Former Ghosts is the reverb-soaked, emotionally raw synthpop project of Freddy Ruppert, Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart, and Nika Roza of Zola Jesus. Their fantastic debut Fleurs is out 10/20 via Upset The Rhythm. We premiered standout “Unfolding” in this week’s Drop and spoke with Ruppert about the track. He gave us the specific background of the love song and part of the story behind Fleurs. We couldn’t fit it all in the ‘Gum Drop, but you can read all of it here after you take a listen.
STEREOGUM: “Unfolding” is a melancholic, romantic love song. There’s a line — “blooming into each other’s missing pieces” — that could be viewed as a “you complete me” cliche, but it feels deeper than that. As if the people in question really do need spaces filled.
FREDDY RUPPERT: “Unfolding” is actually the first Former Ghosts song I ever recorded. It wasn’t really intended for a release or anything. I had completely quit music after doing This Song Is a Mess But So Am I and wasn’t recording anything at all and had no desire to record anything at all. It was probably close to almost two years before I had recorded a real song. And then I was going through a tumultuous time in a relationship with someone I was completely, insanely, head over heels in love with and I just recorded this song and mailed it to her apartment. The song is basically saying that when you are ready to face this, I’m still here, and that I want you to still be there with all the same things that I fell in love with. And that in all the times that we do sync up our relationship just continues to unfold as we continue to bloom more and more into each other’s missing pieces. That yeah … maybe it’s grasping for some kind of idea of true love … that in a way two people do complete each other … a feeling so strong that they really do need each other, that they find the parts of them that are missing in someone else and as the relationship continues to evolve they continue to fill in those spaces that are missing.
STEREOGUM: What’s the songwriting process like in the band? Each person in Former Ghosts is coming from their own established project.
FR: I write the basic structure for a song and then I mail it to Jamie and Nika who then write and record parts and mail them back to me and then I piece it all together. For the next record we are looking more into getting together and writing and recording in the same room.
STEREOGUM: Is Fleurs a reference to Charles Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal. Looking at the subject matter of the album/it’s atmosphere, that’d make sense. If not, how’d you come up with it?
FR: It’s not a reference to that. When we were looking to name the record, Jamie, Nika, and I all tried to come up with one word names that fit the record. Nika came up with Fleurs. And Fleurs seemed to work the best because the record is mainly about a relationship either on the verge of withering or blooming. I would like to keep some things about it private, so the reason it is in French is between me and another person…
In this week’s Drop, we also offered the chance to win a Kindle and an autographed vinyl copy of Rosanne Cash’s The List. One winner takes home the latest generation of the Amazon Kindle valued at $299, courtesy of Rosanne Cash’s The List. The covers collections came out yesterday (10/6) on Manhattan Records. We’ve posted about the project in the past. If you recall, it started when Cash’s father Johnny gave her a list:
“When I was 18, my father became alarmed that his daughter appeared to lack a deep understanding of country music (having been obsessed with The Beatles and steeped in Southern California rock and pop music). He gave me a list of the ’100 Essential Country Songs’ and told me that it was my education and I should learn them all.”
On The List she recorded a dozen of the essentials with the help of Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jeff Tweedy, and Rufus Wainwright, among others. To celebrate it’s release the winner will also get a CD and autographed vinyl copy, along with a copy of the new biography Always Been There: Rosanne Cash, The List and the Spirit of Southern Music by Michael Streissguth. You can stream The List at Spinner and keep up to date on things at Rosanne’s Tumblr. Before you get too cozy, though, make sure you enter to win. There’s also still time left to win an autographed limited-edition Eels box set.
CONTEST ENDS 10/21/09 AT 12PM EST.