We had an opportunity to interview Joseph Lekkas of Palm Ghosts, who's new album 'The Lost Frequency' just dropped! Check out our interview and click here to check out the album!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
"I’ve been playing music since I was 13 years old. My grandfather played mandolin and my mother played classical guitar, so I was surrounded by music at an early age. I think music decided to pursue me, really, I don’t think anyone makes a conscious decision to pursue music, it’s kind of an obsession that takes over. I remember running around the living room with a busted mandolin with no strings pretending to be performing for a festival crowd. I’ve taken long breaks from making music over my lifetime, but its never really been out of mind. If I don’t play or write for an extended period, my brain starts going to dark places, which is never good. It’s better to keep working."
2. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
"Those change over time. For a few years I played a Rickenbacker bass, which I still love the sound of, but for some reason my go to bass as of late has been a Sterling Stingray. Man, that thing plays like butter, and Tony Levin is a Stingray player, so how can you go wrong? Jason in the band is the gear guy. He can probably go on for hours about different pedals and amps. His pedal board looks like the control panel of a spaceship."
"Regarding guitars, Jason has been playing a Reverend Double Agent and I’ve been digging the Fender Ed O’Brien Strat for recording, that thing is a tone machine."
"As for synths, I love the Arturia soft synth stuff. You really can’t go wrong with those, unless your idea of a good time is carting around a 40 year old vintage synth that weighs more than a refrigerator and costs thousands a year to maintain. I mean, I love the Jupiter 8 and it probably DOES sound better, but…Honestly, I can go on for hours and that wouldn’t be good for anyone!"
3. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
"When we play live we we try to put on an arena show in a small venue. There are projections on screens and on the band itself, sometimes laser lights, smoke machines when allowed. We have all sorts of video reels we’ve put together that sync with the songs."
"We rarely use tracks live, and if we do, it’s synth parts or intros. I like the live sound to be a bit more raw and aggressive than the recordings. This may be controversial, but I think far too many artists press play on a laptop and call it a live show. I love the sound a band makes in a room, playing together, warts and all."
"As far as what we enjoy most about a venue, It’s certainly nice when a venue treats you well, gives you a place to unwind. But we’ll set up in the corner bar, basement, or back yard if there’s people there that want to listen. It’s more about the audience than the physical space."
4. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music and new album?
"I think the thing I’d like folks to know about us is that we just make the music we love. We don’t try to stay in one lane, genre wise. If you go back through our discography, you’ll hear different genres and vibes on every record. I know that might not be the best thing for a listener that identifies as a fan of one sound or genre, but if you get to know the band, you’ll hear the sound of the same 4 people making music but with quite a variety of different influences and textures."
5. Your sound is a nice blend of alt and post-punk that evokes memories of Joy Division and The Cure. However, it very much has a modern feel to it. How did you come to employ this signature sound?
"I guess I addressed this a bit in the last question, however, the thing is we are all fans of very different music. I consider myself the 80s post punk / new wave junkie. Jason is way into bands like Frog Eyes, Wolf Parade and Frightened Rabbit, more of a 90s guy overall. Ben is into Elvis Costello, The Lemonheads and Shudder To Think, in addition to lots of punk rock and power pop stuff. Walt likes Jazz, Radiohead and lots of 90’s British bands like Suede and Blur. We connect on tons of bands, but all of those influences combine into what we do."
6. What was the process like for writing, recording, and promoting The Lost Frequency?
"I’ll usually start with drums and bass, get the general structure of the song together, then Jason will add guitars. Ben and I will get in the room and work on melodies, lyrics, additional layered instruments. It’s really different for every song. Jason sometimes comes with a complete idea, sometimes I do. I guess the common thread between all the songs is I’ll get all of the elements together and make them into the final product. Every song starts and ends in my studio."
7. What’s next for Palm Ghosts?
"We’ll keep playing shows on the road. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to play overseas at some point, that would be cool. We are pretty prolific, so the plan is to keep on writing, recording, releasing EPs and full length albums. Maybe start collaborating with other producers. Honestly we plan as much as we can but leave room for opportunities as they present themselves."
Palm Ghosts Tour Dates:
12.02 - Indianapolis IN @ Black Circle Brewing 12.09 - Lafayette LA @ Freetown Boom Boom Room 12.10 - Austin TX @ Swan Dive 12.11- San Antonio TX @ The Mix 12.12 - Dallas TX @ Three Links 12.16 - Nashville TN @ 5 Spot 01.19 - Charlotte NC @ Evening Muse, 01.20 - Knoxville TN @ Preservation Pub