Interview: Sebastian ‘Sushi’ Biesler (Vocals) of Ghøstkid (Written)

Ghøstkid, the German alternative metal act implores you to think and feel pain on new album ‘Hollywood Suicide’. An album that explores vocalist Sebastian “Sushi” Biesler’s journey of crawling from his own personal wreckage against a crumbling, mythical Californian milieu. The album grapples with self-discovery and unmasks the mysterious allure of La La Land with a melodic, electronic-infused metal soundtrack. It’s rebellious, personal, and built for massive audiences worldwide.

‘Hollywood Suicide’ comes out on March 22, 2024, via Century Media Records.

You can pre-order it/buy tickets to the shows here.

We spoke to Sebastian about the new album, the journey to its release, the importance of expression, dealing with pain, Ghøstkid live, and so much more.

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Hello. How are you today?

I’m good. I’m sitting outside of a cafe.

How’s everything in the Ghøstkid camp at the moment?

Everything is all right. At the moment, we are just preparing all the merchandise for the new album, bundles and so on. We’re doing everything, DIY style, and that’s a shitload of work. Like last week, I don’t know, it was like over 500 hoodies and zip jackets and 300 t-shirts. So we’ve been working every fucking day. Now, I’ve taken like three days off, but the rest of the guys are still working. So, shout out to the guys, it’s been a shitload of work for sure.

What a wonderful problem to have, all that merch to send!

Kind of, yeah, but it smells horrible to bleach clothes, so it’s not the best job to have to do.

I hear you. It is such an exciting period for you, building to the release of Hollywood Suicide, the new album out March 22nd via Century Media Records. Where is your head at with it right now?

That’s a good question. It’s basically hard to tell. I just try to get shit done, and then there is, like, the tour, we have to rehearse a lot and so on. For me, it’s already a state of mind where it’s out. I’m kind of focusing on the tours. I try to go get back in shape for the tours so I can have a little bit more fun and, I don’t know, stamina to perform every night. We’re going to be on tour with Black Veil Brides after this Blind Channel run. So, it’s like basically two months of touring.

It took a while to get this album to this point. After I dropped the debut album, the pandemic started, so when we wanted to play live, we couldn’t. When you’re in a situation like that, you kind of lose the connection to your own music. Particularly writing and all that stuff.

That was a problem, but after, like, two years or something, when all that shit was over, I just got back to writing music. The process this time was pretty cool, because over the past four years, I’d learned a lot about being an artist. Usually I just write stuff to get it out of my system, just try to turn it into a song. Everything that bothers me in my mind, and right now, I’m doing that kind of stuff with a different kind of consciousness, I would say.

Look at Heavy Rain (from Hollywood Suicide) for example. That was, like, the most intense process, but now I’m aware of that. That is how I’m functioning as an artist.

Has the phenomenal reaction to the singles released so far helped ease your mind regarding how the full thing might be received?

The response has been great so far. The debut album did great and people liked it a lot, but you always have to try and top yourself. There was a lot of competition in my mind, but I’m pretty glad that everything has turned out well. The response from people has been amazing, especially towards Heavy Rain. It’s like, if you write a track that is so vulnerable and you give a lot, showing your true self and sharing experiences, and people resonate with it? That really means a lot.

Why do you think they have resonated so much with that track?

I think it’s always the same thing. If you are capable of just being honest as an artist and step outside of your comfort zone, just write stuff about uncomfortable stuff, it gets a bit more true.

Don’t get me wrong, even if you don’t have a connection or write about anything specific, it can still be a great track. However, I think if you really tell your own story about a specific topic or something, you give a little bit of yourself away to people. I think that makes it a bit more special. I mean, the topic in general was not an easy topic for me to write about. I think that’s the reason why.

Opening yourself up like this, it’s not easy at all. Is it something that is becoming easier the more you develop as an artist?

I think so. I mean, I’ve recognised that if I’m in a specific mood or if I have a specific feeling, if I get something on my mind that hurts, or if I have some thoughts that really bother me, I need to get it out of my system.

For me it’s a process. If I feel shitty, I try to turn it into a track. I just try to write a track about that, put everything in there, and then it’s like a little trophy. You feel better by writing music and then you just put it on a record like this little trophy. Okay, good. I’m over that shit. It is great to know that I’m working like this now. It’s great because there is a lot of inspiration, even if I’m just looking for strong feelings.

You’re paying more attention to your own feelings, do you think?

Yes, exactly. That’s what I do now.

Going back to the earliest point of the new album, did you have a vision for what you wanted the record to be?

First of all, no. I knew I needed to start writing music again because my label told me, hey, it’s already been two years. I started writing a track but it was ugly. I went to my producer, and he said, okay, we need to rewrite that track because it could be better.

I’m happy that we did that as it made me realise that I needed to learn to write music again. That became the first track, and then I went to LA for four weeks, which really turned my whole world upside down from an artist’s perspective. I learned so much and got so inspired, I was able to go back to writing music.

What I found in LA was the way they live art and celebrate it, is so different to Germany. Same thing in the UK, I find. In Germany, people are just making music, but there are not that many artists. I say this because if you do art, like, really connect to the person that you are, it becomes kind of your persona. You live differently, you wake up being an artist and go to bed being an artist. It’s the coolest and the hardest thing to do.

In LA, I learned that it was okay to do whatever I wanted. It’s time to step outside of the comfort zone, just start listening and try to do what I really want.

Why do you think it took going to LA for those weeks to realise that?

Even if I had those feelings all the time, it’s so hard to step outside of the comfort zone if nobody else you are surrounded by, is doing it too.

In LA, if I go into a supermarket and I’m wearing a big pink fur coat, for example, people will probably give me props. In Germany, everybody would give me weird looks and think, oh, maybe he’s a drug addict, or whatever. I think we are really strict when it comes down social rules. In America, it feels like the only rule is to be happy for who you are. It’s celebrating life and celebrating art differently. Just to get the experience how people do it there, that really opened things up for me. It made me open myself to myself more. I hope that makes sense.

Yeah, it does. I can almost picture a comparison to the city of London in the UK, which is obviously mightily cosmopolitan. If you go to someone like Camden wearing a pink fur jacket, for example, no-one will bat an eyelid. You do that in, say, Mayfair, you might get some looks.

I love listening to artists from the UK. There are no fucking rules when it comes to music there. They do whatever the fuck they want. There are so many cool artists. You won’t find that stuff in Germany, maybe in Berlin, but not that intense. What I really love about the UK and the music is it’s so rough and people are not afraid to express themselves, even if it’s over the top. This is what I love.

I’m not looking to fit into the mold, I’m just looking for something special. People that have no limits when it comes to expressing art.

How challenging was the record creation process overall for you?

It was pretty challenging because the debut album did so well! Nowadays, the world is so fast. We’re surrounded by so many great artists, that it becomes pretty hard to keep your own focus. There is a lot of competition, so it becomes hard to focus on the stuff that you’re feeling and to express your own music. Sometimes you tend to listen to new artists and say, oh man, that’s so much better than my shit.

This is another interesting aspect of the time in LA. They have a big rock scene, one that crosses over with metal. In Germany, it’s metal or hip-hop. It’s like that. Straight. We have all those metalcore bands, and the focus is always on writing some heavy shit. In LA, the focus is simply – write a good song. If it’s good, it’s good. No matter if you scream or not, you shouldn’t be afraid to just do it.

With this album, I was thinking about that a lot. So, with this new consciousness, I tried to, I don’t know, keep the competition out of my mind. It was a lot like learning and thinking, can I do this? Should I? Whatever. In the end, I realised that I was feeling good with what I was doing.

It’s really difficult to keep other influences out of your mind. How do you block it all out?

I’m listening to so many different kinds of music, so when I’m looking for inspiration, I’m not really listening to metal music anymore, to be honest. I mean, that’s the reason why I love Bring Me the Horizon, because it’s always art first with them. It’s always fresh and new sounding. You don’t know what to expect, and you can hear so many different genres in their music these days.

This is how I’m doing it as well. So, I’m just looking for something crazy. I don’t know. I’m listening more to hip hop and rap music than to regular metal. I’m listening to pop artists. I’m always trying to find something.

I completely understand that. Sometimes it feels like there’s a lot more innovation in other genres.

Yeah, you should just be open to different kind of genres. A good chorus is a good chorus. It doesn’t matter if it has heavy guitars or it’s the beat underneath. It doesn’t matter. A good track is a good track. That is everything that counts.

Just give the track what it needs, don’t try to be somebody else or somebody different, just to fit in. That’s the hardest part though, and it definitely depends on your environment. If you’re in a supportive art scene, it’s easier to try to push your limits as they support you the way you are.

Do you have any favourite moments of the album creation process that were a lot of fun or pushed you creatively?

That’s a good question. I think there have been some moments, but I can’t tell if it has been fun. I would say Heavy Rain is probably my favourite track on the new record.

When I was writing this track, I felt absolutely miserable, but that was a special moment because for me it was part of my new process. I was writing this track, sitting in the studio, and crying. The track turned out this intense because I really tried to tap into the process of overcoming something that was really hurtful in the past. This has made this track so special to me.

Then there is Helena Drive, the last track on the album. It was the only track written in LA.

The chorus. I felt the vibe. It was a different kind of vibe and it’s a great memory just to take that chorus home and just turn it into another track.

Obviously, you worked with producer Sky Van Hoff on this record. What did they get out of you specifically? Did they push you in ways you’d never been pushed before?

Sky is one of my best friends, which makes it complicated sometimes. The great thing about Sky is that I’ve never met somebody who’s so passionate when it comes to music, but he is definitely crazy because he knows that there is something inside me that he wants to bring out as well.

Like, singing is always him pushing you to the limit and it’s not easy. I fucking hate him in the studio, but in the end, it always turns out great because we are such close friends. We love each other so much. Sometimes we’re shouting at each other, getting mad and all that stuff, but he’s like my big brother. He always supports me and just tries to bring out my best.

He’s one of the most important people in my life. So, I’m super thankful to have the opportunity to work with him and call him my friend.

What do you hope listeners are able to take from Hollywood Suicide?

For me, the most important thing is that I can create something. People can resonate in their own way. I do hope that people feel the same things that I do though, or at least have the same emotions.

This is because it’s just good if you have somebody who understands you. It just feels less lonely and it gives you power somehow.

The second thing relates to the fact that it is a concept album. The downward spiral of a Hollywood diva. So, the story is pretty interesting. There are some little aspects, even in the artwork, there is a lot of stuff to discover. Even I’m discovering some stuff that I hadn’t seen before or I forgot about. It is an interesting story and I really hope that people will understand it.

Ghøstkid means a lot of things to a lot of different people from all around the world. What does Ghøstkid mean to you?

It’s a place where I can show a different side to me. I can talk about stuff I usually wouldn’t talk about. It’s something like an alter ego. There is no gender I can’t be. I can wear, on stage, whatever the fuck I want. I can behave like how I want. I can talk about things. I don’t know. It’s another side of me that is probably hidden, that comes out through Ghøstkid.

It’s freedom, right?

Yeah, that’s true.

As a consumer of art, what excites you these days?

That’s hard to say. It could be a painting. It could be flowers. If I’m walking down the street, it can be anything. Sometimes weird stuff. If I’m looking at the tree that I like, that creates some kind of emotion, even that can excite me.

There are so many things that can be art. Even people, I would say. If you find somebody who has a special kind of character that inspires you and lets you think or feel in a different way.

I think this is how I consume art. This is what art is, an exchange of feelings and emotions. I’m just looking for strong emotions in general. This is how I see art.

Does it happen enough?

I think so.

This year is already proven to be a pivotal one, and with the album to be released and the tours coming up, it’s only going to continue. With all of what you’ve got going on over the next couple of months, what’s a realistic goal that you would like to achieve before 2024 is over?

That’s hard to say, to be honest. I think for me, I’d be happy if I could sleep well! I mean, even if I love what I do, it has got ups and down. The project is growing and growing, and being on your own after playing ten years in a band, there is a lot of shit you need to take care of. Of course, you make mistakes.

I’d like to reach the point where I can say, okay, it’s all right. Because if that happens, I can appreciate the stuff that I’m doing. Sometimes I’m too stressed out that I can’t even celebrate my own music.

For me, it’s like, okay, record is out now, and what’s next? What do I have to do now? Is it taxes or whatever? There is always shit to do. I’d like to achieve the feeling that I’m safe. That’s everything safe and happy.

It should be so simple, but these days, that always seems like such an impossible goal to reach.

The world has become too fast.


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  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!