INTERVIEW: Sorry Ghost

Date:

Described as “optimistic emo,” Sorry Ghost is a refreshing pop punk band who look for positivity in the midst of sadness.  The band just released their debut album, The Morning After, and told us all about what it was like to create the album, treasured memories they have together, and how much love they have for their fans. 

Photo by Malarie Zaunbrecher

Sorry Ghost is (from left to right):
Tyler Hernandez – drums
Matthew Polito – guitar, vocals
Daniel Anton – vocals, bass

MM:  How did you all meet?
Daniel:  I met Matt back in high school and knew he played guitar, but we didn’t really start chatting until our freshman year of college when we sat next to each other in an American History class (a super early working name for the band was Dr. Frost, since that was our professor).  I told him I wanted to start a loud, fast punk band, and he was on board.  Over time, our sound has definitely evolved, but at 18, we were angry at the world and not quite the soft boys we are today.
Tyler:  I became part of the band in 2018 when I met Daniel volunteering at a local Special Olympics event.  We were both making friends with Tommy, one of the basketball participants, when he began explaining his love of percussion.  I remember having a blast playing some drum beats with him on the bleachers in between games.  My sick beats must’ve impressed Daniel, who asked if I wanted to audition for Sorry Ghost.  The rest is history.

MM:  Your music videos are very fun and unique – which one was your favorite to make?
Daniel:  Thanks!  We really try to put effort into them.  My favorite to make was “Triangles.”  It’s an oldie (pre-Tyler era, came out in 2016 with a super rough audio track), but we’ve kept it on YouTube all this time because we had so much fun filming it.  It was our first music video, and I remember Matt calling the high school where we filmed it and asking permission to film a “school project” there.  We ended up getting the cops called on us when we filmed the night scenes due to noise complaints.  But luckily, we got all the footage we needed and the cops were friendly and told us they’d check out the video when it was done.
Tyler:  Making the “Nosedive” lyric video was a blast for me!  Going back through all of the footage and photos we’ve collected over the past two years reminded me of how incredible the Sorry Ghost journey has been.  To quote Daniel, “Stop, to check how far you’ve come,” is the perfect descriptor for how I felt piecing it together.  Ever since I was a boy, my dream was to be a musician.  Making this video made me realize that 7-year-old Tyler would be so proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and of what the future has in store for us!
Matthew:  One that I’ve really enjoyed making is one that isn’t even out yet, but will be very soon!  We’ve got a fan made music video for our song “Nosedive” that’s in the works right now, where we asked our fans to submit a short video clip of themselves holding up a lyric from the song in the most unique way they can think of.  The response has been incredible, and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.  No offense to other bands, but Sorry Ghost has the best fans.

MM:  I was reading through your “SG Explains” posts, and it seems like you all work on the songs together – could you explain what a typical song-making session is like?
Matthew:  The songs usually start with an idea that one of us will come up with on our own and then send to the other two guys – our group text is littered with them.  The idea could be anything from lyrics and chords for an almost completed song to just a riff and an idea of a direction.  Usually from there, we hold on to all of these ideas until we’re all in one room and try to knock it out all at once, which sometimes is a lot easier than other times (looking at you, “Morning Glory”).  It never fails to amaze me how much a song can change from the initial recording just with the addition of drums or a vocal melody.  Then we sort of just obsessively work on the song, one piece at a time in chronological order until we get through a skeletal structure of the song.  Then we do another rough phone recording of everyone playing it, send that back to the group text, and start the process over at our next practice, fine tuning and adjusting every little bit until it’s perfect.

MM:  I saw that “Bumper Cars” took six months to make – how do you know when a song is officially done?
Tyler:  This is a tricky one!  For us to consider a song “done” means that it has to impress all three of us. The catch here is that we’re all a bit too obsessed with perfection.  We’ve spent hours working on details that no one else will likely notice.  For instance, there’s brass instruments in the chorus to our song “Morning Glory.”  I will personally high five anyone who can hum me the melody.  What’s funny is that we’ve also written full songs in as little as an hour too.  What we’ve come to realize is that the time spent on the song is irrelevant. What matters is that Matt, Daniel, and I are each “wowed” by the song we’ve created.
Matthew:  A good rule of thumb for us is if we haven’t played the song enough times to hate it, it’s probably not done yet.

MM:  Some of the tracks on The Morning After came out years ago, like “Condescending” and “Bumper Cars.”  When you released them, did you already know that they were going to be on the album?
Matthew:  To be honest, when we started recording those songs, we only tracked six in the studio and intended to release all of them separately as singles in order to get the most mileage out of each individual song.  But then, by the time we had released three or four songs, we had written new material that we wanted to record as soon as possible. So, in classic Sorry Ghost half-planned fashion, we went back into the studio to record five more songs before we even finished releasing the initial six.  Even after we finished recording, we still had it in our mind that we were just going to release all of the songs separately as two EPs.  But then, looking at the now eleven songs we’d recorded, we realized that we’d recorded an almost unintentionally cohesive album, and decided there was no better way to release it unto the world than to just bundle it all up together and release it as our debut full-length album.

MM:  Most of your tracks have some kind of silver lining – was there a reason behind this, or did it just naturally happen?
Daniel:  I’m a firm believer in reflecting on all my experiences, both positive and negative, to ensure I’ve learned from them.  I try to approach everything with a sense of gratitude and the realization that “pain is never permanent,” like Neck Deep sings in “December.”  Sometimes, I’m not able to write about a particularly difficult event until weeks or months after it’s occurred because I’d rather approach our songs with a more balanced demeanor than perhaps the sheer anger and despair I’d feel when I wrote a song four or five years ago.  We want to be thought of as “optimistic emo,” you could call it.

Photo by Malarie Zaunbrecher

MM:  What have been some of your favorite memories together as a band?
Tyler:  I’ll never forget when we managed to bring in over 250 people to our most recent live show in our hometown of Baton Rouge.  It was the last concert we played before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was such a rush!  It was here when I realized that Sorry Ghost has become something special.  In a city where the local music scene is seemingly nonexistent, we had a sea of voices screaming our songs back to us.  I have goosebumps just thinking about it!
Daniel:  I have such fond memories of a show we did at a pizza parlor out in the little beach town of Biloxi, Mississippi, in spring 2018.  It was one of Tyler’s first gigs, and I felt such joy feeling like we finally had a lineup that clicked.  There were only about 10 people there at the actual show, but it didn’t matter at all – we had a blast.  I remember walking the beach before the gig with Matt and Tyler and grabbing McDonald’s after, before piling in my small sedan and driving four hours home.
Matthew:  One of the biggest moments for me was the first day we went into the studio to record the songs that would eventually become The Morning After.  We’d never recorded in a professional studio before and we were all a bit nervous and excited to see how it would go, but as soon as we met Jonathan, our engineer, we knew we were in the right place.  We started recording “Bumper Cars” and had finished the entire instrumental by the end of the day.  I’ll never forget the moment when we first heard the completed song we’d been working on all day piece by piece, and just being blown away by how it sounded.  After years of writing songs in our bedrooms, doing DIY recordings, and putting together our own CDs, we finally felt like a real band.

MM:  What would you all be doing right now if you weren’t in quarantine?
Daniel:  I’d be begrudgingly stuffing myself into the metro each morning in Washington, D.C., to get to my office job, so thankfully, things aren’t too rough for me.
Matthew:  Similarly to Dan, I’d be at my serving job most nights if not for the pandemic, so I definitely can’t complain.  But if there’s a silver lining, it’s nice to get what feels like a summer vacation as an adult.

MM:  Who are some artists that you would love to collaborate with?
Daniel:  From an if-anything-were-possible perspective, I’d love to work with Mark Hoppus from blink-182.  He’s worked with young, up-and-coming bands in the past, and is my personal idol.  In the nearer term, I would be stoked to work with Tate Logan of Happy.  I really believe Happy. is about to pop off, and they make some amazing tunes.
Tyler:  As a drummer, working with Travis Barker would be a dream come true.  As far as current pop-punk artists go, I think writing a song with Belmont would be such a cool experience.  They’re all such talented musicians with a unique and impressive songwriting ability.
Matthew:  The nerd in me wants to say Rob Cavallo or Jerry Finn (R.I.P.), who respectively produced most of Green Day and blink-182’s catalogues.  The idea of working with the people who helped create the sound of these albums that I’ve listened to countless times would be amazing.  Not just for the sake of imitating their sound, but to learn what exactly sets them apart from all of the other bands of that era.

Photo by Malarie Zaunbrecher

MM:  If you had to describe Sorry Ghost using only emojis, which ones would you choose?
Tyler:  😄🎢☹️🔁
Matthew:  🥴🗿🛁🍭
Daniel:  (cannot figure out how to type emojis on a Motorola Razr)

MM:  Any last-minute shout outs / things to add?
Daniel:  Thank you so much, Melodic, for having us!  We’ve really enjoyed this interview.  Biggest shout-out I’d like to give is to each and every person that has supported us along our journey.  We have big plans and announcements in store for the next twelve months, and we have the most incredible fans/friends helping us along the way.
Matthew:  To piggyback on what Dan said, I want to give a shout-out to all of our fans, especially everyone who’s submitted clips for our fan-made video for “Nosedive.”  We’ve been absolutely blown away by the overwhelming support and interest everyone had in the project, so thanks to each and every one of you who has helped us to make such an amazing thing.  Keep an eye out, should be out soon!
Tyler:  Shout-out to Christine for preparing such fantastic questions!  I’d also like to extend a special thanks to all of you reading this right now.  Whether you’re a day one fan or just found out that we exist, we hope that we can bring a smile to your face today.  Stay tubular everyone!

Thank you very much, Sorry Ghost!  This has been an absolute pleasure.

You can stream The Morning After on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Keep up with Sorry Ghost:   Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

Christine Sloman
Christine Slomanhttps://linktr.ee/christine.sloman
Writer for Melodic Mag since 2018. Music lover since always.

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