“It’s a bold record for us, and it’s going to be divisive”: How The Ghost Inside are taking things to a new level on Searching For Solace

Ahead of The Ghost Inside’s new album Searching For Solace, Jonathan Vigil and Andrew Tkaczyk take us behind the curtain and explain why it’s time for the band to take the next step in their evolution…

“It’s a bold record for us, and it’s going to be divisive”: How The Ghost Inside are taking things to a new level on Searching For Solace
James Hingle
Markus Hauschild

In 2020, the much-anticipated return of The Ghost Inside – in the wake of their devastating bus crash, five years earlier – was scuppered by a global pandemic and the frustration of not being able to fully enjoy the release of their self-titled record. But instead of wallowing in self pity, in true TGI fashion, they rolled with the punches and got to work on their next project.

On the eve of their sixth studio album, Searching For Solace, vocalist Jonathan Vigil and drummer Andrew Tkaczyk join us from the States discuss everything from the band's ongoing evolution, getting to the next level, making steps towards being more honest and why this might be their most deeply personal record yet.

You see, Searching For Solace is The Ghost Inside very much keeping to their blueprint of uplifting, pummelling hardcore anthems, but they’ve also ventured into more melodic tones, while lyrically tackling the darkness that can come with the delicate nature of the human mind.

“We've always been a band that's had a really positive outlook and overcoming adversity kind of vibes,” admits Vigil. “That's still a core ethos of the band – and that's never going to change – but this record is like the first time we really explored the alternative, like, what if things are too much? What if you start to lose a little bit of your sanity?

“For me, thankfully, I’ve never had to deal with any sort of mental health issues. But during the pandemic it affected me so much; being stuck inside every single day doing the same thing over and over again. I think this record is really exploring like the outer limits of the mind for the first time, because there's twists and turns, and ups and downs. Anywhere you go in life, it’s never just a linear path.”

As well as these feelings of isolation that we all faced during COVID, TGI's new record also deals with themes of grief, loss and the gut-wrenching sadness that comes with losing someone close to you. In 2012, Vigil's father passed away while the band were touring Australia. More than a decade one, he is finding the courage to talk about the trauma, immortalising the lessons from his dad in his music.

“My dad imparted something on me a long time ago. He told me that life is never just a constant, it’s always changing. You have to be open to adapting and just doing what's right.”

This openness quickly sees his visibly shocked bandmate interject. “Vigil, I don't think I ever heard you say that about the advice that your dad gave you."

Andrew continues, “It's very fitting that right smack bang in the middle of our record, there's a song called Cityscapes that is about Vigil losing his father. How fitting for that advice to be the whole idea of the record and then that's right in the middle of it. Wow. That gave me chills a little bit.”

“We wrote that song as a break in the record, because we wanted it to feel like a back and forth push and pull, almost jarring,” explains Vigil of the track, which does indeed feel add an element of tranquility and reflection to the album.

“It's about the day that I lost my father and it just so happened to be in Australia. I remember looking outside my hotel window at the Brisbane skyline, the cityscape of Brisbane, just in tears, not knowing what to do and feeling so lost.”

This heartbreaking story is just one facet of the record, but the ethos about adapting to change lies at its core. Searching For Solace marks a new era for this band, one that has seen them throw off the shackles and explore new sounds and artistic processes.

“There's so many levels to the record," says Vigil. "We've done records in the past where we've had a theme but never as deep as this one. I think we really, really dug in and tried to make it a thematic record through and through, from start to finish; lyrically, musically, vocally.”

“We not only dug the deepest lyrically with that content, but also instrumentally and sonically,” adds Andrew. “Before even writing the first note we knew that we wanted to explore some new things, maybe some things we were afraid to try on the past couple of records. We were digging in deeper, going darker, being more honest, more authentic.”

“I think we’ve levelled-up, elevated, and found a more mature sound for the band," says Vigil. "It's wild listening back to it, knowing that this is our band. I can't believe this is the music we're doing now. It's what we've always wanted to do. It's like an endgame thing that we're seeing now.”

Of course, not everyone is going to like change, and TGI aren't naive to that. There are still plenty of elements on this record to keep the old-school diehards moshing in their sleep, but with any evolution of a band, they’re now reaching for something greater.

“It's a bold record for us, and it's going to be divisive – we've been seeing feedback and we've been seeing both sides of it. But I also know how freeing and cathartic it is felt to write a record where we weren’t limiting ourselves," says Andrew. “I think mentally, especially for me, and I'm sure Vigil too, we've been able to do what we want. However people react is how they're going to react, but we’re just happy.”

Whatever the reaction, one thing is for sure, this record very much feels like a band reinvigorated with the bit between their teeth. Having overcome such adversity in their lives and come out swinging is inspiring, and this empowering PMA that has kept fans coming back for more. Long may it continue.

The Ghost Inside's new album Searching For Solace is released April 19 via Epitaph. Catch them at Slam Dunk Festival on May 25 and 26 in Hatfield and Leeds – get your tickets now.

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