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
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,"
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 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
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
"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."
Since 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."