Ghastly Talks Lost Lands And Solidarity In The EDM Community In iEDM Interview
Everyone has that DJ who is extra meaningful to them. I started off as a dewy-eyed trance child (and still am) but since then, have branched out into other genres of music. My first foray into the bass side of EDM was through bass house and my first experience with bass house was through genre-bender, and ghost with the most: Ghastly.
On Friday night, the bass house producer headed down to Schimanski in Brooklyn to play a killer set alongside up-and-coming artists, Parker and Spock. David Lee Crow, better known by his stage name of Ghastly, took some time before his set to sit down with iEDM and answer some of our questions.
iEDM: This is your third time in NYC this year if I'm counting correctly. You played at Webster Hall, Electric Zoo and now you're here in Brooklyn. You just played at Lost Lands (so much FOMO) what was it like playing at an all bass festival?
David: It was awesome, it was a really awesome time. My only thing is that I wish I could've stayed the whole time. It was a really great environment that they created. Excision has created a masterpiece of a festival that I think is very essential for us right now. Because we have so many festivals that are so popular and so many people go to them. A lot of people don't know the artists and they go just because they want to party and have fun. And that's fine, that's totally fine but it's the specific fans that Lost Lands catered to. They were the fans who knew each and every individual act and knew all the songs, all bass heads, no egos. Everyone was there to have a blast and get to watch all their favorite artists. So I loved it. I think it's gonna be around for a very long time.
iEDM: I remember I was at Moonrise and in the middle of RL Grime's set, this guy ran up to me and was like 'who's this?' And I was like 'yo it's RL Grime' and he was like 'who's that?'
David: Welcome! Welcome you must be new here! *laughs*
iEDM: Did you have a favorite memory or moment at Lost Lands?
David: Oh everything around me was amazing. Playing in between two T-Rex skulls while 25,000 people were headbanging was pretty awesome. It was pretty cool. Looking out and seeing all the different dinosaurs, it was crazy. It's hard to pinpoint just one specific moment. It was one big blur of quality music. The whole thing was a highlight honestly.
iEDM: I know I'm definitely going next year! You recently did a benefit show in LA, Come Together, and the profits went to victims in Vegas and Puerto Rico.
David: It's incredible how we all come together in times of crisis, and especially this community. I see a lot of different events going on and a lot of them are based around our community. And our community has really pulled together so much and so much has been done. What little we can do is offer finances to people who've suffered something that finances could never compensate so it's incredible to see people really coming together in this time. Putting aside all the clutter and the day-to-day issues and realizing that we're still humans with human lives and that we have to come together at the end of the day no matter what. Like we all have different ideas and opinions and ways of achieving the same goal, but when it comes down to something like this, we always remember. It sets us back in our place and we realize it can just be over like that and you have to ask yourself 'do I want to spend my time hating people?'
iEDM: Exactly. Remembering what's important. It was incredible seeing DJs and ravers all coming together. I remember seeing in the EDC Family, people offering good vibes, prayers, money and all sorts of assistance to the victims. Our community is really awesome. Anyway, I personally loved your rise as a producer. Your comments about not getting comfortable or complacent really hit home. Do you have any advice for aspiring producers or anyone who wants to be a DJ?
David: Of course. Expect pain and expect difficulty. Expect doubt, expect all of those negative emotions and through those emotions you'll cultivate success because ignoring them is just gonna make it way more impactful when they finally come in. I've worked on Ghastly for like four years before it finally had good liftoff and we live in such an instant gratification nation (I guess you can call it that?) where if you start doing something people are like 'I've been doing this for two months, why don't I have a million followers yet?!' And well like everyone wants each other's attention while not paying attention to each other. It's so weird. It's not hard to imagine that it's very difficult to get people's attention in the first place. So expect difficulties and do something that'll make you stand out. It something works for one artist, it doesn't necessarily mean that it'll work for you. Every artist has their own personality and if you try to cultivate something off of their personality into your brand, it's gonna come off as inauthentic. So it's best to just be you. Expect problems, but treat them more as life saying "how bad do you want it?" It's a test.
iEDM: Definitely, if you're willing to go the extra step you'll do whatever it takes. I know that you've had a lot of hardships and hurdles to overcome.
David: Oh yeah, I think I went down to $0.00 four or five times? And outside of that, I've had like $5 in my bank account maybe twenty times? So it's definitely not easy, but would I do it again? Of course.
iEDM: Anyone who would live out of their van wants their dream. So much props. And I love your sound, I could be on any festival grounds and I could hear five seconds of your set and I would know it's you playing. If we were to scroll through your music library, what would we find? Who do you listen to?
David: I listen all over the place. Lately I've been listening to mostly newer artists, like Parker and Spock playing tonight, I've been listening to them a lot, I really like what they do. And there's so much great talent coming up right now and that's where I put a lot of my attention right now. These are people trying new things, trying to make their way instead of a lot of big name acts that already have the big name and they don't have to push forward the creative effort and strive that a lot of new artists do. They're already there, so why do they have to try? So that's why I've been focusing more on new artists. But I mean I listen to just about anything, you can name a genre and I'll name a song I love in it. That's just how it's always been with me. Even some genres I didn't like, because I didn't like what they stood for. I think there's only one genre that I despise right now and that's YouTube hip hop people like the Cash Me Outside girl (who I refuse to link). These people are getting millions and millions of views, followers and dollars and it's like for what?! And I'm not bashing them, they're simply a product of our time period, but it just comes to what music stands for (for me) it's supposed to be an expression of oneself and not something just to get you viral views. And cash me outside girl is viral views central and it's whatever, makes people happy but not my thing.
iEDM: Definitely, I can imagine how it must be frustrating. As an artist when you have to try so hard to get known and then you have some chick like cash me outside and she gets so much attention.
David: Exactly! And there's incredible artists working their asses off and nope. They don't get anything. Cash me outside? Record contract!! It's unbelievable.
iEDM: On the topic of aspiring artists, is there anyone that you're keeping an eye on? Anyone you want to shout out to?
David: Yeah there's this girl Iris, she's fucking awesome. She makes great hard bass music. Her and Ducky as well. They're crushing it right now. And Spock and Parker (Pock and Sparker?) and they're awesome, they're doing great things. And Medasin. He's not really up and coming, (already pretty established in the scene) but he's doing great things. I love his work.
iEDM: And you dropped some new tracks in your Lost Lands set, any new EPs or projects that will be coming out soon?
David: Yeah, I'm in the middle of writing an album, almost done, very close. I'm gonna release one of the tracks this month and I was gonna release one of my scarier harder songs but given our current time, I wanted to release something more beautiful so I'm releasing something called I'll wait. Which is 90 bpm, totally different style. I wanted to drop something that's more of a band-aid for our time now. I feel like that's what music does, it's an expression of the current state and time of our community. And I feel like that's the one I want to release first, it's gonna catch a lot of people off guard because they're gonna be expecting all this bass house shit and it's gonna be like nope!