Local Music: Ghost Office

Photo by Lucy Rehill

Ghost Office are a three-piece post-punk band from Belfast. True to type, their music has distilled punk’s ‘three chords and the truth’ into a sparer two chords and “the truth” – presenting unhinged howling from their dual vocalists over minimal dissonant arrangements. Joe from Ghost Office chatted to The Jumble Magazine about the bands latest single ‘At Bombay Beach’, their biggest inspirations, and working through 2020. 

Lately we’ve been inspired by hauntological tales of doomed American ghost towns, or sites of ecological disaster, for whatever reason. Our latest single – ‘At Bombay Beach’ – is about a former holiday resort on the Salton Sea in California. A place where the likes of The Beach Boys and Sonny Bono would have gone to waterski, where Frank Sinatra and Dwight Eisenhower would golf, but which is now a wasteland, decaying in the sun. Others include Centralia in Pennsylvania, where a coal mine fire has been burning beneath the ground since 1962, and Paradise in California, a haven recently ravaged by the wildfires. In every one of these, a saddening displacement occurred, and a once thriving population dwindled to a hardened group of people who still cling on. I think we saw that as a parable for our own fanbase. 

As a band who share songwriting duties on a whoever-writes-sings basis, it would probably be conceited to say one of my own. So I’ll be magnanimous and say that Richard’s ‘Cereal Cafe’ song absolutely bangs. “They’ve opened a cereal cafe, but it’s cheaper to eat breakfast at home.” is the truth.

If you haven’t heard our stuff before, I’d suggest starting with our latest single – ‘At Bombay Beach’ – and working back. But not too far, there be dragons! 

At Bombay Beach was released recently with an accompanying video, shot on super8 film. 

We, along with every other band or musician, would love to be out gigging and it’s a shame that Belfast (like a lot of other parts of the world) has been gig-less for a while now. So much of being in a small band such as ourselves relies on being able to play in front of people. To depend solely on the digitisation of your music  gets you thinking slightly existentially about the future of your band. But the sun will rise every day in the East and Ghost Office will release a half-decent song every 6 months to tepid response. We’re not about to lose that. The old normal.

You can check out more of Ghost Office’s music on Spotify and follow the band on Instagram.

At Bombay Beach’ and ‘Cereal Cafe’ are also part of The Jumble Magazine Local Music Playlist. Which you can listen to here.

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