LONG DISTANCE CALLING’s Jan Hoffmann talks about ‘Ghost’

After having released the stellar ‘How Do We Want to Live?’ longplayer in 2020 and after having played some small live shows during summer, Münster-based post-rock specialists Long Distance Calling unleash with ‘Ghost’ an EP that shows for a next time the entire musical potential of the quartet. Having found their own unique sound, the guys still have a sense for twists and tweaks so that each of their songs can shine brightly. The fact that the ‘Ghost’ was done in an intensive three days session was reason enough for Markus’ Heavy Music Blog to chat with bassplayer Jan Hoffmann for getting some more insights.

Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Jan, thanks for making some time for MHMB. Let’s start with the question about the title. What is the meaning of ‘Ghost’ and how did you come up with the title?

Jan Hoffmann: Moin (‘hello’ in Northern Germany)! You could describe the meaning of ‘Ghost’ in a way that we spontaneously wanted to create something out of nothing, something that wasn’t there before. We rented a house to write and record the songs, and we kind of haunted that house like a ghost. Also, the title fits very well with the current times because the pandemic is also like an invisible ghost among us.

MHMB: The dog has a central position on the cover artwork and following your Instagram accounts, photos of dogs are also frequently shown there. Is the dog the ‘good spirit/ghost’ for humans in the pandemic or is that too far-fetched?

Jan Hoffmann: No, you can definitely see it that way! However, the photo was taken by chance which is exactly the absurdity of this picture. Why is a dog standing on a roof? In any way, I like your interpretation as “good spirit/ghost” very much though.

MHMB: The EP comes relatively soon after your last studio album ‘How Do We Want To Live?’ and it seems like it was a rather spontaneous idea you guys had. Can you talk a little bit about how the idea for ‘Ghost’ came about?

Jan Hoffmann: Well, we already released a jam EP called ‘Nighthawk’ in 2014 and we felt like we should repeat that. And since we currently can’t play any concerts, we used the time well and wisely. We are very creative and we had the urge to write new songs even though the last album is just a few months out in the stores. Right now, making music is the best thing you can do as a band. We also wanted to involve the fans in the process, so we started a crowdfunding campaign for ‘Ghost’, which was very successful.

MHMB: As you mentioned, the approach is reminiscent of the ‘Nighthawk’-EP from 2014. ‘Ghost’ also has this jam character and builds on spontaneity, which is a certain contrast to the elaborate last studio album. How easy or tough is it for you guys to just embrace the musical moment without planning things in detail?

Jan Hoffmann: On the one hand, making a jam EP is much easier than making an album because you don’t have to think too much. Of course you notice that in the songs since you don’t have time to try out different arrangements, but that’s the charm. Whatever comes out of each of us is spontaneous and unfiltered, and that’s exciting and the same goes for the process itself. You have nothing and 3 hours later you have a finished song. That’s totally fun but the time pressure is a challenge. On the other hand you have the risk that you don’t come up with anything, but we’ve been making music together for so long now that we can have full confidence in each other.

MHMB: As on the album, the EP also contains electro sounds, with ‘Seance’ and ‘Old Love’ as examples. These songs have a high atmospheric density. Nevertheless, there are enough hard ‘guitar outbursts’ present, which come to the fore in songs like ‘Negative is the New Positive’. Did you pay attention to a certain balance between loud and quiet or did everything take a natural course?

Jan Hoffmann: Good question. I think what runs subconsciously with us meanwhile is, that we always pay attention to dynamics and variety, because that defines us as a band to some extent. If you already have two quiet and mainly electronic songs, you quickly tell yourself “Let’s do something harder”, simply as a contrast, because only contrasts make an album or EP really interesting and relevant in my opinion. We also wanted to distinguish ourselves a little from ‘HDWWTL’.

MHMB: ‘Negative is the New Positive’ is the darkest song on the EP. I guess the title is not completely independent from the COVID pandemic, is it?

Jan Hoffmann: You can get the impression that many people see the glass as half-empty rather than half-full. Absolutely, the title refers of course to the pandemic and the topic has offered itself. When we wrote the song, one of us mentioned that it had such a dark, negative vibe and that fit like a glove, so finding the name was not a long way to go.

MHMB: Jan, thanks for dedicating some time for Markus’ Heavy Music Blog and hopefully see you guys back on stage again soon.

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