Smile Politely

We Have Ghosts are a breath of fresh air

Local post-punk duo We Have Ghosts are starting to really establish themselves in the local music scene with the release of their latest EP that is fittingly titled EP1. The opening track “Garden” starts off with a solid drum beat — the vocals start with a fairly deadpan tone before the guitar parts pick up and the emotional aspect of the song really comes through with chilling lyrics like “I need to hear that I can never come back home”. With tracks like “Garden” and “Choir Kids” We Have Ghosts have put forth a release that offers a new take on the more mainstream punk sound. The EP certainly has a DIY feel to it but not in a way that is over-bearing or noisy. The vocals and guitar melodies come through with just enough dirt on them to still make it really listenable but also enough to not betray the rawness of the recording. I had the chance of sitting down with We Have Ghosts and learning a little bit more about who they are.

We Have Ghosts consists of Bryan Patrick and Thomas Puglisi who have good friends ever since going to high school together back in New Jersey a number of years ago. Since making the move to C-U a year and a half ago they formed We Have Ghosts and played a few times locally at house shows and at Error Records before it closed down. With their newest release they decided to change things up — originally they had Patrick on guitar and Puglisi playing drums, but since then they acquired a drum machine, which allowed both Bryan and Thomas to play guitar.

Thomas Puglisi: The new setup allows us to collaborate a little bit more — before it was just me writing all the drum parts and Bryan writing all of the guitar parts. Now we are able to do some more interesting things melodically and rhythmically with us both being on guitar… if one of us comes up with something on guitar that we like then we will just show the other one and work it into a song from there.

SP: What was the recording process like for the EP?

Puglisi: We recorded the whole thing in our living room — we just blocked off a Saturday where we could record the whole thing at once. Some of those songs we have had been working on for six months or so – but we are always trying new things and experimenting with what sounds good.

SP: What is your songwriting process like?

Bryan Patrick: We write songs that we want to hear — we don’t just want to do super typical punk songs. When I write parts for myself I always write parts that are one level above what I can currently play — I give myself the challenge of having to play parts that force me to improve as a guitar player.

Puglisi: Lyrically, I don’t try to write about something — it’s less about me trying to tell a story and more about just trying to convey a feeling that I had at a certain point. Musically, we go with stuff that is fun to play.

SP: What has been the reception like since moving to C-U?

Patrick: We have felt super welcome here in C-U, we were able to play a couple of shows at Error Records before they closed down. Error Records closing down really sucked because now you kind of either have to do a house show or a bar downtown — which is fine but it was really nice having a venue like Error Records where local bands could play. All the local bands that we have played with have been really supportive and nice especially Motes who are absolutely incredible. Also, Single Player who I totally love.

SP: What bands influence you guys the most?

Puglisi: I am a huge fan of The National and I feel like they have a huge influence on the way I sing and the kinds of things I do lyrically.

Patrick: I really love Yo La Tengo and I am a huge fan of the way Ira Kaplan plays the guitar so when I am writing pieces for the guitar if I get something that sounds closer to Ira Kaplan than I am happier with it.

SP: What is going on with you guys looking forward?

Patrick: The way I look at this EP, or any release, is just as a stepping stone to the next one. Not that these are passive things that we want to forget but it really is just a snapshot of who we are right now, let’s go to the next thing and keep moving forward. I mean, I like this EP a whole lot and we are really proud of it but we are always looking to improve and become more focused on what it is that makes us unique. For every creative thing that I do, I can always look back and think of things that I could have done differently so I am really looking forward to continuing to make music and put out recordings.

We Have Ghosts will be playing at The Accord on March 22nd along with Grandkids, NE-HI, and Whitney.

Photos from We Have Ghosts’ Facebook and Instagram pages.

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