“I find it easiest to write about the things that I’m genuinely feeling in the moment.”
We caught up with rising star Austin Thomas, aka spookyghostboy, ahead of his debut headline London show to talk about his early influences, the cathartic power of songwriting and the local Nashville music scene.
Having started recording music when he was in high school, Nashville’s Austin Thomas has recently been making a name for himself within the alternative scene under the name of spookyghostboy. With lyrics that candidly tackle his experiences with life, love and friendships, his lo-fi style evokes an almost intrusively personal feeling, self-described as ‘journal-like’.
With the recent release of his single, ‘Two Door Car’, turning heads in his direction, spookyghostboy is currently finishing up a UK tour with fellow bedroom-pop heavyweight Cavetown, topped off with a headline show at London’s Camden Assembly. We sat down to talk to the upcoming singer about the origin of his name, the story behind his new single and more.
When did you first start making music?
spookyghostboy: I started making music when I was in high school. I had always played instruments, but never tried writing my own songs until then.
Who were some of your earliest influences?
spookyghostboy: One of the first bands that I really got into was The All-American Rejects. That shaped the kind of stuff that I listened to for a while. Later, when I started recording music though I was heavily into a Bright Eyes phase.
How did you decide on the name ‘spookyghostboy’?
spookyghostboy: I made some background music for a Halloween themed short film a long time ago, and when it came out I wanted to put it up for people to find. I just went with the most Halloween-evoking name I could pick, and then when I ended up making more music I just used the same Bandcamp page and kept the name.
You’re from Nashville, a city with an incredibly rich music history. Are there any local artists that you’re loving right now who we should be checking out?
spookyghostboy: Yes! My favorite local band right now is The Pressure Kids. I’ve loved their music for a long time and definitely think they are worth a listen.
You recently released your latest single ‘Two Door Car’, what can you tell us about the story behind that track?
spookyghostboy: So basically, I used to live in a tiny dorm room with two other guys. It would get pretty cramped sometimes, so on occasion I would go out and sleep in my car. It wasn’t a terribly pleasant thing, but for some reason when I thought about the memory of doing that years later it becomes a bit clouded by nostalgia and feels a lot nicer than it actually was. I wrote that song to try and express how that happens with a lot of my memories.
The songs you write are very personal, often coming across like entries into a diary. Do you ever find it uncomfortable telling these stories to audiences or is it cathartic?
spookyghostboy: I find it to be cathartic. It’s always a little awkward when people who know you in real life can pinpoint exactly what your songs are about, so I’ve tried in the past to become a bit more ambiguous with my lyrics. Now though, I don’t really think too much about it. I find it easiest to write about the things that I’m genuinely feeling in the moment.
Following your UK tour with Cavetown this month, you’re going to be playing a headline show at London’s Camden Assembly, what can people expect from that show?
spookyghostboy: I usually like to play with a full band, but since I’m coming off tour it’ll be just me playing solo with my guitar and some handmade synth/drum machine to accompany me.
What was the first album you bought with your own money?
spookyghostboy: The first album I ever remember buying was ‘Fevers and Mirrors’ by Bright Eyes.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since you started playing shows?
spookyghostboy: The most important thing I’ve learned from touring is to always have a pack of DayQuil on my person.
Could you sum up spookyghostboy’s music in three words?
spookyghostboy: Wavy strat daddy.
Make sure to grab your tickets for spookyghostboy’s headline show at The Camden Assembly on December 13th (it’s free!) and check out his latest album, ‘Twenty Something’, below. Get your tickets for the show here.