-Interview with Sascha T. of Ghosting-
by DJ Jason
DJ Jason: Everyone has been wondering for years, what have you been doing since 2004 when you left the music world? Also, have you done anything with music in secret since 2004?
Sascha: I’ve always been having these two hearts beating within me: one for the art, the other one for science. In fact, the one for the science beat much earlier, ever since I was a little child observing the stars. It was then Jean-Michel Jarre and his “Oxygene” album that fed my fantasies flying through the universe.
It seemed just natural having left behind my youth to switch back to what interested me most, which was indeed science, theoretical physics, in particular. I got my PhD in 2007, reproduced myself by having two children who keep me as busy as the conventional job I’m doing to feed them.
So, some might say my life has become quite boring. As far as I am concerned, I am living a pretty happy life. Science, in particular physics, is very exciting to me, the more I understand, the more excited I get.
Unfortunately, there’s no more time left for music. I used to do some “secret” music until my first child was born, about seven years ago. But since then, there’s just no more time left, and time is what you need to create art.
I really enjoyed the history of Ghosting that you wrote for your old website. Your description of that time period when you were just beginning was very accurate and untainted by trends or revisionism. Your description of your feelings was very honest, but your writing gave me the impression that you had lost your passion for the genre that you once loved. Has time softened your feelings from then? Do you have any new nostalgia for the past?
Interesting question, never thought about that. Indeed, I lost the passion partially. I used to be an idealist, as honest as you experienced my description of the history of Ghosting. And I was very young, 15 years old, almost a child, when the music business on the one hand and human betrayal on the other hand shattered my illusion of an idealistic world. I used to think of music as something pure, honest and nearly sacral and the same of musicians, artists. I was destroyed when I realised music business was just business and musicians are just humans, no angels.
That’s when I lost interest. However, I never lost interest in the music itself, nor in the genre itself. I went on, I expanded my horizon and now like more genres than goth only. But those goth artists who truly touched my soul – their music still does, after all those years as much as then.
Of course, there’s been passing so much time, so many generations have come and gone – the whole goth scene nowadays is so far away from what I knew. I really think, the only thing still connecting us is the preference of the colour black.
Do you get offers to perform in spite of your statement, “…never ever ask me to return to the stage”?
No, never again. I was even asked to perform on the 25. WGT or so, because Ghosting played on the first one, but I refused. I hated the stage, I hated the tours. This hasn’t changed.
How much of the end of Ghosting was due to the unavoidable and unpleasant music industry & business aspects of your pursuit?
There were actually two ends of Ghosting. The first one – about 1996 – was purely about the unpleasant music industry but even more about betrayal. Which was somehow connected, but the betrayal hurt much more than the industry. However, both together I just couldn’t take anymore.
I reunited the band in about 2001 and ended it two years later. That end was not about the industry at all. That was more about what I mentioned before, the fact that I felt more attracted by science than by music. Maybe because of my age. At the age of 27 you simply don’t think like a 14 year old.
Seeing Ghosting perform the last Ghosting show ever during Wave Gotik Treffen was one of the most memorably special music moments of my life. You performed with a traditional band and a drum machine. I was impressed with the way that the songs were blended together, and I was reminded of the old Sisters of Mercy concert bootlegs where medleys and cover songs were common. Had you continued doing Ghosting, would have this format been your direction?
Probably yes. I loved the Sisters of Mercy as a child. Andrew used to be like a hero, even more, like a God to me. I had a very vivid fantasy, which isn’t the worst thing to have as an artist or a scientist. Anyways, I loved the Sisters, Andrew, their style and their lyrics. So there’d been a very heavy influence on Ghosting, yes. But I also loved Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk as much as Mozart, Mahler, Beethoven, Bach and medieval music at a time, when there were no medieval bands. So, Ghosting was supposed to be 50% Sisters blended with the rest. That created Ghosting.
Thank you for telling us about some of your major influences. Ghosting has always had a wide spectrum of sounds and types of songs. I loved that you were not afraid to try new things and that so many of the songs were quite different from each other. Some of the unofficial works like the latin dancehall influenced Pop_Song are really remarkably open minded, and your cover songs span many styles. Can you tell us a little about your experimentation process?
Of course, I did always do some experiments, like “pop_song“. I never meant to publish something like it, but I have always been interested in incorporating different styles into my own one, so I needed to do even styles I didn’t like that much in order to find out whether there were useful elements for me or not. This might have contributed to Ghosting‘s unique sound. While others were 90% goth, punk or whatever, I tended to be 40% goth, 30% classical and the rest mixed up. In those days, there were just few fans liking such a mixture. I found out that in order to get successful, you need to get straight in terms of: the majority of fans NEED 90% of whatever. Mixtures they don’t understand.
At the last ever WGT show, I purchased some unofficial demos that you had for sale (some of which were CD replacements for old cassettes). Will any of those unofficial releases ever be put to press?
I don’t think so. I have them stored in cloud, but there are no plans to release them. What for?
Your band became very popular in American goth clubs over the years and your classics are still played in the better ones to this day. Did you ever consider touring overseas in the states or visiting a city for a special show back then?
Well, that’s a tough question. I spent half a year in the US when I was 14. I returned with mixed feelings, America is *very* different from Europe. I liked many things about your country and you as a people. Some other things I didn’t like. I knew that you need to have to be touring the US in order to get accepted as a successful artist here in Europe. But no, I didn’t really think of it. Mostly, because I hated touring, and the distance from Europe to America and the distances within America … well, you know what I mean.
Germany had such an amazing scene during the years that you were active. I truly loved it. What band did you enjoy touring with most? What was your favorite venue to perform in?
Interestingly, I experienced that scene as rather boring. I was interested in the London scene. London was my place to be, the UK artists were the ones for me to be admired. Coil, Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, Current 93, Death in June, The Sisters Of Mercy, The Cure, you know, all those almost or truly dead folks now. The German scene seemed to me like an epigone. Including Ghosting, by the way. Thus, I wasn’t very much interested in the Goth scene at that time.
I was much more interested in the Frankfurt Techno scene which was about to be evolving. That was something completely different and thus exciting for me.
To be honest, I don’t remember many bands I’d been touring with. Of course, I remember Das Ich, and I really liked Stefan and Bruno as persons. Really kind and very intelligent guys.
Are there any stories from your gothic music past that you would like to share? They can be professional or personal.
Sure, but I don’t want them to get published.
Are any of the early songs with Andreas Rudel that didn’t make the cut for the Secret Books cassette (1989) still in existence? For that matter, are there any remaining Ghosting songs that were never published or leaked to the internet ?
I think I’ve saved a few songs with Andreas, they should be stored in the cloud too. And yes, there are some songs that leaked to the internet, every now and then somebody writes me a message saying: “Hey, look, your song’s on YouTube” or God knows where.
There are a bunch of songs we’ve never published. Approximately 50.
You told me that Gossip’s in London was your favorite nightclub. Tell us about that time. Was it in 1994 when you were celebrating your success of Songs of the Fairyland, or were you there much earlier also? Were there any nightclubs that helped influence or direct your early evolution?
Gosh, I could (and maybe should) write a couple of books about that time. I first came to London long before Songs from Fairyland, when I was a very young teenager, half child and half … well, not really adult at all. A child hading been brought up in a small catholic village on the country side. That huge city, that crazy folks in the clubs felt like an awakening to me. When Andrew used to be a God for me, London used to be Heaven. Not heaven on earth, but truly heaven. In my fantasies.
Interestingly there was also a club named “The Heaven” which was also one of my favourite ones, as well as The Camden Palace.
It was the 80s. Punk was still alive (a little bit), 1st generation Goth was still present in the clubs mentioned and, well, it was very mystic time to an almost child.
So yes, it were precisely those clubs that influenced not only by their playlists and their ambience, but also by what I experienced there. Up to then, I thought clubbing was all about dancing and maybe drinking. I was quite suprised to learn that clubbing in *those* clubs meant much more.
Do you think that the internet, youtube and social media has been positive for your legacy? Do your fans contact you often?
Well, I am quite sure there’d be hardly anybody remembering Ghosting. Our sales weren’t that remarkable and we never gained that fame that e.g. The Sisters gained. And even their star (and with it the remembrance) is fading. Without the internet, who would remember Ghosting today?
Also thanks to the internet there are fans contacting me. I tend to answer most of their first requests, because I am really pleased my music is still being liked.
Hannover, Bad, 1993
What music are you listening to these days? Are there any new bands in the underground that you like?
I do listen to the 1st generation industrial bands (again). I still love Jean-Michel Jarre and Kraftwerk, I never stopped listening to them ever since I was 7 years old. However, there’s no goth band of the 90s or later I listen to, it’s just not my style. Strangely, I fell in love with Pink Floyd. I’ve always loved The Wall, but I’ve started listening to their other works lately and I can’t stop it anymore. I like some of Eminem‘s stuff, I consider him to be an American Punk caught in the body of a white rapper. I like the Southern Gothic style, which interestingly is also of America. But what I listen the most is pure ambient sound. No rhythm, no lyrics, no melodies, no notes. The closest thing to silence I could find. There’s this internet radio station, Soma FM, and its channel “Drone Zone“. Chances are very high, you’ll be listening to what I’m listening right now, because I listen to that channel most time of the day and evening.
But then, I have no more connection to the underground – neither in person, nor via magazines or the internet.
Is there anything that you would like to tell your fans?
Well, first of all, thank you so much for listening to my music. Some of the songs really came from my heart and are as honest as an artist can be. Lion King is one of them. Blood Ocean and Remain are other ones. Some other songs are crap, sorry for those.
However, if you’d like to have some life advice by a 45-year old who thinks he’s seen it all, it’s this: Do what you love! As easy, as simple, as trivial as this might sound, but you’ve got to find out what you really want. You will know you’ve found it when you love what you’re doing. And then: Just do it – as much, as hard, as great as you can. You will eventually have success, promised! It might take a long time, and there will be much frustration and failure on the path to success. But it will be worth it.
On the other hand: NEVER EVER get stuck doing anything you don’t love. I wasted a couple of years of my life doing things I hated. I felt it every morning I got out of bed, but I didn’t realise there’s always another path to go. Always. No excuses.