Interview with producer Ghosts of Paraguay
Under his Ghosts of Paraguay monicker, David Templeman has produced some of the most thoughtful, evocative pieces of music we’ve ever heard. Self-taught on the guitar and piano, David opted to go his own way and ignore traditional music theory rules to focus on developing a sound that is truly unique.
Having explored other genres like house, trance and later drum n bass, David has never been afraid to push boundaries and his 2011 album Silent Souls was testament to that. Now, three years later, and he’s just released his followup album, Ember, which we are very fond of here at dubstep.co.uk.
Listening to this kind of music, you begin to conjure up a strange kind of imagined bond with the person who’s produced the tunes, so we wanted to find out who this chap is and what makes him tick. Enjoy, then, our Q&A interview with Ghosts of Paraguay.
Congratulations on the new album. You must be really proud of it. How did the tracks on the album come together and how do you see it compared to Silent Souls?
Ember is actually a collection of works that I had written over the space of a few years whereas Silent Souls was all written with an album in mind.
I view Ember as Silent Souls successor and I think it demonstrates my wider interest in musical genres.
Why did you decide to call it “Ember” and and what about the titles of the tracks? They seem to paint a picture of love lost, melancholy, mistakes, yearning. Is there a story there?
There is always a story in every song and every collection of songs. The story is everyone’s story, it’s the listener’s own story of love, loss and melancholy. I think that’s why people relate to it, because everyone has a tale of love and loss.
A young violinist by the name of Tahli Elsner appears on a couple of your tracks. Who is she and how did that collaboration come about?
Tahli is an extremely talented and young Australian Violinist. I met her whilst she was busking on Chaple street in Melbourne, I gave her my details and that was it.
As someone who’s self-taught on piano and guitar, how has your relationship with those instruments changed when it comes to making your music?
I don’t think my relationship with these instruments has ever changed, that’s whats enabled me to be as much in love with them now as I was when I first watched someone play.
The production process has drastically changed. When I first started I used a DOS based tracking program on a 386 computer. Basic samples that you could place in tracks and if you wanted effects you had to literally program in the code for them. It was hard work and presumed a great deal of technical knowledge. Nowadays its very simple to produce a song, too simple if you ask me.
You’ve worked with some interesting vocalists over the course of your career. Who did you enjoy working with the most and why, and who would you like to work with in the future?
I am quite picky with my vocalists so that the ones I do work with I know I can trust implicitly to add to the song and not just lay a vocal track. The best vocalists are the ones that need no direction and all the ones I have worked with over the years are absolutely exemplary at what they do and bring a whole new love for a track I’m working on.
Do you still have any interesting in drum n bass?
I have to admit that I think the DNB scene has lost its way in recent years. I’ll always love it because that’s what I grew up on, but as for right now, I don’t really listen to it much anymore.
Do you have much interest in DJing or playing live shows?
I used to back in old days. I don’t really think there is much of an audience for Live Ghosts of Paraguay. Maybe I’m wrong but I prefer the thought of people listening to it on their own — it makes it more personal.
You’ve worked with vocalist Aidan Dullaghan again on this new album. You two must work really well together. How did you meet and how did that working relationship take shape?
I have known Aidan since I was 14 and he is actually my best friend. We only started working together properly with Silent Souls, but we have both been keen musicians for many years. I think after knowing someone for 16 years you have to get on quite well.
Did you get to do the artwork for the album yourself with Ember? What’s the story behind that image?
I did the Ember artwork myself. It was nice actually because I felt I could portray how I feel about the album visually. Unfortunately there isn’t really a story behind it but I do think its an accurate representation of the feel of the album.
What’s the feedback for Ember been like from the fans?
Very good so far, I think some are a bit taken back by the difference between Silent Souls and Ember but overall I think I have gained a few more fans from the broader range in Ember.
If someone asked you to play them one track from your back cat that you are most proud of and that means the most to you, what would you play them and why?
Start Again would be the song I am most proud of. I think both the composition and Aidan’s vocal performance really illustrate the best of our abilities. It’s not the most successful of our work together but its by far the one I’m most proud of.
And finally… what’s next? Will Ghosts of Paraguay continue, or is there something else you’d like to do, a new direction, a new spin on things?
I’m not sure Ghosts Of Paraguay will persist as it is now for very much longer. I am moving much more towards SYNC stuff and the small amount of free time I have these days is usually spent working of film and TV briefs.
I will always write and make music but I think Ghosts Of Paraguay should be left as a point in time that every listener can refer back to. I don’t like the idea of dragging things out, I think it dilutes the love people had for it in the first place.