The Black Ghosts Are Morbid Fun

It’s 2 p.m. in New York, which means it’s 11 a.m. in Los Angeles, and the Black Ghosts’ DJ Theo Keaton (formerly of the Wiseguys) sounds tired over the phone. Understandably, of course, because it’s the night after he wrapped up the Black Ghosts’ US tour, and it’s hours before he and singer Simon Lord (formerly of Simian) hop on a plane back to home to London. Keaton says the duo hopes to get back to working on their next album without the stress of the road. “We’ve been touring so much this year that effectively the time to be creative has been pretty small,” Keaton said. “So, we definitely need to take a break.”

Keaton rhapsodizes over the phone about his new hard-to-find additions to his horror film collection that have titles he says are so obscene, he’d rather not share. The occult, however, is not a new obsession for either Keaton or Lord, or of their families. At a young age, Keaton was, well, forced by his parents to watch horror movies. Keaton’s godfather directed “Hammer House of Horror” movies, which led to his early fascination with such films. His childhood home was adorned with arcane symbols his family had found over the years, and an old cemetery lay nearby. Lord was also familiar with the supernatural from an early age. His grandmother, Madeleine Dring, was a music hall satirist and considered a psychic. When asked how his less than traditional upbringing influenced his music, Keaton refutes the question by saying his childhood wasn’t “particularly weird.” “I myself didn’t come from a musical background. It’s something I found myself falling into as a teenager.” Keaton said. “I’m kind of an anomaly in my family. It’s interesting. All of my family is creative in a visual way, and that’s what I always thought that was what I was going to do. I thought I was going to be in design or painting, but I took to music.”


At age 16, Keaton bought his first pair of turntables. Twenty years later, those same turntables still work. But you won’t see him playing them at the Black Ghosts’ live shows. While most DJ sets stick simply to mixing the tracks themselves, the Black Ghosts go beyond where most DJ’s have gone before. Both Keaton and Lord combine their respective talents while not infringing on one another. Keaton DJs while Lord overlays tracks on his laptop and sings live. It’s a consensual music relationship made in Internet heaven. Keaton and Lord had tracks laid out before they even met; the duo paired through mutual friends and digitally exchanged tracks over the web. “We have very clear roles, and that’s the way it was set out from the beginning,” Keaton said. “I would make a bunch of tracks and send them to Simon, and he would pick the ones he wanted to write to, and he always wrote what he was inspired to write. I didn’t want to change any of that, and he didn’t say ‘Oh, that snare drum is very weird.’ We both just did our job properly.”

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