What is your full name?
My name is Alec A. Head. The “A” stands for “Arthur” as the Arthurian Legend was rather big in my household.
Do you have any aliases?
If you had an alias what might it be?
“A-Bomb” because you never know when I am about to EXPLODE, AMIRITE?
What bands are you actively involved with?
I am the frontperson/end-level-boss for Ghostbound, and I am known to contribute riffs and guitar textures to Kosmodemonic when needed, though I am not really a full-time member of the latter anymore.
What was the first instrument that you played?
I started out on the keyboards when I was around 9 or 10, but I moved very quickly to guitar when I realized that one could strike cooler poses with it.
Tell me about one of your first musical memories?
I suppose it must have been the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” from when I was around 3 or 4 years old, though I suppose my first true “musical love” would have been Phil Collins and Phil Collins-era Genesis from when I was around 6 or 7.
What was the name of the first band you were in?
I was in a terrible, terrible band in high school that never made it out of the garage. We were called “Lunacy” and the most we could muster was the first three minutes of “War Pigs.”
Tell me about the genesis of Ghostbound.
In 2015, I somehow managed to fashion all of these disparate riffs I had amassed into actual songs, and we entered the studio with the help of a few session musicians to record our debut record, All is Phantom. Over the years, we expanded the line-up to include Talha Alvie (The D/A Method, Skeletonflowers_) on guitar and David E. Richman (who played session drums on All is Phantom) as our full-time drummer. We are now a fully-fledged band instead of a masturbatory would-be solo project.
What inspired the name Ghostbound?
My memory is hazy, but I believe it came to me from a misheard lyric back in 2010. It instantly hit me as a concept I could get behind; I was initially going to use it as the title of a song (which would eventually become “And We Are Already At Sea”, off of the new EP) but towards the end of 2012, I decided it would make a fine identity for the project as a whole. I feel that it captures the music we make rather well, if I should say so myself!
How long did it take you to write and record Extended Play For My Sweet Mary Thyme?
The songs were made up from the same 10-15 year period from which All is Phantom was culled, but they were finally completed and arranged at some point in 2019. All in all, recording took four days in total, not including the sleepless hours Talha spent to finalize some of the string arrangements and atmospheric, in-between-song bric-a-brac.
If you could insert yourself into any one band what band would it be and why?
The Smiths, so I can reclaim all of their classic songs from Morrissey’s racist, misbegotten mouth.
Have you ever heard a song and immediately wished you had written it? If so… What was the song and artist?
Honestly, when I first heard Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde by Alcest in 2007, I thought that someone had crawled into my brain, taken all my riffs, and immediately made them better. Neige accomplished everything I had ever wanted to do, musically, before I ever had the chance to do it myself. I approached Alcest with equal parts joy, grandeur, and crippling jealousy. It forced me to go back and seriously re-tool the concept, in some way.
What are a few of your musical inspirations?
This is the broadest question in history, but if I could narrow it down, I would say that I am a student of the more lush side of post-punk who was then taken to Ye Olde Black Metal Haberdashery, wined and dined at the singer/songwriter diner, and then thrown into the Avant-garde Washing Machine. Really, I love artists like The Chameleons, The Waterboys, Crowded House, Arcturus, Ulver, Agalloch, Breathless, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Faith No More, In The Woods…, Arvo Part, Ved Buens Ende, Dissection, Darkthrone, Voivod, Jeff Buckley, Rush, Root, and many, many others.
Is there a metal song that you'd like to do a cover of?
I am not really a “metal guy” in the strictest sense in the respect that most of my influences for this project are decidedly “non-metal”, BUT I’d love to give the title track off of Bruce Dickinson’s The Chemical Wedding a shot. I love that entire record. I might even love it more than any Maiden record.
What band have you played with that has really impressed you with their live show?
There is a band based out of here in NYC called Semaphore that plays a brand of seriously technical, borderline proggy indie rock whose live show was simply marvelous.
Do you have a favorite venue to play at?
Most definitely Saint Vitus here in Brooklyn, New York! It is a home away from home and I come away inspired whenever I see a show or play a show at that venue.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
I tend to do vocal warm-ups and a series of stretches. I try to avoid consuming alcohol, coffee, or anything else that may dry my throat out. Other than that, not as such!
What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had at a show?
That honor would DEFINITELY go to when Kosmodemonic opened for Watain at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar in 2014. It was our third gig as a band, and it just so happened to be the show where Watain “gallaghered” the audience in rancid pig’s blood. We had already played our set, and we were smart enough to keep to the back of the venue where we could watch the literal carnage unfold. It was simultaneously horrible and hilarious. I will never get that smell out of my nostrils. Fun fact; my then-girlfriend, who is NOT a metalhead, somehow stayed with me after witnessing all of this, and she is now my wife.
The year is 1998. Where are you at and what are you listening to?
This was the year when I was first getting into Faith No More and the world of Mike Patton. I definitely had their discography on full-blast at all times along with that of Mr. Bungle, not to mention all of the terrible nu-metal bands that were big at the time. Everyone had to start somewhere.
What advice would you give young musicians that are just starting out in the music business?
I daresay avoid the term “business” entirely and focus on making the kind of music you would like to hear. Avoid genre-trappings and try not to limit yourself or define what you are doing. Trust yourself enough not to box yourself in.
What is an absolute band killer?
What’s the longest time you’ve gone without bathing?
24 hours. I take a dim view of anyone who does not bathe regularly. It is simply disgusting to wallow in your own filth for longer than a day. What are you, a barbarian? If you live in a country with regular access to running water, take advantage of this and do not clog the air with your effluvia.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I am a proud film and theater nerd and would also call Stephen Sondheim one of my favorite musical inspirations.
Is the Fistful of DOOM show in the top 10 of your favorite music podcasts?
Not to be rude, but it is not! This is no fault of the Fistful of DOOM show. I simply do not listen to too much in the way of music podcasts.
Do unicorns sleep standing up?
I would imagine that unicorns sleep like horses, which means that they can sleep standing up or laying down. So...yes?
You’re driving cross-country and you can only listen to one album the whole time. What album will it be?
I think The Cure’s Disintegration is a perfect driving record, mostly due to the overall length and lush sense of atmosphere. I’ll go with that.
You are writing a book about your life thus far. What is the title of that book?
“Not an Asshole: The Story of a Mad Black Metaller”
What is your favorite song by KISS?
I can’t say that I have a favorite song by America’s pre-eminent corporate rock band.
Beastie Boys or Run D.M.C. (if you had to choose)?
Definitely Run D.M.C, but “Sabotage” is one hell of a song.
Doobies or Boobies (if you had to pick one)?
I hate this question and I hate you for asking it. You should feel bad about yourself. I am not one for the wacky tobacky, so I guess it would have to be the latter, specifically those of my gorgeous wife. Again, I hate you for asking this question. You will have to really turn it around on the next one.
Waffles or Pancakes (if you had to pick one)?
Waffles! One can get sick of pancakes rather quickly, I find.
Star Wars or Star Trek (if you had to choose)?
I am going to go with Star Wars on this, but with a caveat; The original trilogy only. JJ Abrams has done everything in his power to take what made the franchise “special” out of it, and, somehow, the most recent trilogy found a way to somehow be more of a waste of time than the prequels.
Now, I find myself getting into Star Trek more recently. The first season of TNG is utterly awful beyond measure, but I am finding myself understanding it more and more as I get through season two. I may change my tune entirely by the time I get through Deep Space Nine. We will see how long I last.
Favorite band t-shirt you own?
Lately, my Fields of the Nephilim t-shirt.
I have many favorite meals. There is an Italian restaurant in Park Slope called Al Di La; they do a Pork Saltimbocca which tends to be one of my favorite meals ever.
Additionally, there is a restaurant in London, near Big Ben, called The Cinnamon Room that served or serves a Chicken Curry dish that is among my favorite meals. I am not sure if the restaurant still exists. I ate there during the summer of 2003 and I remember the meal to this day.
Finally, I was privileged enough to eat at Zahida in Copenhagen, which is a Pakistani restaurant. The butter chicken there is simply to die for.
I also cook at home, and I love making crispy pork carnitas in addition to Birria stew.
Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy or V, by Thomas Pynchon
The Ruling Class, starring Peter O’Toole and directed by Peter Medak. Additionally, Cries and Whispers by Ingmar Bergman.
It is usually a toss-up between Faith No More - Angel Dust, The Cure - Disintegration, Thought Industry - Short Wave on a Cold Day, or Dredg - El Cielo.
Huge (with a Y sound) thanks to Alec for taking the time to answer my queries. I appreciate it. I also appreciate the humor with which some of the questions were answered. I have a lot of fun doing these interviews and it’s nice when the interviewee appears to be having fun as well. Don’t you dare leave this interview without following the link to Ghostbound’s latest release Extended Play For My Sweet Mary Thyme. This is an absolutely gorgeous release and you simply must put your ears to it. You can thank me later.
~El Pedo Caliente (aka Uncle Jameson from the Fistful of DOOM show)