I was able to have a chat with Steph Carter (Ex Gallows Guitarist) as well as Gillian Alexandra (Vocals) and Paul Taylor (vocals, Guitar) members of new Anglo American rock band The Ghost Riders In The Sky. Following their packed out gig at The Washington Sheffield, they explains how this project began, Steph’s brutal departure from Gallows and what is to come in the near future…
So how did Ghost Riders begin?
Gillian: It’s been a really long time coming, for Steph especially. He started writing me songs in 2007 I believe he joined gallows in 2006. So our opening song, Burial song was the first song he had written for what is now ghost riders. As he says it’s the music that saved his sanity, throughout the 7 years he toured with Gallows, you can see how much energy goes into that band and I think the ghost riders music is what came naturally to him.
He has known Paul for 17 years now. They always wanted to have a project together and it never really came about so about early 2012 a lot of the demos had started to take shape and I think Steph was finally ready.
Paul: Yeah it started when he was still in Gallows and it was a bit like when your break a biscuit and he gave me the crumbs and I was like “what do you want me to do with that?” You know, it tastes really nice but there were a few hairs in there.
Steph, Can you tell me about why you left Gallows?
Steph: Yeah I left Gallows of January of this year, and when I left I wasn’t originally going to do anything with this project the idea was to just record some music that I liked and maybe realise it if I am lucky but that was it, I never really planned on touring it. When I left Gallows, the mainstream music press got hold of that I had left and they decided to turn it around and say the reason I had left Gallows was for Ghost Riders. So we got a shit load of press that we were not expecting and not ready for and people really liked the songs that they heard so I thought you know what, fuck let’s run with it. And we did.
How did the rest of the band deal with all of the sudden attention? Was this going to be a separate band altogether?
Steph: (Points to Paul) he didn’t even know I had quit!
Paul: I remember I was sat on the toilet and I got a text of the band I as in; it was in saying Steph left Gallows and he had already started doing this, but it didn’t really matter because he wasn’t really happy anyway.
Steph: Yeah I was in a really shitty place then.
So were you going to do more of a producer role with the same line up?
Steph: Originally it was going to be me and Paul, and my friend mike that was playing drums in the band as well. All of the song that we have in the first recordings we have ever done, we were writing in the studio. So I just went in the studio with like 4/5 ideas and those idea turned into full songs after about 3 days.
How did you deal with such natural momentum changing your plans?
Yeah it quickly turned around, and when it came time to play some shows I booked this tour and we needed a bass player and a drummer so we got Jason and Chris and they have been in the band about 2 months, the had a handful of band practices and I was like “get in the van!”
Oh and Robbie is our driver, he is my best friend and I have known him since we were 3. He fell into being our driver and he has this stone dog that has become our mascot.
Could this be the future album cover?
Oh my god mate job done. Problem solved. Tyrone the dog. Yeah so now were 4 shows in, 3 with this line up we had one gig before that with a different drummer, a wizard called rusty as Chris had another commitment.
Paul: Yeah the thing with rusty is nobody has seen him since! He is a bit of an enigma; he played the gig and just disappeared.
Steph: He is the black metal wizard of Plymouth!
Paul: Yeah it was at the first gig and I turned around after the last song and there was just a pair of shoes… I was not a believer but I fucking am now!
So Steph, are there any hard feeling between you and the Gallows camp since you left?
I haven’t spoken to any of them since I left. They were really cool with it originally when I quit then about a week later we decided that we were going go on a hiatus you know we had been on tour for a long time and never really had a brake, so we were going to brake so nobody had to quit the band so there wasn’t really a problem, and then an awful lot of shit perused and since then I haven’t spoken to any of them.
There was a load of shit that was going on and when it came time to announce my departure from Gallows they were like so here’s a statement we have written up and it was like 2 lines long saying it was a complete amicable brake up to which I replied if you release that I will fucking sue you, you cunts. It was really bad, you know. I spent fucking 7 years touring the world with them and like now I get to spend 7 years touring round with these idiots.
It’s quite visible on stage that you look far more content with this new project.
Paul: That was just wind. (laughs)
You were smiling on stage , you never smiled in gallows, that look frank has of content and belonging in your music, how are you dealing with this progression?
Steph: Yeah that’s the thing, this is the music that comes naturally to me when I pick up the guitar, and Gallows wasn’t it was always a bit of a struggle.
Gillian: I think that surprise a lot of people too!
Steph: Yeah but this is what comes naturally and now am travelling with one of my oldest friends, my oldest friend and my fiancé… oh and these two that are alright as well.
So what’s next with Ghost Riders?
Steph: 1 EP is done what we’re going to do next is over the Christmas break and then we are going to record anther EP that will be acoustic versions of album tracks. So people can hear the songs stripped back. We are going to realise that just after Christmas we are going to do some more touring in January and February.
Then Gillian will fly back to the states to renew her visa and then we are going to start writing the album properly we have like ¾ tracks already written for the album and are sure and our going on the album. After that another whole host that need to be written, me and Paul need to sit down and start writing more stuff, then hopefully album in the summer.
Well, with the artwork decided might we see you at any festivals over the summer? Possibly back to Reading and Leeds or some new territory like Glastonbury?
Steph: That’s the plan, we would love to play Glastonbury that’s the dream right there!
Gillian: Yeah Glasto defiantly.
Paul: It’s the tits!
The tits indeed, well with very busy 2014 already planned, Steph Carter is growing up and beginning to tend to the wounds left by Gallows. With the passion for music firmly resurrected in Carter, The Ghost Riders In The Sky have defiantly got the momentum and cult fan base to achieve great things.