Throwback Thursday: An Interview with Ghastly
by Nick Gerace
This interview was originally published October 10, 2019
Ghastly is undoubtedly one of the most underrated artists in EDM. Known for his diverse production and shows, David Lee Crow is one of the fastest rising house and bass music talents to be a part of some of the most acclaimed electronic music festival lineups in the world. This year, at Imagine Music Festival at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, I had the opportunity to interview David after his explosive set at mainstage. Read about his upcoming album, EDM’s relationship with gaming, and history of exotic pets in the interview below:
Nick: How do you think your set went?
Ghastly: It was massive, beautiful. There were a few moments where I didn’t see a single body standing still, which is exactly what I’d want playing at a stage like that. When you play a smaller room, like an afterparty or something, you have full control over everyone because everyone is there for that. With a larger stage and everyone is separated by a divider, it’s a little harder to pull off just because of the grand scale of things. But if you nail it and get a large number of said crowd dancing, you’ve done your part. Atlanta also came and did their part, so it definitely felt like a bonding experience for me and the city of Atlanta, GA.
N: Word, it was a stellar set to say the least, and ATL is lucky to have had you here tonight. For the people that don’t know who you are, give us a bit of an introduction to who you are and what you’re all about.
G: My name is David, I go by Ghastly, and I make all kinds of music. If its electronic I write it, I don’t constrict myself to any boundaries cause I just want to write whatever I like. I had a beautiful experience tonight in Atlanta and am so thankful to be surrounded by my best friends and incredible new friends. This is what it’s all about, this is why music exists and most people forget that. People are always saying “wEll MuSic iS coOl cAuSE iT’s LikE nOIsEs aNd stUFf,” no, there’s way more to it. Ultimately, at the end of the day, the point of music is to bring people together. It’s everyone together, vibing to the same consistent idea and emotional mentality, to get something out of your system that you’ve been holding back for a while. And that’s why everyone is here right now, to get things out of their system that they deal with on the 9 to 5. That’s the beauty of it all.
N: Absolutely! As you mentioned, you don’t like to confine yourself to anything specific, which is definitely apparent when it comes to your production and shows. You’re known for both producing and playing out a good mix of house and bass music, is there a favorite that you make or showcase live?
G: Hard to say, I mean I just write what I feel. Personally, I think writing one genre because it’s what is required doesn’t seem authentic to me. That’s the one thing I look to do with whatever I do in this industry; I want to be authentic to my fanbase. I never want to write anything just because someone asks for it, I’m literally writing letters to my audience expressing how I’m feeling through my music. If I’m pissed off, I’m going to write a nasty bass banger. If I’m feeling groovy, just chilling, I’ll write a little house tune. If I’m sad, bro I’m going to write some real emo music. I’m using these songs to talk to the people that are willing to lend me time to their ears. I just like to share how I’m feeling however I can.
N: And you even do that live, you’re always on the mic talking to everyone that came out to your sets.
G: I’m pretty sure I said some dumb s*** tonight like, “THIS SONG GOES OUT TO EVERYONE THAT LIKES CHICKEN”, and was immediately like “what did I just say?”
N: Yea I heard that! I was going to ask if there was anything behind that…
G: Nope, just in the moment, just stupid.
N: We loved that. So, you have a new album coming out soon called Haunted House. There are two singles out right now, “Fangs” and “I Have Your Back,” is there anything in particular that you’re excited for people to hear or that you’re excited for in general from the album?
G: I think a lot of people think that this is a follow up to The Mystifying Oracle, but it’s actually an album that I’m looking to do continuous volumes of. This will be the first installment of Haunted House which is, more than anything, me collaborating with other house artists I respect and a few of my own original house tracks that I couldn’t really put on a heavier album. Like Mystifying Oracle had a lot of variation in BPM and styles and genres and what not. I’d say that Haunted House is more of a project concept, there’s a whole stage and set of vibes that go with it. I’m going to continue to play all the big bass tunes like “LSD,” “We Might Fall,” “This Song Scares People” because I don’t want to disassociate myself with the songs that I’ve written that I genuinely love. If there’s anything to say about the new album, it’s that its sort of a tip of the hat to the artists that I’ve worked with on it. There are four or five collaborations, Brohug, ALRT, lots of great artists. They’re the ones I’m ultimately trying to promote here because they’re so freaking good at what they do. I feel like there are so many artists out there that won’t share any kind of success that they have, they won’t share the spotlight with anyone else that they work with. They’re hoarders of fame, and not all are like that, but they exist. On the other side of this, Skrillex is an inspiration for spotlighting artists he’s worked with. He was the guy who came to me saying “I like your stuff, I want to give you a chance,” and that meant the world to me. I wouldn’t even be here right now if it weren’t for Sonny (Skrillex) giving me the chance he did. I love that I have the opportunity to share that same chance with other people. I remember Nitti Gritti, who’s been blowing up a lot recently, was one of the co-headliners for the majority of my last tour. Every show I got to watch him grow and grow and grow, and at no point did I claim that this was because of me, but rather watch him do it himself and be able to tell him that it’s because of him!
N: People that go to shows have to like your music enough to actually get them to that point too.
G: Absolutely, it really all comes down to that. I forgot what the original question was but there ya go!
N: I mean you answered it anyways so you’re good!
G: Alright, sweet!
N: My next question is about something that I feel is a little more under wraps for you. You have a YouTube channel where you play videogames, and you have a few friends in the YouTube community such as Mini Ladd (Craig Thompson). And Mini himself has done a collaborative album with Disciple Records, Dodge from Dodge & Fuski’s label. Do you think that the collaboration of those platforms is going to be one of the next big things for bass music and, alternatively, something that more content creators will look to pursue in the future?
G: There is validity in what you’re saying, I think there is a lot of growth as far as that is concerned. Jericho (William Boner) and I talked about this tonight, anyone who is a gamer wants to be a DJ and anyone who is a DJ wants to be a gamer. We all want to intersect, and that’s why the marriage of music and gaming is so obvious, easy and seamless. You can’t really say that one is the future more than the other, because one without the other can’t be the future.
N: So more so the collaboration of the two.
G: Oh yeah there is a massive future in that, and it has already made itself prevalent. Like there’s a Marshmello skin in Fortnite, it’s insane. In the best way though, it’s happening right in front of us. The one thing we need to realize is that the worst part of any industry is gatekeepers. The people that say that you can’t be part of both are the problem. This is something that we all vibe with, so why can’t we do both? When I’m not making music or playing shows, I’m playing video games. I’m not doing it to pander, I’ve literally become an elite smash player just because I love Smash (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate). I’ll do one hour of studio, 20 minutes of Smash, and repeat, it’s pretty much my whole day. I have myself on a strict regimen for these things, it honestly keeps me sane.
N: You just need that mental break, everybody does.
G: Yeah! Because gaming comes with ease, its mindless. When it comes to time producing in the studio you need to focus, you can’t think about performing an epic air dodge into a smash attack while you’re putting an auto filter on the proper vocoder. It’s two different worlds, but the marriage of the two makes perfect sense.
N: Of course! Alright, I have one more question. You’ve had a history of exotic pets, from snakes to insects, are there any cool pets that you currently have?
G: One of my favorite photos I have from back in the day is me and my girlfriend’s (at the time) emerald tee boa, even after we separated, I’ve always loved emerald tree boas. I purchased one two months ago, but I also bought a home in Arizona and the temperature has been consistently above 100 degrees. Given that, they haven’t been able to send it to me, they can’t send anyone a snake in a box that’s supposed to live in 88-degree climates. So that’s on the way, but I really really really want to buy a venomous pit viper. They are so beautiful; they look like they came straight out of fantasy. According to what I’ve read on the internet, from people that have survived a bite from one, it feels like your blood is on fire and your head feels like it’s spinning as you slowly die. I want one of these pets just to have it and I can be like “you’re so cool, I love you,” you know? I know it’s a terrible idea, but I want one so bad. If you’re a person
that’s scared of these types of pets, all you need to do is get a little baby ball python. They are the puppies of the snake world, they are so cute, they are so sweet.
N: I’m going to go out and buy me one of those right now. Any last thoughts or plugs before we wrap this up?
G: Rebecca Black is the best artist that has ever lived. And I think it’s crazy that historians, 200 years from now, will look back on this day in age and think that Shrek was a god considering how relevant he is in pop culture. They’ll say, “for some reason they really really love this guy, and we can’t find anything about him that isn’t animated but apparently, Shrek is love and Shrek is life.”