I Am GhostThe future is clear for I Am Ghost
By Naughty Mickie
Photos Courtesy  http://www.iamghostmusic.com/promo.html
 
Long Beach  rockers I Am Ghost formed in 2004 and released their label debut, "Lover's Requiem," on Epitaph in October 2006. This success was born of a combination of hard work, talent and luck, but it might not have even happened.
 
I Am Ghost's lineup includes vocalist Steven Juliano, vocalist and violinist Kerith Telestai, vocalist, pianist and bassist Brian Telestai, guitarists Gabriel Iraheta and  Timoteo Rosales and drummer Ryan Seaman. Their music touches genres ranging from goth, emo, punk, alternative and more, so it appeals to a wide group of fans, but let's start at the beginning.
 
"I was in another band called The Silence and we were touring for a long time," Juliano starts. "I was frustrated with the way the music was going and the tours weren't doing really well. One thing led to another and I quit the band and I flew home. I was looking through some poems and artwork and came across a short story, it had a phrase: `Do not forget me, it will not be the same, I am ghost' and I thought that would be a cool name for the band."
 
Juliano didn't really think he'd be in another band, but for fun he created a My Space page and from there it snowballed-- luring a complete group of musicians and establishing the first steps to I Am Ghost's path.
 
"When I was 19 or 20 was when I got into bands. Growing up I was more like an artist, the comic book nerd, I would draw these comics all the time in my room.That's what I came to L.A. to do was to be an animator, I was interning at Disney and Hanna-Barbera and taking life drawing classes in college," Juliano said.
 
From Santa Cruz, he  has performed in several bands, including a ska reggae group. Juliano attended Pierce College while interning at Disney and Hanna-Barbera and has been a storyboard artist for movies.
 
"My first job was doing `Tales of the Crypt' storyboards for HBO," Juliano recalls.
 
I ask him about his hobbies and if he drew while on the road.
 
"I can't draw while driving because it makes me nauseous. The same with reading. I can't read a book in the car, I get really sick, I don't know what it is. I haven't had time to sit and draw like I want to. Any time we get some days off I start drawing again," Juliano shares, adding that he likes to relax, hang out with friends and go to shows. "I'm not like this crazy guy that goes out and parties and goes to clubs, I don't do that kind of stuff to be honest."
 
I Am GhostI Am Ghost has received accolades for their creativity, so of course I want to learn about their creative process.
 
"The set up is kind of weird," Juliano responds. "The band writes all of the music first on guitar, bass, drums and violin and then I do everything last. For this album ('Lover's Requiem'), I took everything to a coffee shop down the street and we recorded on demo format first so I could listen to it with my headphones. I sat at a coffee shop from literally nine in the morning to seven o'clock at night, just sit there writing. I made things up as I sat there. I'd write a whole song lyrically and then go, 'I hate this' and crumple it up and start over. Some songs came to me pretty quickly, but some songs took quite a while because I didn't want it to be just about relationships, I wanted a little more core on this album. We had a lot of pressure on this album too because it's our first full-length for Epitaph and there's a lot of hype on our band from when we first started. We didn't want to disappoint a lot of people."
 
 And what about the music scene?
 
"The reason why we have a pretty large fan base around Southern California is because we fit in so many different scenes," Juliano states. "We're not just hard-core so only the hard-core kids will dig us, we're not only punk rock for all the punkheads, we appeal to a lot of different scenes. At our shows you'll see hard-core kids, punk kids, goth kids, the plain rock kids who listen to the radio they like us. That's what I always wanted, a genre of music that appeals to everybody, not just stick ourselves into one niche and never get out of it. We don't want to be like that so it worked out."
 
The Internet has been good for I Am Ghost, as MySpace and Pure Volume were key to getting their music across the country, but that's not all. I ask Juliano to what did he attribute the band's success.
 
"A lot of luck, but a lot of hard work," Juliano replies. "I think there's enough luck in the world where it can get you somewhere, but the music has to speak for itself at the end. If you just plain suck you're not going to get the fan base that we've got and our live show and the craziness that we get.
 
"A lot of it is hard work. When we first started we were burning a lot of CDRs and passing out a lot of free stuff. When we first started I was paying for a lot of the stuff with my own money, I was buying stickers which cost me quite a few dollars, I was buying a lot of CDRs and orange shirts and giving them out for free. I'd spend Saturday nights just burning CDs so for the show the next day we'd have CDs.
 
"A lot of bands don't get it," Juliano continues. "It's a lot of do it yourself when you first start. A lot of bands ask me how did you get to this point? I tell them, it's not brain surgery, but it takes a lot of sacrifice. And a lot of people don't want to sacrifice their time, their girlfriends, their party nights. For us, we had to sacrifice everything. Our band practices were for Friday and Saturday nights, which is everybody's party nights. We didn't party, we were practicing in the studio."
 
I Am GhostSince then, I Am Ghost has been on the Vans Warped Tour and has toured with bands such as A Static Lullaby and The Audition. I wonder if the band is surprised with their success.
 
"Yeah, I was in three bands before this and we never got signed and we never got the following of this band after three shows. We were signed to Epitaph after our fourth show ever. I'm surprised, but I'm not," says Juliano. "Some people may think I'm cocky, but you come across a few of these types of musicians only once in your life and you connect and the music connects and it works. Everybody connect when we write, lyrically, musically, it comes together. I don't know if it's spiritual or not, I just think it just happened for us."
 
Find out when you can catch I Am Ghost in your town at www.iamghostmusic.com
 

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