Ghostland Observatory Cuts through the lasers with Robotique Majestique

:: Ghostland Observatory ::
:: Fox Theatre :: April 19 ::


By Tiffany Childs

Ghostland Observatory is a band with a mission — to make music that’s “sweaty, raw-boned and direct from the future, committed to electronics, stuck on big beats, yet unmistakably powered by rock and roll.” With the recent release of their third album, Robotique Majestique, and a tour to support the record, the Austin-based electro rock outfit seems to be right on track to completing the mission with ease.
Even though Ghostland Observatory’s latest CD is full of their trademark danceable beats that have a rock and roll soul, the duo really holds the most command during one of their electrifying live shows. And so, the group will bring a show that has been called a “grand sense of fun ridiculousness that knows how to party” to cities across the U.S. in support of this latest release. Recently The Marquee caught up with producer/drummer/synthesizer maestro Thomas Turner to chat about how the album has turned out and what it is exactly that makes their live show so enthralling.

Ghostland Observatory’s music, packed with synths, front man Aaron Behrens’ love-it-or-hate-it voice, and a glitzy swagger, is mainly a mix of dance pop and electronica. But these two boys also have roots deeply anchored in rock beats, which is the secret ingredient they use to create a sort of soul-infused dance party at any of their live shows. And as if the music weren’t enough, both Behrens and Turner are true showmen, pulling out lasers, lights and outfits (including Turner’s perpetually worn cape) in rapid succession to dazzle even the most tightly crossed arms into a dancing frenzy.

“We see music as a very serious profession, like old school musicians,” Turner said. “These people have paid their money to see a show and we don’t want it to be violent or angry or negative in any way. We don’t want to see people standing there with their arms crossed, looking bored. We want the crowd to dance and to have fun. And when that happens then it’s the best for us.”

Attendees of last summer’s inaugural  Monolith Festival at Red Rocks seemed to have fun when the band was last in town. However, it was in the middle of the day, which Turner said isn’t the best way to experience what they have to offer. To create that sense of fun, Turner suggests the best time to see the band is late at night and indoors. “We aren’t really a middle of the afternoon kind of band. It’s hard for most people to flip the party switch that early in the day. And you miss out on all of our toys then, like our lasers and lights,” he said.

As for the new album, Turner told us that it, like its predecessors, is full of electronic music created for the dance floors. But, the group has grown in their sound, as all good acts do. “Our first two records didn’t feel like real albums. They were just sort of songs placed together. On Robotique Majestique, from the first song to the last, everything feels like it joins together,” Turner said of the latest Ghostland Observatory release.

The pair also took more time in the recording of this album than the first two. Part of that reason was because of the popularity the first two albums brought. “With the first record, no one knew who we were so we’d just write songs and record them and it didn’t really take much time. With this album we had to tour and come back and write a song and record it and then tour and then come back, over and over, to complete the album,” Turner mentioned.

All of that back and forth could have ended up bringing with it lots of expensive studio time, but Ghostland Observatory is nothing if not a do-it-yourself kind of band and so they ended up recording the album in Turner’s father’s barn, which is an interesting location choice, to say the least. Nonetheless, it was a choice that ultimately worked out for the duo as far as what they were looking for in the sound quality. “[Robotique Majestique] is a lot thicker because there was a natural reverb in the barn. And we used all the ambient sounds in the barn to create background sounds on the record,” Turner said.

Interestingly, Turner said that this record, like the others before it, is heavily influenced by the sounds of Daft Punk. “I was never really interested in music until I heard Daft Punk in the ’90s. When I heard (them), it turned something on in my head that hasn’t stopped yet,” Turner said. It’s a safe bet that most of Ghostland Observatory fans are happy that Turner stumbled upon Daft Punk and hope that the switch never gets turned off again.

With the release of a third well-received CD and the start of their first headlining tour, Ghostland Observatory may seem like a fun ridiculousness live, but it’s clear they are quite serious about their mission, indeed.

:: Ghostland Observatory ::
:: Fox Theatre :: April 19 ::

Recommended if you like:
• Daft Punk
• The Clash
• Freddie Mercury

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1 Comment

  1. rada youngblood on

    I saw Ghostland on KCET in LA and was mesmerized by the punk, rock, whatever else that is a wierd and fun sound. Turner looks like a mad scientist and a genious and Behrens is charesmatic in a mysterious way. Native American, raw, and sexy. I have been listening/watching the Austin City Limits pbs clip for days. Both are authentic genuine people. It just makes me excited and happy to have discovered them.

    And did I mention that I am 66 years old?

    All the best guys. Can’t wait to follow your career.