“I might not bring out the feather boas just yet,” says James Greenwood, who’s plotting his live debut as Ghost Culture, “but there’s an element of theatrics. I want people to think about dance music in a different way. It doesn’t have to be overly macho. It can be a performance.”
Greenwood is used to following his own path. When he left school at 18 he skipped university and went straight to hustling for work at studios and record shops. “I would get the train in from Essex and go to Pure Groove,” he says. “I wasn’t officially working there, I was just pretending I could do sound for their live bands.”
After meeting Daniel Avery there, Greenwood wound up engineering ‘Drone Logic’ – but he wasn’t satisfied with that. “I had this little glint in my eye,” he says. “I wanted to be writing.”
He’d been working on Ghost Culture for three years and now had the chance to finish his own album – with a very specific sonic template. “For the two months I was finishing the record I made a conscious effort to only listen to three records,” he says. “‘Fear of Music’ by Talking Heads, ‘Construction Time Again’ by Depeche Mode and ‘Ziggy Stardust’ by David Bowie. I didn’t want to feel like I was in competition with whatever was on Pitchfork that week.”
That refusal to follow trends marks him apart. “I’m passionate about sticking to the sound that’s in my head,” he says. “There’s too many paint-by-numbers things going around.”
Originally published in Mixmag, February 2015.