Ghost Ship Octavius

Ghost Ship Octavius are back with their new studio album “Delirium”, The band recently signed a record deal with Mighty Music as well. GSO’s guitarist and songwriter Matthew Wicklund talked to Grande Rock about the new album, the recordings and the new label deal among many other interesting things…
Ghost Ship Octavius band pic
Hi Matt, I’m glad to have you on Grande Rock once again. Your new album “Delirium” is magnificent indeed.
M: Hello, thank you for having me! I am very happy to hear that you like the new record!
Well, it’s been almost 3 years since your debut. What happened on the band’s camp in the meantime?
M: Since the release of the debut, we have been working hard to develop the band, especially in a live setting. We did a few regional North American Tours and one full North American Tour with Tyr and Orphaned Land. We also spent a large portion of this time writing and recording “Delirium”. It took nearly one year to record the whole thing, which was a bit frustrating but in the end, I am very happy with how it turned out.
Did you follow any timelines regarding the new album? Did you feel any stress of releasing it earlier or not?
M: Well, there were initial goals set to have everything tracked, mixed etc., but there were several unforeseen delays caused by personal issues which in turn caused some scheduling issues in the studio. But, those things needed to be taken care of, and once they were, we were back to work and finished as fast as we could. Also, we got offered the Tyr tour near the end of the recording process, so we had to take a four week break to make that happen. From here forward though, we will be releasing new material on a more frequent basis and will adhere more closely to proper schedules as we are more focused than ever and have teamed up with the awesome people at Mighty Music.
Well, once again you funded the album through a fund-raising campaign. Why did you prefer to do so for one more time and how did it work for the band’s own benefit at long last?
M: We were still completely independent at the time we decided to record “Delirium”, so we needed to turn to Crowd Funding to make it happen. It’s a great system that allows Independent Artists to get things started through preorders. It worked well for us and we are extremely grateful for the fans and supporters worldwide that were involved in the campaigns. It’s not that we necessarily preferred to go that route; it was more of a necessity to keep things moving forward. It is very rewarding and empowering to do it all this way and it’s also a lot of fun to build the band this way with the close interactions you develop with the fans. It is a tremendous amount of work however and you must be really dedicated to the whole process and really believe in what you are selling to make it work. The benefit for the band really was that it allowed us to maintain forward momentum, to keep growing our audience and to release new music to the world. There were no profits made or personal gain from the process, quite to the contrary, in fact. My biggest advice to bands considering crowd funding would be to very carefully budget your shipping and production costs. Guessing on these prices doesn’t cut it! A small error here and there multiplied by hundreds of sales can really put a big hole in the floor of the project!
You announced that you signed with Mighty Music and “Delirium” will be released on February 22nd, 2019? What happened and how did the deal with Mighty Music occur?
M: That is correct! We have signed a worldwide deal with Mighty Music. I think that after we self-released “Delirium” and it started getting noticed more by fans and the media, it naturally attracted the attention of some record companies. “Delirium” has been well received so far by the media, scoring high ratings by reviewers and even landed in the number 2 position in Aardschok’s albums of 2018. I think through this, GSO basically “proved itself” as being a real band to pay attention to and that we are not just a new band anymore and we are capable of producing solid material beyond the first album.
Hence the official release date of the album is September 21st, 2018 or February 22nd, 2019? Are both dates OK?
M: It was released through our company “Iceburn Multimedia” in limited quantities in September 2018 and then licensed to Mighty Music for a re-release worldwide moving forward. Now the album will receive proper distribution and promotion whereas before that was limited to the band’s reach. Technically, both dates are accurate but for most of the world, the February 22nd, 2019 date will stick. I hope that make sense!
What changes will the contract with Mighty Music bring to the band?
M: All good things really! This is a big step forward for us and will really help the band to grow and get us out on tour in more places and more often. We are very happy to have teamed up with a group of individuals that truly believe in what we are doing.
Did you follow the same songwriting recipe this time and which are the main differences and similarities between the new album and the debut?
M: In many ways it was the same process. I wrote the music for “Turned to Ice”, “Ocean of Memories”, “Saturnine”, “Delirium”, “Chosen”, “Edge of Time” and “Far Below” and did very clear, detailed and complete demos with all of the parts in place. Then they were handed to Van to create and record his drum parts and then to Adon to write and record his vocal parts. Adon did a similar process with the songs he contributed to the record. Once the demo versions felt complete, we were able to fairly easily take them into the recording studio and recreate them with precision. Overall, this album feels a bit more introspective and emotional than the previous one, which I think is very cool. The songs are just a reflection of how we were feeling at the time of writing. A snapshot of that time after the debut until now, if you will. “Delirium” feels a bit more progressive and adventurous to me. So, there should be some musical and technical growth evident there. We are all working constantly as musicians to grow, learn and better ourselves and I hope that shows in our work. The production is better and more interesting this time as well, I believe. The next record, I have already started writing and it is starting out more intense and heavy, bringing what I feel will be a very adventurous and darker chapter to the story. It’s all about having fun and creative expression to me. The challenges of bettering oneself and the simple satisfaction of creation!
What does the album’s title “Delirium” declare?
M: I feel that it is supposed to introduce the theme and sense of delusion and madness. It’s a very fun word to draw visual inspiration from as well.
Give us a hint about each track…
M: “Turned to Ice”: Heavy, dark, epic, catchy, this one’s got it all!
“Ocean of Memories”: Cinematic, ambient.
“Saturnine”: Dark, fast and heavy.
“Delirium”: Fast, punchy, catchy, heavy, straight forward and to the point.
“Ghost in the Well”: Feels very much like the title!
“Chosen”: Mid tempo, catchy, mosh pit ending.
“Edge of Time”: Introspective, hopeful and grand yet sad.
“Far Below”: Inspired by Pink Floyd. See if you can feel it.
“The Maze”: Playful use of odd meter.
“Bleeding on the Horns”: Makes you want to shake your ass.
“Burn This Ladder”: Somber and dark, personal.
Where did the recordings take place and who did the mixing, the production and the final mastering? Are you totally satisfied with the final outcome?
M: It was recorded mostly at Envisage Audio by Aaron Smith in Seattle where it was also mixed and mastered. I was also involved in the mixing and mastering process this time around with Aaron Smith as the main guy at the desk. Some guitar solos and bass were done in my home studio in Seattle and in Europe and drums were recorded in Van’s Studio in New York. I am very satisfied with the outcome and had a great time learning throughout the entire process.
What are your touring plans for 2019?
M: This Spring moving forward, we intend to tour as much as possible, focusing on Europe and North America first. After that, we hope to have the chance to play all over the world!
Which are your expectations from “Delirium” and what does the future hold for Ghost Ship Octavius?
M: I am very hopeful that the album will continue to do well around the world and that it will bring us more opportunities to grow and continue to create the GSO story.
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! How did you come up with the name GSO initially?
M: I am not actually familiar with this! Maybe it’s something I said jokingly related to the dramatic and magical imagery that we embrace as a band.
If you could “erase” one thing from modern music, what would it be?
M: Musicians without any musical education or ability. There’s a lot of stuff out there that I honestly find quite cringe worthy. But that’s just my taste I suppose!
Fill in the phrase… “Prog Metal wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
M: Creative and adventurous thinking.
Top sci-fi movies of any era?
M: I guess I am more into Science-Fact films or educational videos. If you want to really trip out, look up Quantum Entanglement, The Double Slit Experiment or the idea of Biocentrism.
Which do you consider to be the best female & male vocalist in metal history?
M: Warrel Dane and Ann Wilson.
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
M: I think I would go fairly far into the future to see if humanity ever becomes an intergalactic civilization. I am curious about what is left to be discovered and the secrets of the Universe.
If you had the opportunity to invite any famous person, living or dead, over for supper whom would you choose and why?
M: Dimebag because he was probably to coolest dude ever.
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
M: Third guitarist in early Arch Enemy. I love that style of metal guitar playing.
Finally, we’ve come to the end Matt. Thx for talking to Grande Rock. Say anything you feel like saying before we close. Take care, dude!
M: Thank you all for your support and interest in Ghost Ship Octavius! We are looking forward to a fun and busy future and we sincerely hope to see you all on tour very soon.