by Darro Davis
Ghostland Observatory is bringing a fresh new approach to the indie music scene. Their performance is stellar and their style best described as an intergalactic journey through modern disco pop. Just imagine placing the following items into a blender: one part rock n roll, deep electronics, precise beats, and intermittent guitars. Blended well these ingredients produce a velvety sound that fuses elements of Freddy Mercury, Daft Punk with a pinch of Prince and Green Velvet.
Ghostland Observatory is made up of two musical geniuses Aaron Behrens, vocalist and guitarist and Thomas Turner keyboards and drums. I had the opportunity to chat with Thomas who spoke about everything from the bands musical freedom accomplished by running their own label to balancing family life on the road.
It may look easy to form a band when only two people are involved, but for Ghostland it is proving easier said than done. Thomas said most of his experiences came from DJ-ing at parties and playing in dark warehouses and this is where Ghostland got the idea for, “their stage lighting (laser light show)…we try to create our own atmosphere for each show.” He also stated that when it comes to creating their unique sound they pull from, “life experiences, the places we play, and what we listen to…(and then we) see what comes out of the other end. Creativity, you can’t plan that, it just comes to me.”
Trashy Moped Records is the label Ghostland created, “in order to have the total freedom of doing, well, anything we want to do,” Thomas said, “It’s a lot of work, but we have our personal preference to do what we want with it. With the last few records I had more time to spend on those records, but it’s starting to get harder to write and create once touring picked up.” When coming home Thomas said he likes to, “decompress and create. After this tour I’ll chill out and focus on working on music and tour after. Coming home is like a juggling act and at the end of the day it’s this and that and the other. My wife helps out with the label and my son is 4 and goes to shows.” Thomas wears a cape on stage resembling the likes of James Brown, which his wife made for him, “She made me a couple of them for special occasions. Its kinda like a trademark….my son will grab my cape and tries to imitate me and would start performing on the keyboard.”
They landed their first national debut on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien, performing the song "Sad Sad City". They then followed that with an appearance on the popular Austin City Limits in 2007, and released a live video shot at the Vegoose Music Festival. All of this attention gained a lot of praise for Ghostland. They now plan on spending a lot of time in their hometown of Austin, Texas recording new music. They have released three albums along with several live recordings and have transformed their unique sound world wide with their mesmerizing live performances and unique style. As Thomas simply stated, “When it comes to Ghostland, running the record label and spending down time with the family, it’s all about the music… it should be about the experience.”