Ghost Against Ghost

Interview: Happy Ears
Photography: Danila Luppino

Ghost Against Ghost is the electronic-rock concept of producer/composer Christopher Bono. Inspired by conceptual, progressive, post and psychedelic rock, the anarchic concepts of late Leo Tolstoy, dystopian epics, and neo-romanticism. We interviewed him in the beginning of summer in New York.

What is the relationship between music and mind?

Sound is a mechanical wave traveling through space. It has the capacity to be embedded with information carrying numerous qualities. Consciousness can embed it’s intentions, and perceptions into these mysterious waves, which on a purely scientific level is an absolute miracle. The “Mind”’s job is to interpret, convert, translate these magical messages through absorption. Sometimes this embedded information brings insight, sometimes indifference, sometimes emotions depending on the state of the listener. Most often and most interestingly, the effect is a result of the intention of the cause.

What is the connection between music and emotions?

Music has the capacity to be a stimulater for emotions, however it is not necessarily inherent as emotions are a subjective experience. Music can be much more, but as we all know, music can touch “in between” places in the heart-mind beyond the reaches of standard language. In these hidden spaces of consciousness, we sense an ancient or alien language that speaks from a place beyond the dimension of contemporary communication.

Christopher Bono, producer/composer of the ambient post-rock band Ghost Against Ghost

Which is your first sound memory? Please describe.

Honestly, I don’t have one. My earliest musical memories are my mother playing classical music late at night on the upright piano after she’d put us to sleep. It was the only time she could nd a moment to try and practice.

What is noise to you?

It depends on the circumstance and frame of mind. Like technology or anything in the phenomenal world it has a multifaceted character. Sometimes I’d de ne it as an irritable eld of sound, as in a public place, when you’re in a poor mood. In the studio, I often see it as a clay-like block of sound that provides an opportunity to sculpt and layer into a new instrument or arrangement.

I believe the primary source to listen to is your own mind and the body. Any heightened listening seems to come out of a calm, centered mind.

What is your favourite sound (except music)?

Silence. If it must be a 1 instead of a 0, I’d say nature sounds, gentle wind in leaves, soft streams, etc.

What do you associate to when you think of “complete silence”?

A quiet mind, centered and focused, usually following a withdrawal of senses.

When do you listen?

I believe the primary source to listen to is your own mind and the body. Any heightened listening seems to come out of a calm, centered mind. So each morning I meditate in silence until I feel I have heard and calmed the often anxious voice of my monkey mind.

From where do you get your inspiration to compose your music?

The primary inspiration usually is derived by deeply personal experiences that I feel compelled to process through music. However, I also try to compose daily, believing that regularity is an important ele- ment of the creative process. Paraphrasing a Stra- vinsky quote I once heard,“I try to come knocking at their (the Muse’s) door everyday, sometimes they ”I also try to compose daily, believing that regularity is an important element of the creative process.” answer, sometimes they don’t, but I am always there at the same time.”

“I could see the sounds, like a massive and extraordinarily complex piece of architecture, or some sort of alien, psychic sculpture, but I did not know how to realize it technically. … Until I heard Stravinsky.” -Bono

Where in the world (scene, place) would be the ultimate place to perform for you?

I’ve often had a dream of writing a piece for an epic wall of ampli ers that is made to be performed between mountain tops in the valley surrounding Woodstock (NY).

Why?

I’m very interested in writing pieces to be performed in natural spaces, using the natural acoustics of the environment as inspiration for arrangement decisions.

Do you use earplugs? Which ones and why? When?

I use noise canceling headphones a great deal and play a background noise app on my phone that features a mix between binaural sine waves and nature sounds. When I’m in public and trying to read, focus or meditate, the surrounding conversations and sounds usually distract my attention too much, and I can not put music on as I’m prone to analyze it. So the drone eld helps to neutralize the surrounding noise without providing anything for me to latch onto and think about.

Also, I always carry earplugs to concerts and use them depending upon the decibel level of the band or the venue’s sound system. I used to have a great pair of custom t earplugs from Ultimate Ears, but at some point I lost them. I now use whatever ear plugs I can get my hands on!

Interview: Happy Ears
Photography: Danila Luppino