Dayton, Ohio has spawned another hero in its underground punk scene, self-proclaimed “Spooky Punk” band Houseghost. The band’s self-titled debut is out now on Rad Girlfriend Records and Cat’s Claw Records and comes with - logically - 13 songs worth of horror tinged-lyrics, raw energy and pop sensibilities. We caught up with Nick Hamby (also from The Raging Nathans) to talk about the band’s album.
PRT: I read that you started Houseghost as a recording project for the two of you. How did you first get the idea to start writing songs with your sibling?
Nick: it was originally just going to be a secret solo project. I was just going to self record some stuff and release it on a tape or something. That was the idea, but as I was writing songs I remembered that Kayla had just started playing bass so I thought it would be a cool idea if she was involved somehow. I asked her to play bass on the recordings and it just progressed from there.
PRT: And at which point did you realize it had grown into a full-fledged band?
Nick: we didn’t really intend it to be a real band at first, but we liked the songs so much we decided to find a drummer so we could play live show. That’s where Tyler came in. I’ve been friends with him for a long time and I knew he would be a good fit.
PRT: In your bio you describe the band’s sound as lo-fi punk and I feel like the lo-fi part really suits the music. Was going lo-fi something that made the most sense right away?
Nick: absolutely. Lo-fi was in the original inception of the band, mostly because I wanted to do the original demos myself and I knew I could pull of a lo-fi recording. The concept of the band was inspired by bands like radioactivity, the liquids and coneheads. Stuff like that.
PRT: I read you already had some of the songs on the album for like two years, while the rest was written much more recently. Was it already the plan to release an album in 2020 or did being stuck at home kinda help move things along?
Nick: We actually wanted to have the record done much sooner, but we were kind of set back by certain life events and then also Covid. We played our first show in Sept of 2018 and had most of the record written and recorded by spring of 2019. But we kind of had to take a break for a bit and by the time we were ready to finish the record Covid hit. It did sort of help us finish tying up some loose ends on some songs. Hazel was written during the first month or so of quarantine. It was actually the last song written for the record.
PRT: You recorded the album with Hawthorne Heights’ Micah Carli. What is the most important thing that he brought to the table?
Nick: I live working with Micah. He’s very laid back and very professional. He very honest about things too. He’ll tell you if something sucks. He won’t let you have a bad take and I think that’s very important. Micah’s been in the industry for a long time so he’s knows exactly what he’s doing. I learn something new from him every time I’m in the studio.
PRT: I love the way you trade vocals and the harmonies are just amazing. Did you already know your voices went together well or is that something you noticed along the way?
Nick: Kayla and I had never sang together before we started Houseghost. Kayla has a natural talent for finding interesting harmonies. I’ll come up with something and then she’ll sing it a different way and it’s instantly better. I don’t know how she does it. Haha.
PRT: Are the harmonies something you spend a lot of time on or does it just kinda come together?
Nick: Kind of both actually. Sometimes we have to spend a lot of time practicing our harmonies. Other times it just immediately comes together.
PRT: Pretty much all of the songs on the album center around the occult and the supernatural. Is that something you have always been fascinated by?
Nick: for me, yes. I was so interested in paranormal and supernatural stuff from a very early age. I remember going to my elementary school library and checking out books on true ghost stories and other types of paranormal activity. It’s always been an interest of mine. I’m much more of a skeptic these days but it’s definitely something that still fascinates me.
PRT: And would you consider yourself superstitious? If so, how does that show?
Nick: No, not really. Haha.
PRT: The cd version of the album comes with a bonus song in the form of The Cure’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. How did you settle on that song?
Nick: We knew we wanted to do that song from the very inception of the band. It was a no brainer really.
PRT: Obviously you haven’t been able to play any shows since the release of the album. Are you already planning stuff for 2021? Or are you already working on new songs?
Nick: yeah it’s a huge bummer that we haven’t been able to play any shows. We had big plans for a record release show so that was upsetting. With how well the album has been received, I can’t wait to start playing again. We don’t have anything planned as far shows go. We are just taking it one day at a time. However, we have started writing new music! I’d love to release an EP or something in 2021, and We hope to have another record by 2022. So look forward to that!