Ghostemane is an independent artist who has self-released more than a dozen albums, mixtapes and EPs — spanning hip-hop, black metal, hardcore, noise and other genres — racking up hundreds of millions of streams and YouTube views. His latest album, N/O/I/S/E, came out in 2018 and was recently pressed by Triple B Records on limited-edition vinyl.
I want to make something that lives beyond me.
What happens in this lifetime has never been that important to me. What happens for generations beyond, what happens when I'm gone — that's what I give a fuck about. When everything is dust and howling winds kick memories of fallen cities across our ravaged earth, I want faint screams of my music to echo into infinity.
The way I see it, the world is burning, and there are three types of people: those who try to stop it, those who do nothing but sit and watch, and those who report on it. I'm not the man who sold the world or set it aflame, I'm just here to report on it as it tears itself apart, a reflection of the endless dark as the tower falls and we all come crashing down.
When I recorded N/O/I/S/E, I wanted to make music that felt free and true. I stand behind the idea that art needs no explanation; words are clumsy and can be misinterpreted, detracting from art's intangible qualities ... the emotions chords and noise create, the visceral sensation of a film's editing, the depth a still frame can contain. I dug deep inside my brain and bones and made an album that dealt with every ounce of torment I'd ever felt, every scourge visited up on me and so many others. N/O/I/S/E is its own language, the bleeding tongue of pain and pity, the howl of horror so deep down that it loses all sight of light and earthly sounds. I'm the sound of the world tearing itself up from the inside out because it can't go on like this one more minute. I created something from nothing, the fruit of suffering from the hissing, rattling catacombs of my brain.
The end of the world is an opportunity and we've all got a choice. I choose to make something, to create artifacts that survive in the smoldering rubble. I want to light the way forward — when famine wracks the earth, when our diet is dust, when only the skeleton of society remains. I want to build something that lives past the apocalypse into whatever new world forms from the flames that light our forests on fire, the cold that threatens to shut down our cities more every year, the storms that make a mockery of concrete and steel, the power brokers just trying to endlessly extort every pound of flesh with each fleeting second of breath.
I made N/O/I/S/E without limitation, pulling from every genre I've ever loved, ripping sounds to their fucking bones and putting them back together into twisted effigies. I set my soul on fire, screaming into a fucking microphone in the dark, alone, shouting into the abyss of my own brain. I sang, I rapped, I snarled, I shrieked until my throat gave out, knowing full well I'd have to do it all again every night on tour when I finally finished this thing (unless it finished me first). I knew every single second of it like pulsing veins on the backs of my hands.
You probably know some of my heroes, they're not hard to find. They're the architects, the nomads that paved the path for people like me who see the plastic mask of polite society and want to rip it off and expose what's really underneath. Nine Inch Nails. Slipknot. Gesaffelstein. Front 242. Outkast. Three 6 Mafia. Darkthrone. Hivemind. Korn.
Artists who never gave a fuck, who cut their teeth by being told no.
YOU'RE TOO LOUD.
YOU'RE TOO ABRASIVE.
YOU'RE TOO WEIRD.
YOU'RE TOO YOU.
N/O/I/S/E rejects all that bullshit. N/O/I/S/E is rap, metal, industrial, techno, ambient and acoustic. It's a speedball of every sound and idea I've ever had, an occult dystopian nightmare pried from deep inside my chest, sent to you covered in blood. I didn't hold back anything. I think different genres are like paints, different hues and colors for expressing different ideas and emotions. So if I feel something, I follow that. I find the sound that fits that feeling and I push it out of me, even if it's imperfect, even if it sounds "bad," even if you can't stand it. If it rings with my truth — if it sounds like how I feel — then it goes on the fucking record. End of story.
I made N/O/I/S/E for anyone that has ever felt alone or lost, for the people that feel like this world has nothing left for them or never had anything for them at all. I want you to turn it up as loud as you can till all you feel is the sound and you forget about whatever gets you down, even if it's just for a moment in time. I want you to come to the shows and know you're not alone, see kids who look like you and people who don't resemble you at all and know that there's a whole ocean of human beings out there who feel like you do.
Your pain isn't yours alone, your cross isn't just yours to bear.
We all feel the crushing weight of the universe, the random cruelty, the endless hurt. When I come to your city, I'm there to remind you that the world might be fucking burning, but we're all in it together — and if we all realize how powerful we are, how free we can be, we can build something better for each other before the whole thing comes crashing down completely.
When you're truly free, you make what you want, you do what you want, you speak your mind and you live without limitation. Do no harm, but don't harm yourself by holding back who you are. That's the fucking game, that's this whole project. Ghostemane is a projection of a free spirit, a flame that burns across dimensions and opens gateways, that will carve a scar into the earth to remind future generations what it meant to make something without compromise, to be truly free with every breath of my fucking existence.
I'm going to keep making things for myself and you, keep laying the trail for people looking for another way to live — to give purpose to what they do. I keep my circle close, I move how I want when I want, make what I want. Our choices are all we have, our independence is our most unique gift — it's the thing only you can control, even through pain and torment. It's the antidote. I can't give you the cure, I can't tell you how to live your life. I can give you ideas, reflect this world as I see it and hope you plot your own course to a free, true life. I've planted the seeds, in my music and in these pages. They might take you years to decipher. That's the work of freedom, the burden of independence. The words printed on these pages, the codes that follow, it's all part of the frame I'm building. These aren't meant for everyone to crack, but those special few that do will find more artifacts to aid in their self-discovery.
I make music to exorcise the man-made demons festering in my brain and bones. If I help you get rid of yours in the process, I did my job.