Lo-Ghost (formed by Evan Strauss and Shannon Devy) are a multi-talented duo who are both adept instrumentalists, lyricists, producers and vocalists. They aren’t musicians you can box, and so fittingly, neither is their music.
Lo-Ghost describes their sound as alternative pop. But this description seems too simple to me, who likens them (to the best of my ability) to the love child of The XX and The Naked and Famous– but with more rhythm. Their sound is fresh, it sets them apart from current acts on the local music scene. But further than that, it is a sense of authenticity that is at once clear to the listener, and made even more apparent in the way the audience connects and reacts to them when on stage.
Lo-Ghost seems to be on the brink of something new as a band, and the feeling I get when speaking to them, and watching them perform live, is that I myself am on the brink of something big.
On their upcoming new album:
Evan: We released our debut album last year in July called There’s Blood in My Body and it Sounds Like This … Since then we’ve put out a couple of singles and now we’re working on a second release.
I really think it’s us taking that step and growing as artists, as Lo-Ghost, as an entity. It’s a bit fucking terrifying at the same time. I guess if art’s not terrifying then you’re not doing it right [laughs].
Shannon: We’re honing a sound which we’re really excited about. We feel like we’re finally moving into the realm of what we’re supposed to be making.
In the beginning:
E: When Shannon and I met and started the project, we were not in very good spaces regarding mental health, for both of us and I think Lo-Ghost became, quite quickly, a very tangible way to sort of honestly express ourselves and it became very cathartic for us.
S: We find that when we’re being honest, we’re being human and people can connect. There are a couple of lines that people have mentioned to me- that sometimes I flinch when I say them – like when I say ‘would you leave me when I take off my clothes’.
‘There’s always a strange, therapeutic something just around the corner if you just hang in’
When I was really down and out, all of a sudden out of nowhere came Evan and this project and suddenly we were two people working through our stuff. And by the end of that we both felt a lot better.
The lesson is there’s always someone out there who you will be able to lean on a bit, and maybe there’s always a strange, therapeutic something just around the corner if you just hang in, you know. Something’s coming.
On connecting with the audience:
E: It’s this bizarre twist of things because we spend most of our time singing about stuff that is very close to us and yet the thing we do is just shout it and put it on a public platform for everybody to hear [laughs].
S: Sometimes it makes you feel better, right? I know it makes other people feel better as well. We’ve got so many messages from people who have felt connected and that’s cool cos then all of a sudden we’re in a big extended group therapy session across the world [laughs]. Its rad. It feels good … more because it makes me feel less alone when I see that someone else down there is in the same boat.
On mental health and awareness:
S: We have a real issue because there is no apparatus to support from the moment that you realize that something is up and you need that help… but what now?
I think a big part of it is de-stigmatization which is kind of our agenda. It needs to be normalized, it needs to be understood that its okay not to be okay. We can’t do much past that. But that’s where we can contribute.
‘It’s a great time to be working on the scene. Its inspiring.’
On being a queer-positive entity:
S: If I think back to my experience as a young, queer gal in the closet how useful it would’ve been to be able to see somebody in my town, somebody who I could go watch on stage, who was overtly visible.
Now I have the privilege in the sense that its safe for me to be out- I’m safe, there’s no danger for me relative to everybody else. But for [most] people in this country it can be a matter of life and death, so if I have the privilege to be visible I feel that I should be visible and that’s something i can do that might help.
‘Whoever comes to a Lo-Ghost show [should know] that that’s where they are welcome to be.’
Hopefully one day- we’re not even close- there will be a time where it’s not necessary. I do think visibility and representation is extremely important and personally I will be overtly visible, out, and I will make sure as far as I can that our shows are as safe as they can be.
You can’t guarantee a safe space, free of all kinds of violence but I will do everything in my power- we will do everything in our power – to try and make that happen. So that whoever comes to a Lo-Ghost show knows that that’s where they are welcome to be.
Local artists they love:
S: It’s a great time to be working on the scene. Its inspiring but it’s also like terrifying cos you know you gotta get your shit together or these kids will kick you to the curb [laughs].
E: I think it’s the most exciting time to be an artist because the shit that is being put out here is like fucking out of this world. Like Floors’ EP last year, Fade, was incredible. Emerger put out an EP a couple months ago. It’s fantastic. Three Witches’ EP with Tzara is amazing.
The meaning of Lo-Ghost:
S: Theres no meaning for Lo-Ghost [laughs].
E: It sounds cool. It’s a vessel that we can fill with whatever we want to. Also, we love hyphens [laughs].
S: Ghosts are also very cool [laughs]. It means nothing, now it just means us right?
E: It’s also nice because if we have a short name we can also make really long album titles [like their debut album: There’s Blood in My Body and it Sounds Like This].
On each other:
S: Evan is obsessive in the best kind of way. He is extremely prolific.
E: Evan’s happy go lucky, Shannon is much more aloof [they both laugh]. Its collaboration, it’s fantastic, it’s more than I ever wanted it or expected it to be- it’s like magic.
S: Evan is probably one of the most proficient instrumentalists I know. He is an incredible singer, wild vocalist, great guitar player, incredible piano player, brilliant synthesist.
E: We play a lot of instruments each. Shannon is a percussionist and drummer at heart, learnt how to sing through the Rocky Horror Picture Show [laughs].
S: It makes the work better… If you’re not precious your work will take on a life on its own.
E: It’s definitely something we’re working on for the new record, is to collaborate with other local artists. We’ve got a couple in the pipeline. Because we’re such a self-sufficient team we’ve seldom brought others in, but that is definitely something new for us.
S: The beauty of collaboration is that the work transcends you and becomes something bigger. Which is a really beautiful thing.
Where to catch them next:
E: We’ve got Smoking Dragon in December…
S: We’ve got a residency at House of Machines in December…
E: We’re doing two shows at Smoking Dragon. – I.I.I
By: Zoya Pon
Feature image: provided