Ghost Ship Octavius, the band featuring Matt Wicklund (God Forbid, Himsa, Warrel Dane), Van Williams (Ashes Of Ares, Pure Sweet Hell, Nevermore) and Adon Fanion, have been hard at work putting together their first release, and now they need our help! They’ve started a new Kickstarter campaign to cover the full production of the album, and we should all chip in and help out. From the previews of new music that they’ve posted, and knowing the incredible talent that each member possesses, this could turn out to be a really powerful album. So let’s make it happen!
Last night I got to speak with guitarist, Matt Wicklund, about the band’s history, their 17-year old phenom vocalist, their Kickstarter campaign and more. Read what he had to say below, and head over to help fund their Kickstarter campaign today!
Metal Mark: Ghost Ship Octavius is your exciting new group with Van Williams, whom we all know from Nevermore, but where did you find Adon, and why was he perfect to join the group?
Matt Wicklund: When it finally came time to find a singer, we decided to ask for audition videos through YouTube, and luckily he was one of those guys. We knew we wanted an aggressive metal singer, but with a beautiful singing voice, which is harder to find than you think, and we were blown away by the response. We had some amazing people send us their stuff from all over the world, and some interesting ones, but once we heard Adon, we knew he was the right fit. We had one guy from Japan send us his stuff, which he didn’t refer to as singing, and the noises that came out of his mouth were something I’ve never heard. It was interesting to say the least. With Adon, he was exactly what we wanted, and so we sent him our music, and he absolutely nailed it. Soon after that we only found out that he was seventeen years old, which blew us away because his voice is mature beyond his years ya know. He’s an awesome dude, incredibly talented, and we gave him the job straight away.
MM: The project began with Christopher Amott, who recently decided to part ways with the group, but why did you continue to push to make this happen?
MW: For that answer I’ll have to start at the beginning, so I’m sorry for not having a short answer (laughs). I’ve known Chris for many years now, and when he moved to the States recently, we got together and jammed just like old times in New York. It wasn’t meant to be a band, but the more we played together, we realized that it could be something cool. He wasn’t in Arch Enemy anymore, and God Forbid was slowing down, so we started to put songs together. He then started to work on his solo material, which is where Van from Nevermore comes into the picture, and we all jammed together at that point and realized that we had a band that was doing something cool. Then Adon came into the picture and it was going really strong, but then Chris had a change of heart and decided to focus more on his solo stuff and Armageddon. By that point I had written a lot of the music, and maybe it was stylistic differences or something, but he wasn’t feeling it the way the rest of us were, so he decided to move on. For me, I had so much invested into it that there was no way I was going to end it. So we reworked the material that we had, made it a little heavier, and it came out really well I think. We really started to click from there. I love Chris though. Anyone who knows anything about his guitar playing knows how much of an incredible talent he is, and knowing him personally, he’s a stand up guy as well. So it sucked when he left, because it was an honor to play with one of the best out there, but things just weren’t clicking, so there’s no hard feelings or anything, no drama, we just moved on. Chris is still writing mind blowing music, and we are doing our own thing now, so it definitely worked out I would say. So there’s your short answer (laughs). This lineup feels right, and so we are sticking with it for the long haul.
MM: For you personally, this is an exciting new chapter for yourself as a guitar player. In your previous bands, they already had a defined sound before you joined, so to have your music at the forefront and being that defined sound has to be awesome.
MW: Definitely. I’ve always wanted to do my own thing musically. The main reason I play guitar is to write music, so this is pretty awesome right now. As you said, my previous bands were already well known. So when I joined I could add my style in here or there, but this is the first time that it’s all my music and I’m having a blast with it. Whether it was Himsa, God Forbid or Warrel Dane‘s band, they were already well known, and I had a ton of fun with those guys, but this means more because it’s my stuff, and people will finally get to hear what I can offer on the guitar.
MM: Well one thing that I think people need to hear is your solo work on the guitar. We’ve heard it here or there, but you have an interesting style and it’s refreshing to hear right now. Being a huge fan of solos myself, what was it about the guitar solo that you first fell in love with?
MW: For me the guitar solo is just fun. That’s when you can really express yourself as a musician. I enjoy guitar players who use the solo more like a composition, instead of just watch how fast I can play. The perfect example would be Jeff Loomis, who was my guitar teacher, so that had a huge effect on how I approached the solo as well. The stuff he writes is just magical, so it had a huge influence on what I wrote then and now. Going back to Christopher Amott, he really knows how to put emotion into a solo, and with his brother, they were just unstoppable to me. Obviously I have to mention Slash as an influence on my guitar playing as well, because he was able to say so much with his guitar. It was almost like a second vocalist sometimes, and that was really unique. He really made the guitar sing. So I mean, there’s just so much you can do with a solo, and so much that it brings to a song, and I enjoy trying to create my own style and bring something new to the table. I love the technical stuff, but also like to bring in the emotion as well, so it’s just fun. It takes a lot of work. I’ve put years into creating my solo style, and I’m just stoked that it will finally be heard fully with this new band.
MM: One of the main reasons we are talking today is the new Kickstarter campaign that you guys have started for the upcoming album. It’s almost at the $5,000 mark, which is awesome, especially for being a new group.
MW: Yea the response has been pretty overwhelming man. Being a new group, it’s pretty bold to do it this way. People know Van and I from our previous bands, and we only released little snippets of new songs at the time it was launched, but people seem really excited about it, and we will be adding more and more in the next few weeks. We have some new demo tracks coming, a new lyric video, and some other stuff, so you’ll hear more new music soon, but without hearing that and getting this response is pretty remarkable. I fully believe that what we are doing is unique and exciting, and so to know that other people get that and believe in it too is very special to us.
MM: So when you guys hit the $15,000 mark, will that cover the full album and help get you guys back out on the road where you belong?
MW: That’s the plan. The $15,000 mark is going straight into the production of the album. That’s just what it is going to cost to get recorded and manufactured, so that’s why we set that as our goal. So once we hit that, the record will be done and we can take the next step, which is going on the road as you said. We’ve done our fair share of touring between us, so we know what to do and what not to do, so we want to get on the right tours, and play in front of the right crowds who will fully appreciate what we are doing. Honestly, I can’t wait to play this live for people man. It’s going to be a blast, so hopefully we can get that going as soon as possible.
MM: For the last question, your career has brought you in different groups and you’ve seen the industry change over time, so what would you say is the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the years so far?
MW: Oh wow. Let me thing about that for a minute (laughs). I entered the music scene like every other kid out there. I was ready to play live, excited to see the world, and live the dream ya know. The one thing that I quickly learned was that you have to realize that it is a business too, and you have to protect yourself at times. It’s important to take care of the business side first, and make sure everyone is on board, and then go from there. A lot of people focus on just having fun, which it is a blast and a dream come true, but it is a business after all. It’s how you pay bills, it’s how you survive, so you have to take that side seriously.
Another thing I learned is that the “do it yourself” way is a lot more fun man (laughs). It really is. Having control of your stuff, and fully committing to it gives you a certain amount of pride that you may not get if you do it any other way. I know what the music will end up sounding like, where it’s going, who’s going to hear it, all that. As much work as I put into my music, it’s really the only way to do things for myself.
MM: Very cool. Do you have anything else you’d like to say to the fans out there?
MW: Well thank you so much for support of Ghost Ship Octavius so far. We all believe that we are doing something unique with our music, and to have you believing in it is just awesome. The Kickstarter campaign will really help get us on our way, so it’s crucial that the word gets out about it. There are no labels behind it, no tricks, it’s just three musicians doing what we love, so please help get the word out so we can get the music to you guys as soon as possible. Then we will see you on the road! Thanks Mark!
Watch their Kickstarter Campaign video below, and head here to donate!