Their 2007 hit album The World is Outside created waves in the indie-pop circuit with its breezy and infectious pop melodies and earnest lyrics. Although they’ve faded into almost obscurity for the last four years, the frontman of UK band Ghosts Simon Pettigrew, mysteriously resurfaces with a clutch of new material and a residency at Tab to boot. We caught up the artiste who also happens to be TV personality Oli Pettigrew’s bro for a quick chat.
So let’s talk about Simon Pettigrew—why do you do what you do?
I’ve never considered doing anything else other than music. Right from a very young age, I’ve been exposed to artistes like Michael Jackson, Madonna and Dire Straits—sitting at the back of the car with my mum and taking it all in. I remember trying to teach myself guitar when I was 10 and asking myself how hard can it be to learn Guns ‘N’ Roses back catalogue. At first, it didn’t quite work out so well but eventually I got my head around it. Being able to sit down in a room and create something out of nothing is very intoxicating, and that’s what music is to me.
Is Ghosts still together as a band? Or have you gone totally solo?
Yes we’re still a band. The reason why the upcoming gig is a solo performance is because I’m the only one in Asia at the minute. I think it’s a great chance for me to get back to playing live as well as try out some new material.
It’s been like 4 years since your debut album, The World is Outside, and you’ve been playing out a lot supporting it. On hindsight, what do you think of it?
I haven’t listened to it for a long time until recently. On reflection, I am quite proud of it. I might drop one track but otherwise it’s a good record.
You’ve just released two new songs online, “Never Too Late” and “Say You’re Mine”. The electronic flourishes in these two songs totally depart from previous releases. Is this your new sound?
Of course. Before Ghosts we were known as Polanski and our sound then was more electronic—kind of like Aphex Twin and Radiohead’s Kid A. The World is Outside also has some electronic sounds in them but we’ve brought that to the fore quite recently with our new material. We’ve been experimenting a lot with sample drums as well. Also, we’re big fans of pop music especially the sounds of Robyn and Timbaland. So I think it’s a conscious decision and natural to move in that direction.
We’re totally digging the lyrics to your songs. What inspires you when you write songs?
To be honest, it’s the women (laughs)--the ones that broke my heart. I need a bit of heartache to get some genuine emotion out. I’m not the kind of musician that can just sit around and write about a swimming pool. It’s got to mean something to me. Music is nothing without emotion in it. I’ve never been able to write anything part from the stuff that makes me pick up the guitar and express myself about affairs of the heart. I think a lot of people will be able to identify with our music.
Simon Pettigrew is TAB’s Artist-In-Residence from Mar 29-Apr 2. His first set will be at 9pm and second set will be at 11pm nightly. Admission is free.