Interview: Backstage with Nico Ghost @ The Met
After supporting Wu-Tang Clan at the Riverstage last week, Melbourne MC Nico Ghost was back in Brisbane again on Friday night, this time supporting G-Eazy. We caught up with Nico Ghost backstage at The Met to talk recent tours, new music and peri peri chicken.
So for a lot of people it seems like you’ve blown up overnight, you released your debut EP ‘Kaishi’ in the middle of last year and now your touring with all these huge international acts, but when did everything actually start for Nico Ghost?
It actually all began close to here, on the Gold Coast a few years ago. Me and all my friends including DJ Seywood moved down to Melbourne about a year and a half ago and we’ve been grinding for the last year. Everything that’s happening now just popped up in the last two weeks. I’m just riding the wave right now.
How was the experience of touring with a group like Wu-Tang Clan? I heard you’re a big fan of RZA.
It was a humbling experience. It was absolutely crazy, I had never played to a crowd like that and just to be on tour with the Wu-Tang Clan was incredible. We talked but I’m shy so I wasn’t going to push and I would rather be accepted than force my way into something. But we talked and its crazy, RZA doesn’t seem like a human, he’s beyond that.
Like he’s on another plane?
Exactly! He’s definitely on another plane. He is the godfather of Wu-Tang, he put it altogether.
Did you prepare for the shows differently?
I kind of prepared differently but not really. When I hit the stage I become something else and just get into a different zone. It’s all kind of a blur. When I get there it just all goes down but now it’s even crazier because of the response. The bigger platform is just leading to much greater sh*t.
Like tonight, there were people down the front that were loving it and knew all the words.
Yeah, they know them and I can just vibe off their energy and when I feel that energy everything just goes much better. This is the satisfaction, seeing the looks on their faces, seeing them jumping and vibing.
We know that the other Wu-Tang support act Ivan Ooze hit the studio with Ghostface, who would be your dream collaboration?
It has always been my number one goal, which I am still aiming for, to work with Morrissey. On my first album I do want a Morrissey feature because The Smiths are one of my greatest influences.
What is your favourite Smiths song or album?
We’ll go song first and then album. My favourite song is I Know It’s Over but it’s not really my favourite because it’s hard, you can’t really have a favourite but that one really does evoke a lot of emotion. I also love This Charming Man as well and ‘Meat Is Murder’ is crazy, the whole album is insane. I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish, I Want the One I Can’t Have, I could just go on.
Now that you’re on these big tours have you added anything crazy to your tour rider or have you heard of any other people’s crazy requests?
No, nothing too weird yet. To be honest I am just waiting for marijuana to be legalised so that can be added legally to the rider. But I think I’m going to get towels added, that’s what I need, and Hungry Jacks Peri Peri Tender Crisps.
I love Nandos too but I’m telling you there is something about those Hungry Jacks Tender Crisps.
Have you developed any pre-show rituals?
Before I go on I kind of always have a conversation with myself and a conversation with God and then I go on and that’s my ritual. Really I just hate the interim waiting time in between leaving the hotel, well basically the whole day. It’s all just waiting and I just hate that part but I think I will get over that at some stage.
Do you still feel nervous?
Somehow while touring you’ve also managed to find the time to drop another track this week, Night Terrors. I think your lyrics have always been intelligent but Night Terrors definitely seems more introspective and reflective. Was there a change in your approach to the creative or writing process?
I wouldn’t say there has been a change but I have become more comfortable with myself and expressing what I feel the world needs.
More comfortable opening up to your fans?
Yeah I just feel like I can be more honest. I feel there was something in my soul, especially with Night Terrors because that just kind of happened. Aywy just sent me the beat and I just wrote it and it was totally different to anything else I wrote. I felt like it was a nice direction to head in but in saying that I’m not just heading in one direction.
So can we expect another release soon?
There is a new EP coming and there is definitely a sound but you’ll have to wait and see!
But the response to Night Terrors tonight was great, so that’s got to feel good?
The thing is with Night Terrors is that we put it together kind of rushed to be honest. The response was surprising because it’s been a week and this dude was rapping my verses with me, like he finished the verse with me and that sh*t, I was just like wow.
So now we are going to switch it up and finish with a rapid fire round so would you rather be reincarnated or come back as a ghost?
Reincarnated as an animal, as a jaguar.
My Neighbour Totoro or Ponyo?
Ponyo, I watched it like 5 nights in a row.
Melbourne or the Gold Coast?
Two different vibes completely. Gold Coast is where I became who I am and Melbourne gave me the chance to show it so I can’t choose one. There’s stuff you can’t get in either place; you can’t get the nature of the Gold Coast in Melbourne but you can’t get the city life of Melbourne on the Gold Coast.
Last album you actually bought?
‘Speeding Bullet to Heaven’ by Kid Cudi. It’s not rap, and you have to understand it’s not hip-hop and you can always tell that Cudi has never wanted to do just hip-hop and I’m a huge Cudi fan.
That album definitely threw a couple people for a loop though.
It did, but that’s the thing everyone’s close minded and they pigeonhole things.
But Cudi and Kanye?
They’re working on the new album together! All my dreams are coming true, you don’t understand I can’t wait for that!
Last movie you saw?
I watched ‘Thirst’, it’s like a Korean movie where a priest gets turned into a vampire. It’s directed by the same guy that did Oldboy and I kind of randomly clicked on it but I watch a lot of movies, I am really inspired by film.
I guess with all the travel you’re doing right now; you’ve got to pass the time.
But that’s the thing, I don’t watch movies while I travel. I watch movies at home like movie after movie after movie.
Go-to drink order?
Scotch and lemonade.
Best hangover cure?
Greasy burger, a lot of water and maybe forcing myself to throw up.
Just a sneaky tac-yack?
Yeah a tac-vom. Tac-yack, that’s a good one!
Instagram or Snapchat?
Be in the studio or on tour?
I’d rather do both. I like to be on tour and then head back to the hotel and record things because sometimes that’s when the vibes are right. But they’re two totally different experiences but I can see myself being on a tour and going back to the hotel and having a set up and just doing it. You can have pretty decent on the road set ups.
Last show you binge-watched or go-to show?
‘Twin Peaks’. I’ve watched it multiple times but just recently I started watching it again because it’s one of the best.
3 things you would want people to know about Nico Ghost?
I want people to approach me and say hello and I’ll say whaddup. Sh*t this question is the hardest, I don’t know what I want people to know about me. Maybe just know that I’m a ghost. I’m a ghost and even if you can’t see me I’ll always be there.
Photos by Tom Sue Yek