Image : Lucy Rehill [Used with permission]
Joe from Belfast-based post-punk band Ghost Office on the soundtrack to his life
The last song you listened to?
Currently listening to my good friend Mark Loughrey’s latest single ‘Nothing on a Truth’. He’s a songwriter who resides in Berlin. He weaves intricate folk tales through his music. Very poetic,very moving.
What is your earliest musical memory?
A Christmas when I was very young. Blasting the Bob the Builder soundtrack in my Grandparents’ living room (Can We Fix It – an absolute rock stomper) and my Grandfather battling for stereo supremacy with me. He wanted to play Chopin. That, or being cast as the colour red in my school’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor dreamcoat. My only role was to shout the colour as the lyrics in the song went by, and of course I missed my cue. They would’ve seen my embarrassment but my face was already painted red.
Do you have a favourite song that was featured in a film or tv show?
The only soundtrack I have ever bought is from The Great Beauty. It’s a beautiful film by Paolo Sorrentino. There is a song on it called The Beatitudes performed by Kronos Quartet which accompanies a long shot floating down the Tiber in Rome which ends the film, and which was the sole inspiration to travel there myself.
Is there a song that instantly reminds you of a particular person?
My Grandad used to belt out Sweet Caroline on the karaoke machine down at the local socialclub. Man, he put his whole weight behind the DU! DU! DU!s in the chorus.
Is there a song whose lyrics resonate with you and why so?
My favourite lyricist and prime writing inspiration is Joe Casey from Detroit post-punk band Protomartyr. He’s an amazing commentator on the state of the world and, specifically, his home in America. To lament fracking in his home state he wrote, in the song ‘A Private Understanding’: “Call me Heraclitus the Obscure, constantly weeping ‘cause the river doesn’t move, it doesn’t flow/ It’s been leaded by snider men to make profit from the poor.” I think that’s fantastic. He also seemed to predict the COVID pandemic in a song – Processed By The Boys – he wrote last year: “When the ending comes, will it run at us like a wild animal? A foreign disease, washed up on the shore?”
The band/musician that you grew up listening to?
The Stooges were the first “proper” band I really got into. Before that it was NME-led, ill-advised forays into lad-rock. I remember watching a documentary about Iggy Pop with footage from him performing in the early 70s. Such charisma. I went out and bought Raw Power the very next day.
What song do you wish that you had written and why?
Marquee Moon by Television, perhaps the only song to have made me laugh because of how good it is. Rumour is that the drummer didn’t even know they were recording, which I find somewhat hard to believe.
What song transports you back in time and why?
Big Boi – Order of Operations. Many a long car drive in the back of my Dad’s car, with him misguidedly trying to rap along.
Which song makes you sad when you hear it?
Saturday Sun by Nick Drake, possibly the most beautiful song to exist. “Saturday sun has turned to Sunday’s rain.”
Which song makes you happy when you hear it?
Anything by Buena Vista Social Club. I could practice for 100 years and still not be half as good a musician as they are. If I had to pick just one – El Carretero, joyous!
What was the first gig you went to?
I vividly remember going to the Isle of Wight Festival with my parents when I was very young and hating every minute of it, especially when Goldie Lookin’ Chain took to the stage to perform Your Mother’s Got a Penis. Oh, the noughties!
What was the first song that you ever performed?
Little Donkey on the glockenspiel at a Christmas church service when I was about 10 years old. Far be it for me to say but I think I rocked the house (of God).
What was the first album/single that you bought?
I remember buying a Rolling Stones live album once when I was young because I thought it was“expected” of me. The first album I bought when I knew what I was doing was the aforementioned Raw Power by The Stooges. It cost me three weeks wages from my paper round.
Is there a song that you always listen to whilst travelling in the car or on the bus/train ?
A long journey requires long songs. Halleluwah by CAN always does the trick. As does E2-E4 by Manuel Gottsching, an album he wrote and recorded because he didn’t have anything to listen to on his Walkman for a flight he was taking the next day.
Is there a particular song/band/singer that made you want to be a musician?
It’s probably The Strokes isn’t it. Come on, they were great!
Ghost Office’ s new track “At Bombay Beach” is out now, listen here
Check out the video for “At Bombay Beach” below
Joe – Ghost Office – Spotify Playlist