretty good guess.
Alannah: I loved your latest track ‘Off Grid’ – what’s the story behind it?
Sam: It was put together in the middle of summer in 2019. I was doing a lot of cycling, swimming, and anything that would take me away from the crowds in Brighton as it gets pretty slammin. I was just getting that feeling that turning off communication devices and being outside was the thing to do. The riff in the song was written by Charlie Fairbairn AKA Dinomoves when he was in the band, I ended up playing it on the record on a Casio DG-1 digital guitar set on Organ 2 setting. It sounds like a keyboard but it ain’t.
Listen/watch ‘Off Grid’ here:
Alannah: Tell us about ‘Mr Herandi’?
Sam: Haven’t I already told you? He’s a filthy rich man who lives in Spain and owns loads of houses in Hove. He just represents that all too common landlord who doesn’t give a shit about his tenants as long as they line his pockets on a monthly basis to help feed a luxury lifestyle of excess. I’m assuming he’s already paid off his own house and keeps it damn clean, with no infestations or faulty appliances. But the ones he lets out to his tenants probably haven’t been seen to in 20 or so years and are falling apart.
Alannah: What track are you most excited for fans to hear off the upcoming album?
Sam: I’m probably most excited about the album as a whole because there’s a lot of different flavours in there. I think it’s our most varied-sounding album. Maybe 3rd Dream. It’s a song that’s written by Charlie Murphy who is a long-time band member, he’s not in the live band anymore but we always get him in for the recording sessions. He also contributed Total Crisis and Leaving Today to the album. Kat and I sing 3rd Dream instead of Charlie and it’s one that we used to play years ago and kind of forgot about for a bit. I think we did a great job of this song in the end, adding the keyboard cello and vocal harmonies. Also, I find it easiest to be excited about songs I didn’t write myself for some reason.
“It’s nice to sing a song that neither of us wrote, you can connect to it in a very different way – it’s not associated with personal memories in the way your own songs might be“Kat – Holiday Ghosts
Kat: It’s nice to sing a song that neither of us wrote, you can connect to it in a very different way – it’s not associated with personal memories in the way your own songs might be, but it’s interesting to relate and find meaning in the words from an objective standpoint. It also feels like an important track because of its contrast of themes to the rest of the songs. It sings about feeling free and being at peace with yourself and your surroundings, which balances the album’s reflections of varying realities in life – the ups alongside the downs, excitement alongside frustrations.
Alannah: Where did the title ‘North Street Air’ come from?
Sam: It’s the name of one of the songs on the album. We wrote this album all in Brighton having moved from Falmouth which is a pretty small and rural place. I wrote the lyrics to ‘North Street Air’ walking up and down North Street and Western road with a notepad just observing things and trying to fit them into a Cha Cha Cha rhythm. I was told that North Street has some of the worst air pollutions in Europe! Brighton is a great place to live for many reasons, and this song tries to capture the bustle, the fast-paced movements, an every-day routine walk, as well as commenting on some bigger issues.
Alannah: Where do you take inspiration from when writing new tracks?
Kat: I tend to get a lot of inspiration from books, poems, and art, but also that sort of weaves into my everyday experiences and I guess merges when I come to write songs. I usually write words before I have the chords or the song, and then fit the structure and everything else around the melody/rhythm of the lyrics.
Sam: Personally I write from real-life experiences at my best. A new job, workplace environments, living situations, and interactions. Sometimes I will hear a song and just get really excited to play guitar, then stuff comes out. If guitar melody gets in my head it’s easier to write lyrics as the day goes on whilst doing other stuff.
Alannah: Do you feel any kind of pressure to keep releasing new music?
Sam: No. we’ve always had a few writers in the band. It’s pretty hard to keep up with recording to be honest. I think it’s really important to move at your own pace. Just make the music how you know is the best way to do it. That’s how individual sounds and ideas come together I think.
Kat: Yeah I definitely think it’s the opposite -we’ve got more songs than we’ve got time to record, which is a nice problem to have. I don’t think there should ever be a pressure to release stuff – if you’re not ready, you’re not ready. I also think that kind of thing comes through in the music, so it’s definitely best to just enjoy doing it. maybe succumbing to that kind of pressure is what leads bands to ape one another.
Alannah: Who are your favourite up-and-coming bands?
Sam: B Spanks, Ubiquitous Meh!, Freak Genes, Speedboat, Snake Gang, Silicon Prairie, anything Charlie Murphy related Hxrlxy, Derek D.A.C
Alannah: Do you have any messages for your fans?
Sam & Kat: Keep it real, don’t be fooled.