GHOST mastermind Tobias Forge has confirmed to Finland's Kaaos TV that he has commenced the songwriting process for the band's fifth album. "I have been in the studio a couple of days to record a few demos," he said in a new interview (hear audio below). "I started that already in the summer, just to feel that, 'Okay. I've started.' After New Year's, I'm gonna go into the studio. First, I'm gonna record one song that's gonna be part of something that we will know of in the year from now. So that's the first thing. And that's basically one singular song for something, and that's gonna be just to sort of get the rocks off a little. Because that way, you can go into a new studio, maybe — you can try something like that. You can try that new amp that you wanted to try, and that's more like an experiment. So, as soon as I'm done with that in January — that's gonna be the first or second week in January — after that, I'm just gonna start full time, Monday through Friday, being in the studio writing. And that's what I do up until May last. And June 1st, I'm gonna be in some other studio with preferrably the drummer that I've been using for the last 10 years for most of my recordings, and hopefully then we're gonna start recording the drums for all these 15 songs — something like that — I'm gonna write. Some of them are written, some of them are in bits and pieces, and some of them I don't know yet."
Asked if he will make a conscious effort to record the kind of album that can be performed live in arenas, Forge said: "I do take that into consideration, because I wouldn't go into the studio now and make some sort of weirdly paced noise-slash-prog album. No, I wouldn't do that, because that is not the forum that we're playing in. I set out already on [GHOST's 2010 debut] 'Opus Eponymous' to write songs that would sound great on a live stage, because I wanted it to be big rock music — I wanted it to sound like a rock band that you wanted to see on a stage. So making a new fifth album means that I'm gonna continue writing songs that will sound great on [an arena stage]."
He continued: "There are certain things that you pick out when you're playing bigger halls — that really fast songs usually don't work very well. Because they don't sound very good — it's big and echoey and boomy, so it works better if it's a normal pace. And I think most bands do that. You can pretty much hear that on any METALLICA or any IRON MAIDEN sort of band, that once they took the step from playing theaters and clubs and they started playing arenas, the music, they started slowing it down.
"I like to compare what I do to being a chef or having a restaurant or in the cinematic world," he added. "But if we compare it to the gastronomic world, where we're talking about making food and selling it, it's kind of like the difference between cooking for a friend at home and when you're cooking for the people. You have to have a different [approach]; otherwise you're gonna fuck that up. And you have to plan it in a different way. Some people might consider that 'bending over' or something. I don't — I find that that's what you do when you're playing… I wanna write cool rock music that I'm gonna perform on a stage. And you want it to feel good. It's like writing jokes — what's the point of writing jokes if they're not funny?"
Forge also clarified some of his recent comments about GHOST following in the footsteps of IRON MAIDEN and METALLICA, two bands that he thinks made a successful jump into the big leagues with their fifth LPs, 1984's "Powerslave" and 1991's self-titled effort (commonly known as the "black album"), respectively.
"What I wanna make clear is that I'm not saying — what some people thought was that I'm gonna make 'Powerslave' or the 'black album,'" he said. "That's not what I said. I said that we are right now — if you look at the circumstances, we are pretty much in a very similar position as they were before writing 'Powerslave' or the 'black album,' because they had taken the band to a certain point where it's sort of a make-or-break deal… I do feel that in order to elevate to not only [playing arenas] again but potentially doing something bigger, you need to deliver an album that is according to certain energies or whatever. When you get to a certain point in terms of public attention, when you release a record on a certain momentum, the expectations of that record from a public point of view is at a certain level. And that does not mean the amount of riffs you have or how good it is — it just means what kind of impact it does. How many people will, on release week, have an opinion on your record? And as of right now, for every record, it has been growing. So every time that we release something, more and more people think something about it. So upon releasing the next record, upon the momentum that has been built on this album cycle and all the previous ones, it's bigger than it ever has been before… And in many cities, countries, markets — whatever you wanna call 'em — we have now gotten into people's heads that if you wanna go see GHOST, we're gonna play at your ice hockey arena. So it's important that when you release a new record on that level that it still feels like that. 'Oh, GHOST just had a new record out. Of course we're gonna go see them at that dome.'"
Earlier in the year, Forge told Revolver that GHOST's latest album, 2018's "Prequelle", was "a little ballad heavy" and its follow-up will lean more in the direction of 2015's "Meliora" without repeating the same ideas.
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.