GHOST mastermind Tobias Forge has revealed to Canada's Global News that he is in the process of finding the right producer for the band's upcoming fifth album. The follow-up to last year's "Prequelle" will be written and recorded over several months in 2020 for a tentative early 2021 release.
Addressing the fact that he has worked with a completely different producer for each of GHOST's albums after 2010's "Opus Eponymous" (which he produced himself), the 38-year-old Swede said: "I believe that it's very healthy to make sure that you don't get stuck in your comfort zone, because it can become too comfortable. I've had that in the past with at least a couple of my previous producers, where we're almost too good of friends; we've actually hung out so much, that we're buddies now. And there's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't always allow for further growth, which is exactly what I want to do. In this case, I have to make our fifth record. I want it to be a seminal record for us. That's why the process right now is to find that perfectly balanced producer that is gonna make sure that we're making a rock record — it needs to be a heavy record — but it needs to be someone who understands the factor of, 'This needs to be relevant, now.'"
Asked if there is a reason that he doesn't often work with metal producers, Forge said: "I'm sure people in the heavy metal sphere might have noticed that too… And there's a reason for that: metal producers are very purpose-driven. They do a fantastic job and they know exactly what they're going for. They're experts in doing exactly that. And I have nothing against it, but that's not what I'm trying to do. So I need to be fully aware and completely awake in trying to find the right producer for GHOST in that moment.
"Klas [Åhlund, who produced 2015's 'Meliora'] was perfect for me," he continued. "His whole professional life, he has been writing pop music and playing in TEDDYBEARS and writing records for Robyn and Ellie Goulding. You have all these different artists and this huge variety, but he started off playing prog music. He was a guitar virtuoso playing Yngwie Malmsteen/Ritchie Blackmore-type stuff. So when I came and talked with him about making a rock record, he was just, like, 'Yes, I've wanted to do that for such a long time.' It was perfect for both of us, because we were able to talk about all the common denominators. We could reference things from Euro Disco all the way to SLAYER just to explain a simple idea. Whereas if you end up with the typical metal producer, they might say, 'SLAYER, of course. But everything else you mentioned is just 'ordinary music.''
"I'm not saying that every heavy metal producer is like that," he clarified. "I just feel like metal today, as opposed to 1975, is such a defined genre, that people our age and younger have lived their entire lives knowing exactly what heavy metal is. But people who were around when [AC/DC] made 'Back In Black' didn't really know what that was. There's so many rules now. It's too refined. The whole culture breathes a little bit of a puritan-like conservatism. In order to make new records, I think sometimes you need to try not to think too much about all of these rules."
Earlier in the year, Forge told Revolver that "Prequelle" was "a little ballad heavy" and its follow-up will lean more in the direction of "Meliora" without repeating the same ideas.
Forge said that he plans on entering the studio in his hometown of Stockholm in January and spending five months fine-tuning the material before beginning the recording process in June.
Forge founded GHOST more than a decade ago and has written almost all of the group's music, while also performing for years in costume as first Papa Emeritus and now Cardinal Copia. His real name was a mystery for much of that time and still does not appear on GHOST LPs.
"Prequelle" debuted in June 2018 at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart.
GHOST's most recent North American tour wrapped on October 26 in Glens Falls, New York.