Ghostwriters – High Life EP

On the 16th of August 2018, my band Ghostwriters released our first single, Follow, a song that pre-existed during the ‘Hiretheghostwriter’ era before me and Ben Charlwood joined. Today, exactly 20 months and one day later, we have released our first EP.

High Life EP

The five-track EP begins with Follow, a song which my partner describes as the perfect opener for our gigs, and ever since me and Ben joined, it has been a constant staple in our setlists. During our performance at the O2 Academy, some of our fans snuck in some indoor confetti cannons and letting them off right as the second chorus became heavy. It caught me by surprise, but it was cool to watch. Lyrically, it is simply about people who are brainwashed into following trends just so they can fit in. For the studio version, me and Matt Pickles doubled up on the screaming parts during the middle section. In the live version however, the screams are left up to me. I find live screaming a bit easier to manage compared to studio screaming.

Soft is the next song on the EP, and it is probably my favourite as I really like the interchanging vocals between me and Pickles, as well as the bass line I came up with for the verses. The screams for this are particularly challenging as the shape of the word ‘Soft’ makes it a very deep and guttural scream. A few days ago, Pickles hosted a Facebook live session and told the story about how a friend of a friend came to one of our gigs and described me as soft. At the time, I had actually been chatting to Ben’s girlfriend and the friend of a friend who was sat on the same table must’ve been absorbing the conversation because later on when I was outside with the band, Ben’s girlfriend came up to us to tell us that he had been saying things behind my back. It rattled Pickles somewhat but to be honest, I found it quite hilarious, and that is essentially how Soft started.

08 James Recording 3

Exactly seven days ago, I did a solo performance and uploaded it onto the Start the Virago YouTube channel. In amongst a six-song setlist was an acoustic rendition of track 3 of the EP, DSTM (Don’t Shoot The Messenger), our most recently-composed track from the EP, and by recent, we debuted this song six months ago at the 360 Club in Leeds. It wasn’t until when we recorded the vocals when the lyrics were actually sorted out! Furthermore, the vocal structure for DSTM is essentially reversed compared to the other songs as the rapping features in the chorus rather than the verses. The song ended up sounding a bit experimental and slightly minimalist with lots of variations in dynamics and textures, but the band like it a lot. When we recorded the song in the studio, the bass took just one take.

The title track of the EP is next up, a song which had pre-existing lyrics that weren’t used during the ‘hiretheghostwriter’ era, but the song itself was the first ‘Ghostwriters’ composition. The origin of High Life came about during a rehearsal at Jam on Top when we were thinking of ideas, and I came up with the muted bass line. After Follow, we wanted this to be the next song we’d release as it has a very anthemic chorus, one which our fans sing along to. As the first chorus follows a very quiet bridge, the impact is particularly explosive. The ending of High Life serves as a nice lead into other tracks in live performances. Sometimes, it would be Netflix and Skill, but more recently, it would lead into the final song from the EP.

The song in question is Acid Baby, a 90 second hardcore punk track. This song came about from an abandoned idea tentatively known as Muzzy Izzet, a bit of a pop-punk song with a heavy bit in the middle, and we used the heavy bit to form the opening riff of Acid Baby. We debuted this song as the closer for our O2 Academy set and Pickles made up the lyrics on the spot. We also opened with this song at the battle of the bands event that would see us support Puddle of Mudd. When I first listened back to the O2 live footage, I had a chuckle at the ‘BD16′ and ’16 valves under the bonnet’ lyrics. They have since been altered to reflect the time when Pickles once took acid, although the Bingley postcode reference remains. The intro features Ben’s only vocal contribution to the EP as well as Pickles’ absence on rhythm guitar.


The EP can be streamed through Spotify and downloaded via Bandcamp. Physical copies will become available as soon as the global pandemic calms down and we are able to produce them. We would like to give thanks Luke Haran and Steve Hind from Prospect Studios for the production of our EP, Ed Hall from All Silk Mastering House for mastering all five tracks, and Arron ‘Juddy’ Judson for designing the artwork.

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