Time waits for no man, not even Jonathan Vigil.

Blunt - - News - By Daniel Furnari. Pho­tos by Kane Hib­berd

I’ ve al­ways been kind of in­trigued by the idea that time flows no mat­ter what hap­pens,” muses The Ghost Inside’s Jonathan Vigil. “You could be do­ing the same thing for so long and then you wake up one day and re­alise that all this time has passed.

“A big thing for me was when I left for a run of tours one day and my fa­ther was ex­actly how I re­mem­bered him, and then when I came back he had all th­ese grey hairs on his head. That was a big turn­ing point in my life, where I re­alised time was go­ing to keep go­ing whether I liked it or not, and that comes out in the songs. So I feel like the con­cept of time is some­thing that I keep want­ing to ex­plore in our band, a re­cur­ring theme.”

A re­cur­ring theme that now takes cen­tre stage on the band’s fourth record, aptly ti­tled Dear Youth. For the vo­cal­ist, it serves as a let­ter to his younger self, a cry of long­ing for the fire and de­ter­mi­na­tion of see­ing the world as a place of bound­less op­por­tu­nity – a fire he thought for a while he might have lost.

“I reached a point where it felt like things were stag­nant, stuck in a bub­ble of ‘ This is who I am, this is what I do’,” says Vigil. “I felt scared, and I wanted to feel that sense of won­der again that you feel when you’re first get­ting out of high school and the world is your oys­ter. There’s an angst to the record, a sense of want­ing to shake your­self up and say, ‘ You used to feel like this – why don’t you feel like that any­more?’ It’s a re­ally pow­er­ful state­ment for the record and I’m glad it came out the way it did, be­cause the ti­tle track ‘ Dear Youth’ is a re­ally big song in terms of where we’re at as a band.”

That same hunger for the drive and free­dom of be­ing young is part of what keeps the band almost con­stantly on the road. When we sit down with Vigil and gui­tarist Aaron Brooks, it’s in a Syd­ney hos­tel on a very rare day off in the mid­dle of one of their most hec­tic Aus­tralian ad­ven­tures yet – The Rise Of Bro­tal­ity Tour. A whop­ping 22 shows tak­ing the band to towns far off the beaten track, with venues of all shapes and sizes rang­ing from the­atres to youthies and gyms, it’s a throw­back to The Ghost Inside’s early days ( and those of most bands of their ilk).

“It’s been awe­some, lit­er­ally play­ing shows on the floor,” says Brooks. “We don’t do that as much any­more. That was all we did for like four years ear­lier in our ca­reer, so it was re­ally awe­some to do that, but I can’t even re­mem­ber the last time we did that! And it’s just cool to play some of the lit­tler ci­ties some­times be­cause they don’t get bands com­ing as of­ten, so they’re just… hun­gry for it!”

Given the na­ture of the tour, it’s also some­what fit­ting for the band to be em­bark­ing on it as a co- head­line with old friends I Killed The Prom Queen – the very same band that brought them to our shores for the first time in 2008, spark­ing a long and strong re­la­tion­ship with Aus­tralian hard­core fans who have since wel­comed them as one of their own on each re­turn visit.

“We’re very lucky in the sense that we’ve come here a lot of times and we’ve come here with a lot of very big Aus­tralian bands, so I think it’s a very rare op­por­tu­nity to have things line up like they did,” says Brooks. “The first time we came with I Killed The Prom Queen, then we came with Deez Nuts, then we came with Park­way Drive, and then with The Amity Af­flic­tion. You can’t re­ally do any bet­ter than that!”

“Aus­tralia was the first place where we saw peo­ple singing along and get­ting into our band, even be­fore Amer­ica,” adds Vigil. “The first time we came here our shows were sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter. So for us it has al­ways been a great place to come back to and grow our band.”

With a sched­ule as con­sis­tently chock- full as theirs, it’s a won­der the non- stop tour­ing ma­chine that is The Ghost Inside even found time to write Dear Youth at all.


“Even when you do have the time set aside, it’s hard!” ex­plains Brooks, the band’s main cre­ative brain in the in­stru­men­tal depart­ment. “Since we do tour so much, if we only get two months at home out of the year, it’s re­ally hard to force my­self to play gui­tar for two months straight. I’m like, ‘ I just wanna go to the beach!’” he laughs.

Not only was the al­bum writ­ten in short respites be­tween long legs of tours, it was recorded in much the same way. De­spite their good in­ten­tions, set­ting aside all of Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary with pro­ducer An­drew Wade in Florida to smash out the record, old fa­ther time once again got the bet­ter of them. With Dear Youth still un­fin­ished, Sound­wave sea­son came around, fol­lowed im­me­di­ately by an Amer­i­can tour, and it was April be­fore the band could re- en­ter the stu­dio. April came and went, more hair was pulled out, but some­times you can’t put a time limit on get­ting things right.

What fol­lowed was another crazy cou­ple of months of back- and- forth be­tween the stu­dio and their tour­ing com­mit­ments, with Brooks re­cruit­ing The Devil Wears Prada gui­tarist Chris Ruby to cover his spot for almost the en­tirety of their jaunt around Europe while he flew back home to sink his teeth into the rest of the record, even­tu­ally to be joined by the rest of the band. While you might think the on- and- off process would be a drag, Brooks ex­plains how it turned into the per­fect recipe for get­ting the cre­ative juices flow­ing, al­low­ing the band to make sure they were in the right mind­set for record­ing each in­stru­ment.

“The last al­bum we did a bit more con­ven­tion­ally; we wrote all the songs and then recorded the drums, then the guitars, bass, vo­cals in the usual or­der, but this time we didn’t do it that way. We kind of just recorded what­ever we felt like record­ing at the time. We ac­tu­ally recorded all the drums last, which, for any­one who knows any­thing about record­ing, isn’t re­ally very nor­mal! But our num­ber one thing in the stu­dio this time was that we worked on what­ever was feel­ing in­spir­ing. If you weren’t feel­ing it on the day, that’s cool, do it next week! It re­ally helped to cre­ate a whole dif­fer­ent vibe.”

Of course, you can’t live life at the pace that The Ghost Inside do with­out mak­ing your share of sac­ri­fices. With so lit­tle time spent off the road and away from the band, friends can some­times be left by the way­side, and re­la­tion­ships tar­nished. It’s some­thing Vigil is still com­ing to terms with – as usual, his lyri­cal out­put proves to be the great­est cathar­sis.

“There’s a song called ‘ Mercy’ on the new record, which is about how for a long time I wanted to please every­body, I wanted to make every­body happy,” he says. “Be­ing so in­volved in this band I have so lit­tle time at home to see close friends and fam­ily, and some peo­ple took of­fence when I didn’t get a chance to see them when I was home, and felt like I was putting other peo­ple above them. But I re­alised there were al­ways go­ing to be peo­ple in my life that in­evitably I would let down with­out in­ten­tion­ally do­ing it. That’s been re­ally hard for me to deal with, and that’s some­thing that doesn’t just ap­ply to me and be­ing in a band, it could ap­ply to any­one in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions. You will let peo­ple down and you have to come to grips with know­ing that is a thing that hap­pens.”

Brooks con­cludes: “As pos­i­tive a thing pleas­ing other peo­ple can be, if you go over­board to the point where it af­fects you neg­a­tively, then you need to keep that in check.”


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