Spirit Ghost
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Spirit Ghost

North Amherst, MA | Established. Jan 01, 2012

North Amherst, MA
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Alternative Garage Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Spirit Ghost summon a new moniker but retain the surf on 'Don't you Ever'"

What’s in a name? In music a band’s name can be influenced by an artist who’s had a significant impact on them, an excerpt from a poem or book, or it can come from an event of happenstance. Formerly known as Sexy Girls, Amherst surf punks Spirit Ghost changed their name out of necessity — but their groovy sound has stayed the same. The track “Don’t You Ever” off of the band’s self-titled EP that’ll be out on July 7 is being premiered on Vanyaland today, and it’s an excellent representation of the band’s evolution while going along with the summer season as a beach bummin’ jam.

“Our name change was spawned because we needed a change, we were hitting too many road blocks as a band just starting out,” says guitarist and vocalist Alexander Whitelaw. “People didn’t want to work with us, which was the hardest part, when you’re this new you need all the help and support you can get. I also felt like I had matured in my writing style past the point of Sexy Girls, I didn’t want to be in a weird bubble that I feel like that name created. I want people to focus on the music that I write, I didn’t and still don’t want the most notable thing about us to be our name. Spirit Ghost is something I can get behind and something I came up with because I feel like it has more substance, especially if you start to play with the idea of ghost and spirit as two different things, I wanted something that was going to provide longevity as a moniker and Spirit Ghost provides that for me.”

Of the upcoming EP, Whitelaw gives a glimpse into the process.

“The EP was written and the demos were recorded by me, but when we went to record the final versions we went to Converse Rubber Tracks in Boston,” he says. “I had my drummer Stephen Kerr come with me so we could live track a bulk of the instruments at once. Michael Cozzo also plays bass on the recordings. All of the recordings were done at Rubber Tracks with the exception of ‘Spirit Ghost’ which was recorded at my house in Seekonk with all music parts are written by me. The EP was easy to make and a lot of fun, going to the studio in Boston I couldn’t believe that they were letting us into it. It seemed almost too nice, and I was expecting there to be a catch at any moment, but everybody was super nice and down to capture the songs the way I wanted them which was awesome.” - Vanyaland

"Spirit Ghost kicks off Spring Tour with Iron Horse Show"

I’m at a Northampton midday cafe so quiet it’s like a private office. There’s one guy in the corner silently studying a laptop, some brightly lit and lonely pastries, me and Spirit Ghost.

Well, two of the four members of the Amherst indie band: founder/singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Alex Whitelaw and drummer Stephen Kerr. (Lead guitarist Mike Cozzo and bassist Andrew Wang had to be elsewhere on the weekday workday.)

Spirit Ghost has a big show at Northampton’s Iron Horse on the horizon, on Thursday, April 14 at 10 p.m. Opening the show is fellow Amherst indie group Calico Blue.

It’s the kickoff concert for Spirit Ghost’s spring tour, which will find the foursome climbing into Wang’s SUV and heading out to Illinois to do a session for the highly respected Daytrotter website, playing shows on the way out and back. It will be the furthest west the band has traveled so far and Whitelaw booked the entire thing by himself (with help from DoDIY.org, a treasure trove of information for independent musicians worldwide).

Their sound is reverb-drenched rock with a love of garage and surf textures. Whitelaw mentioned Beach Fossils, Beach House and The Kinks as influences, and found a kindred spirit when he discovered California group The Growlers.

Originally Spirit Ghost was called Sexy Girls (the name change happened last fall) and started as a one-man band, with Whitelaw playing all the instruments on homemade recordings. Eventually he wanted to perform with musicians for live shows, so he put up a Craigslist ad.

“I had no other alternative,” Whitelaw said. “I didn’t have a lot of connections, I was too nervous to talk to anybody, so I figured a Craigslist ad would be the most direct way. And I got really lucky.”

Kerr, at the time a student in the music program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was looking to play more music and saw Whitelaw’s online listing; before long, the two joined forces and become friends.

Whitelaw still writes all the music himself, using a “[crappy] little interface” at home to record demos, which he then sends around for his bandmates to learn. “I bust out all the parts to the song, because I know how I want them to sound, or what kind of song I want to write,” he said. “I make it as quick as I can, bang it out in one sitting, so I don’t lose what it is i’m trying to make. And then I usually babble nonsense over it to get the melody.”

Often, Whitelaw says, when he’s showing the parts to other people, he tells them, “Sorry, I know it’s so stupidly simple, but for the good of the song, I swear to you, it works.”

But, Kerr added, “The songs are very melodic. If you stripped them down to just playing acoustic guitar and singing them, they still have a lot of merit.”

Whitelaw said he likes big soundscapes, and the watery, spacious sound of reverb helps create that atmosphere. “A simple yelp ripples and expands and fills up the tracks in a way that I find hypnotic. I just really dig it.”

The band leads off its 2015 “Kicking Gravestones” EP with “Broken Glass Kids,” which has a Vampire Weekend-esque hiccuping energy and a hyper, catchy little lead guitar line. When Whitelaw scrapes the side of his pick down the strings, the reverb makes it sound like some kind of alien communication.

Last September, Spirit Ghost recorded another EP’s worth of music at a Converse Rubber Tracks session, done at the shoe company’s headquarters in Boston. “They give you eight hours and an engineer and it’s up to you what you do with that time,” Whitelaw said.

“The CEO likes supporting independent music, so he had a studio built, and then they started this project of inviting bands to come in and use the studio time,” Kerr said.

“And they gave us free sneakers,” Whitelaw added, kinking his foot to show off his kicks. “I think it’s pretty crazy. But they get promotion, they get cool bands wearing their shoes.”

The Converse session was the band’s first to feature its full current lineup and they’re still deciding what to do with the recordings. The songs might come out as an EP in the summer, with a full new album to follow, which they’ll record by themselves.

“The more control we have, the better,” Kerr said. - Daily Hampshire Gazette


Spirit Ghost - "The Collection" 2012
Spirit Ghost - "Satan's Hands" 2014
Spirit Ghost - "Kicking Gravestones" 2015
Spirit Ghost - "Spirit Ghost" 2016 



Spirit Ghost blends surf rock reverberations with wide, sweeping  sonorities to deliver a familiar sound with a style that is undeniably their own. 


Band Members