Interview w/ Anton DeLost of First Ghost

By: Song River

*First Ghost is a Canadian indie/alternative rock band from London, Ontario. Formed in 2013, the band is Anton DeLost (vocals, guitar) Mike Tompa (vocals, guitar, keyboard), Danny Foster-Roman (drums, percussion) and Keir Hornyak (bass).

Originally First Ghost was a duo. Friends since the age of 14 and having met in their very first guitar class Anton DeLost and Ryan Sweet after many years of side-projects and covers, Ryan joined Anton’s band, UTKF (Under The Killing Floor) the following summer as a vocalist. From UTKF came the band now known as, First Ghost. Recently, due to personal reasons, Ryan had to step back from the band, but never daunted to strive for his musical passion, Anton DeLost has made First Ghost his leading music package.

A sound derived from the heart of rock, with a twist of skater punk, First Ghost shows itself to be a tight sounding band, with strong song-writing skills and a place in the realm of very hip rock. 2016 is showing what and who First Ghost is and their culmination of skills and attention to details is rapidly creating a massive following.

Personally, I am placing heavy bets that First Ghost will become a rock n roll name.

Song River: Your EP, Real Eyes is really a basic this how you do write, record and kill it kind of EP isn't it?

Anton DeLost: Haha, wow, why thank you! Honestly, it was like years of wanting to branch out musically and having all these ideas that we didn't think would fit in our current band (UTKF). And once we finally got to, it was so relieving and we felt incredible about it.

SR: I read somewhere that you are probably the “most underrated thing in Canada.” How does it feel to be a thing? If you were to sell your sound, brand, market- what is your thing?

AD: That is an incredibly bold statement. And I am very honoured. However, I can't believe someone would objectify us like that. I kid. I'd say our thing is like a box of chocolates... We have a very unpredictable writing/producing style. We really never know what we're gonna get. Very dynamic. Lots of soft slow stuff and lots of upbeat loud stuff - sometimes within the same song. Lots of harmonies, layers, groove, pretty guitar leads that makes your heart feel things, but also fuzzed out guitar solos that makes your face melt a bit (only a bit).

SR: Between social media and Bandcamp we find four dudes, but only three guys names listed, two names talked about, but a photo of four people. Are you trying to tell us that there are real ghosts and that is the whole premise behind the name “First Ghost?” Is it really a conspiracy and you're tripping our little minds? ;) Seriously, who is in this band? Tell us a little about each band member, name, rank, serial number, what instruments they play and contribute to First Ghost.

AD: You nailed us. I am First & The Ghosts.

Actually, this is a result of a couple member changes and poor social media keep up. Ryan, original member and singer/guitarist/keys on our album, Real Eyes, has decided to leave the band for personal reasons. We're still great friends and will continue to write together (he is actually on the new record). Taking his place is the very talented Mike Tompa, he actually played all the strings (cello, violin, stand-up bass) on the new record. On bass, we have Keir Hornyak. Then, Disco (Danger) Father-Romance, AKA Disco Dan, the man with the plan, AKA Danny Foster-Roman is our drummer and I (Anton) play guitar and sing.

 SR: The band's name, First Ghost, came from an “old joke and was retrofitted? What was the old joke and how do you feel it fits?

AD: Haha, it's was a joke that stemmed from a hardcore band that Justin (Ryan's brother) and another friend, Matt, made called First Post (the post that hurts the most). That actually stemmed from something else, and I don't even know what it is. 

SR: Anton who was your first-year guitar class teacher?

AD: Mr.Parr!

SR: Would that teacher believe where you have gone and what you have accomplished?

AD: Probably not. He was the first teacher to ever catch me cutting class. Plus, we would never shut up because we were probably trying to play a duet of “Emily” - From First To Last, “Until The Day I Die”- Story Of The Year, “On My Own” - The Used or “Cute Without The E” - Taking Back Sunday. But I think he still liked us because we were siq.

SR: Skateboarding it seems was a huge part of your music beginnings. Skaters have their own style of music, it seems to fit their 'clan' if you will. How much now do you still write to that style or have you found over time your sound stretching itself beyond the board?

AD: Man, Bloc Party was THE skate band, for me at least. I'd always put BP songs on videos I did. Silent Alarm by Bloc Party is still one of my favourite records and still a huge influence on my writing and producing.

SR: Alright I just noticed on your YouTube account this: Director of photography - Andrew Harris. Directed and edited by Anton DeLost. So aside from the writing, playing, recording, producing, yada yada... you have added taking the creating of your own videos as well. Wow, the middle man has received their due 'snipping.' How much of the business end of this do you both share?

AD: I grew up in a very creative household. My parents had a video production business with my dad being the cameraman/director of photography and my mom being the producer/writer/director/editor. I guess I just was surrounded by the video for so long (I also do location sound for film), that I kind of have that directing/editing instinct, however, haven't really done much other than our own stuff, as it's just not my thang. Andrew (Harris) is an insanely good friend of ours and I like to think I sort of helped him gravitate to video (as he is mainly a photographer). We definitely collab really well when we put our minds together, but he's one of the most creative people I know. So shout out to him for being the best.

SR: Was the song“Shaking” your first video off the EP? Is there a back-story to the song?

AD: "Westdel Bourne" was actually the first. There is a back story to Shaking and there is a back story to Westdel. Let's see if you can figure them out :)

SR: In your whole package of your YouTube video, “Shaking” it appears you used an acoustic guitar as a sort of a 'green screen' for special effects. How difficult was that to do?

AD: Very. I had never done green screen before. When you perfectly light a green screen with a non-moving subject it can be much simpler, however when there's a moving arm with a shadow (different shade of green) constantly going over top of the green area, it's not easy to light or edit, at least for someone who barely knows what they're doing. I don't even have any green screen software, so I just tried and tried to make it work on my video editing program until I had a decent amount of usable shots to make work. 

SR: In the video as well around:53 is that a Nintendo case there on the coffee table? And what is the drink in the can? Catholic candles lit? Brand of movie recorder? Yes, these things are important.

AD: Have you seen Netflix's, “Making A Murderer?” If you can figure out what all these things mean, you'll have solved the Steven Avery case.

SR: With an 'anything goes' writing style, how do you meld the ideas together then to come up with a sound that embraces both sides?

AD: It's different all the time. Lots of trial and error. Lots of hilarious sounding voice memos of us singing very poorly outside in falsetto. Lot's of just messing around in the studio and trying stupid stuff. Sometimes it writes itself, most of the time it doesn't. 

 SR: Real Eyes recorded, produced, by you both- then Anton you mixed and it was finally mastered by John Naclerio over at Nada Recording Studio. How do you know John and why we he chosen to finish the mastering?

AD: I actually met John because one of my projects in recording engineering school was to email an industry professional that you admire. He did one of my favourite records (“Sometimes Things Just Disappear” by Polar Bear Club). I got him to master UTKF's last record and he did a great job so I got him to do the Real Eyes EP. He's done almost every record I've produced/mixed since. He's a saint.

SR: Any teasers to throw out on possible tour show dates yet? And fans are going to demand merch. What is on the way?

AD: Not yet. We have some stuff in the works for April though, to promote the new record. Our next EP, Secret Talk comes out April 1st. We'll also have new merch and another video very soon. 

First Ghost Website: First Ghost

First Ghost Social Media: First Ghost

First Ghost YouTube: First Ghost

YouTube Videos: Westdel Bourne