Like a passionate anomaly, Ghostly Beard creates sensitive lyrics while maintaining a wish to help other Indie artist in their creative endeavors. The brainchild of Patrick Talbot, Ghostly Beard remains an artist garbed in mystique and mystery, unknown by sight to the world in hopes that knowing his music without prejudice of identity will prove a powerful experience in the enjoyment of his artistry.
His full sounding, finely produced, jazzy melodies are inflamed with an array of vibrant tones, and his lyrics are embodied with fragile and relevant topics. His newest single, "The Love In Your Eyes", set to be released February 2, is a prelude to his thoughtful album, "Inward". An album very personal and close to his heart, he promises to introduce melodic rhythms, compelling hooks and opulent lyrics. His captivating sexy jazzy sonic revelations draw the listener in, leaving them highly addicted to his effervescence.
I was privileged enough to speak with Ghostly Beard referencing his philosophies, musical reasoning, his future endeavors and some surprising conversation. I found him to be well spoken, sonically elegant, destined to create, and a really nice person....
So no one in the music world including fans and followers have seen your face......
Not showing my face is doing me more service than anything. It wasn't really meant to be that way at first, but it started out like this and people have been playing the game. There are people actively trying to find a picture of me on the internet, and they won't find it but it's kind of fun. I'm having fun with it. Perhaps it's a little bit difficult to promote myself in some ways because some people expect to have my face on my website or on articles, and stuff like that. In the end it's my message. It's about saying just forget the face, forget the image, just listen to the music. I hope that people will do that.
That's actually a good message.
At first it was about thinking that I don't really fancy putting my face on my website and things like that. I found this really cool icon with the logo that I'm using. It looks like a beard, it looks like a mask, like a ghost, like anything you want basically. I thought that's cool, I can use that. So I started using that and putting all sorts of images of shadows on my website... because that's what I am. I'm an indie musician, and no one knows about me, and I'm basically invisible. I'm invisible in the grand scheme of the music business. I thought maybe some people will be curious enough to check out what I do.
If I show myself suddenly the mystery is gone. I like that there is some mystery. It's always disappointing when the mystery is gone and you finally get to see what's behind it. It's always disappointing. So I don't want to disappoint people, so I won't show my face.
So where is your accent from?
I'm French. I'm actually from France. I live in Montreal now. I migrated about 12 years ago, but I'm really from the south of France. I'm from a little town on the French Riviera. It's near the Italian border, as a matter fact you can walk to the border. That's where I was living most of my life. I think Montreal is a cool place because it's kind of a blend between European culture and the North American culture. I like that. It's bilingual as well and they are very much into multiculturalism. I'm French, but I'm from Italian descent, I married a British woman and we adopted a child from China. I like being multicultural without being open to the world, and Canada is a great place for this. You live in New York, right?
Apparently when they film movies a lot of them are done here because it's cheaper and it looks a lot like Brooklyn or the Bronx. Some of the places here look a lot like that. They do a lot of American production here.
Let's talk about your new single.
The new single is called "The Love in Your Eyes". That’s the second song on the album. It's a special one for me. It's called "The Love in Your Eyes", and you could think that it's a love song. It is a love song in a way because it's dedicated to my mother. I live here in Canada but all of my family is still in France. So I go back to visit from time to time. The last time I visited, it was in 2012 I think, my mother was in a retirement home and she was suffering from dementia. When I came to visit her she didn't really recognize me, she didn't recognize my daughter and it was really hard for me because when I left I knew that it would be the last time I would ever see her. So when I came back to Canada it was really hard, and a few months later she died. So that song is really for her and it's basically how I couldn't see the love in her eyes anymore, and that really affected me.
Awww, that is really very sad.
You can understand this song as a different kind of love song, but that's the real story behind it. I'm old enough not to be writing songs about first love, so I write songs about what I experience at my age, which is some sad stuff. There is some good stuff as well. So it's all part of life. That's what I write about, that's what I love. I like that songs can have many meanings depending on how you perceive it. That's what makes music great.
When did you become a musician and decide upon a musical career?
I suppose it started when I was eight years old. My parents were into classical music and into musicals as well. I grew up to know all about musicals and I was a big fan of "The Sound of Music". I was in love with Julie Andrews, and I still am. I was listening to that kind of thing, but I have older brothers as well. They were listening to rock music of the time, The Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and all those bands. The first thing they made me listen to was, "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin. I remember it was very vivid.
From "The Sound of Music", to this was quite a shock really. It really opened my mind to everything that was out there. And I still think that the music that I do now is somewhere between "The Sound of Music" and rock. I have a broad range of things. By the age of 14 I started playing guitar. My brother was in a rock band and I got the bug. I was sneaking into his room and started playing his guitar. I learned from all kinds of methods and I was really interested in the sound and the recording. I was interested in the records as opposed to the performing part of music. I was interested in how they make the sounds and what happens in the studio, and that kind of magic. I was really fascinated by that. My goal was to be a sessions musician. I wanted to be a studio musician more than anything so I learned every kind of style. I learned every kind of genre I could put my hands on. I started learning fingerpicking and jazz, all kinds of jazz. I was learning from books and tapes and cassettes. I really wanted to do that and I was doing nothing but that. I did about 8 to 10 years of practicing. So I was getting quite good, but I didn't really have any opportunities in the south of France. There was nothing happening no real studio work. I should've gone to Paris but my parents weren't really having any of that. So I ended up doing other things. I went into computer engineering because I was interested in the synthesizers. That's why it was interesting to me, to know about computers. So you could program synthesizers and that was great. I was really doing a lot of recording from that period.
Technically it was good, I could basically play anything. Up until the age of 30 when I stopped doing music I was capable of doing everything. I married at the age of 30 and we had some rough times. I lost my father, and my wife lost her parents roughly at the same time. We lost our jobs. Then she had ovarian cancer so she couldn't have children and we started doing the process to adopt a child. So we adopted a child in China and that wasn't that easy. Then we moved to Canada to find a place that was socially better, and find a job as well.
So for roughly 15 years I didn't touch an instrument. I didn't have the drive anymore and I didn't have the energy. It was still in the back of my mind, it has always been. I was still listening to music and I was thinking that one day I would get back to it. It took that amount of time to get back to it. It was only about since 2011/12 that I finally got stable enough here to make myself a home studio and start recording again. One thing that is important to me is that basically through all that time I lost my technique. I kind of played the way I was playing when I was 14. But at the same time as much as I've lost a lot of technique, I actually gained a lot of insight on how to write music and how to arrange music. I am more into simple things. I was very much into jazz fusion and jazz rock and progressive rock, and things that were quite complex. But it was all showing off basically. It was showing off techniques and it was not from the heart and soul.
When I came back to it I was much more limited technically but at the same time I thought of trying to reach deeper into the writing I do, reach into writing more thoughtful, trying to find the right notes at the right time, and discover the best sound. So this is what I'm doing now. At the same time each note is coming from somewhere. It's not just there because it can be. It's there because it means something. This is the kind of maturity that I gained from perhaps not having played for that long, and coming back to it from a different perspective. I'm old enough now to see it as a gain more than a loss. I'm quite happy with what I'm recording now. I know that I can record anything that I want, and that’s what is important to me. So there you have it...
Is your current soon to be released your first attempt?
No it's actually my third one. I released the first EP in June. Then I released an album in October, and this is going to be my second album and my third release. This is one I've actually always wanted to release. The first one was very much progressive rock oriented. The second was jazz, because I wanted to show that it's in my background.
I detect a lot of jazz within your music.
Yeah there is a lot of jazz in my music because it's part of my background. It's music that I have been listening to and playing for years. I can't play just a simple major chord. There is something missing from me. Not that it sounds bad, it just sounds like it's missing something, so I need to add that 7th or that 9th. I need to have that because it makes it sound richer, so yeah there's a bit of jazz in everything I do. Even though it's not jazz, people who are jazz purists are not going to like it. Coming from all these years of listening to various things, I can't say I'm into hip-hop or rap, it's not my thing. It's too new for me. I love indie music because there is so much variety. Every day I'm listening to something new and it gives me a new perspective. I love that.
Do you have a song that is perhaps your favorite or that you're most proud of?
I think the first one in the album. It's called, "How Does It Feel". It's really what I'm saying. I'm invisible, and that’s what I am basically. But at the same time I think it's deep enough yet accessible enough. I don't want to go into too much complicated music anymore. I know that a lot of people are into progressive rock. It doesn't matter. I like music that has some depth, but also something that has some kind of immediacy. I think in this, I've managed to do that. It's a simple song but it builds to the kind of sound that I like. It is really quite warm and I really made it so that it sounds like more of the 70s music than perhaps some of the music of today. My target listeners are people my age. It's people who have some background from the 70s to the 90s and all of that music. Not everyone will like it. My daughter who is 16 likes it, but it's because she's my daughter. She is listening to all sorts of pop music. Some of that is great, but some I listen to and feel I've heard it 1000 times.
Is your daughter musical?
Yeah, she's a big Broadway fan and loves it whenever we can we come to New York and go to musicals. That's what we love to do. She's been in dance class since she's four and lately she's been taking singing lessons and done theatre as well. But we will see how it goes. I want to support her because I'm all for the performing arts. It's a great life, and if you can manage to live from it, it's great. I want her to pursue her dream. The most important thing in your life is to do what you love.
So how many songs will there be on the album?
There are 10 songs. The first recording was called "Infinite", the second one was called "Invisible", and this one is more personal so it's called, "Inward".
What inspires your song writing and what method do you use to write?
Usually it's music first. A melody or a cord progression, whether with guitar or keyboard. Something that is really simple but that I think can grow. Something that has some depth. When I get that I will record that and listen to it. I will live with it for a few weeks. I will see if it sticks or not. If it sticks then usually I will add some new ideas on it, some counterpoints. So it can take quite a while from that idea to have something that I think is worth recording. I do everything myself. The only thing I don't actually play is drums but I record all the patterns on my computer. I will try any kind of sound....I'll try anything but the kitchen sink. Sometimes even the kitchen sink. Then I'll start mixing and mastering. I've learned a lot about mixing and mastering. I've bought a computer and everything I could to record. I learned from listening and critiquing others. It helped me learn to define the kind of sound I like and how to get that sound. More and more I was able to find my likes and dislikes in the arrangement and the production, and find my own style. I'm not a very experienced audio engineer but I know enough to get to the sound I want.
Is there anything that we haven't covered that you'd like to add?
I need to tell you what my goal is. It might sound a little bit weird. I never show my face, and I think that I'm not going to get famous or earn a lot of money from this. Basically it's not my aim and I don't gig as well. I'd have to put a covering over me and then play all of the instruments at once. It would be very difficult. It's never been my thing, playing on stage. What I want is somehow to get recognized as an artist and producer and also somebody that can help other indie artists. I follow a lot of indie artists and I try to help them as well and promote them. I like it and sometimes I hear things, like a good song but the sound is shit. I would love to be able to help them in the production and in the promotion as well. I'm all for trying to promote other artists. So somehow this is what I'd like: to be recognized as someone who can help the artists get a better sound and to get out there basically. That's my goal. Of course I I want to share my music, but in the end it's not about me. What I am is not important. In the end it's the music that is important to me.
Written by Eileen Shapiro
I work with Jimmy Star and am a NY Times best selling author and rock star journalist....currently write for Get Out Mag, PureM, Classic Pop, Huffington Post, and several others....I write pop culture interviews with well established talent and up and coming great talent...look forward to working with you....