This week Melbourne producer Ghostsoul is releasing his first full-length album, entitled Celestial Artifacts. It is being released by Uncomfortable Beats, a tight-knit group of producers and DJs working to establish Australian producers of hip-hop related beats to a global audience keen on niche beats art.
32 year old Rob Healey aka Ghostsoul met up with me at Black Cat, a small but iconic bar on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.
The Black Cat has been the breeding ground for a plethora of quality listening music produced by some of Melbourne, Australia’s finest artists. It’s also been the monthly home of Uncomfortable Beats events, known locally for their warm intimate vibes and as a place for local producers, DJs and friends to get together and network.
Healey says of Uncomfortable Beats that “I feel most comfortable with working with Dave (Di Paolo – Owner of Uncomfortable Beats and producer/DJ as Able8), we all have set roles in the crews and are all good friends. We all bounce ideas off each other.”
Healey and Di Paolo met in Melbourne at a residency they shared at the now-defunct Miss Libertine’s venue, but both originally came from Perth.
Rob’s history in Perth as an electronic musician started twelve years ago as a result of being around live band musicians, and he was also influenced by living with a drummer friend who set up a studio in their house.
“I started using a Roland MC505, chopped up funky breaks and used a lot of in-built synths. There were lots of cool bands around Perth like the Fascist Fair-Go party, who done sort of rock/funk/reggae, which influenced me. I also went to a lot of drum and bass parties.”
Healey evolved as a producer and got involved in underground warehouse parties, where he worked as part of a duo called Scratch Foundations, where he got to showcase his brand of breaks and develop his ideas.
Rob moved to Melbourne in 2006, where he later begun studies at RMIT to study his degree in sound production, finishing in 2010.
“I highly recommend that particular degree to anyone looking to get into sound.”
His goal was to work as a sound engineer, which he has now achieved as a goal. Unlike other engineers, he passionately loves his work.
“I’m so thankful for the opportunities I receive and it teaches me more about the realm of sounds all the time. Sound is a conscious object and there is so much to it, you can spend your whole life dedicated to it and only scratch the surface.”
During this time studying, Rob created his concept for Ghostsoul as a creative idea, and as a consciously-evoked plan to float his new music and production.
“I wanted Ghostsoul to be a sort of disembodied character, floating around in space as something sensed rather than seen. Life is pretty meaningless, but the beauty of it is that we all have the option of creating our own meaning with it. I also regard myself as a ghost outside of the scene these days.”
When asked in regards to if he preferred set systems over innovation and spontaneity, Rob replied that “in order for anything to come to fruition, there has to be a set plan of what you wish to achieve first”, which seemed to me a juxtaposition in that Rob had created a solid shadow of substance in Ghostsoul, rather than an insubstantial idea.
Ghostsoul self-released his first EP Broken Symmetry in 2011 as a limited release CD, and played regularly at smaller venues all over Melbourne.
“The Melbourne beats community as I know it is groups of loosely associated friends who are in it for the creativity rather than actual money. (laughs) I mean, let’s be honest, there’s not much money in it.”
This release was followed up by one on Hopskotch Records with EP Caught in the Unreal, which continued his travel into ethereal and clean hip-hop instrumental and reggae-infused beats, and continued to polish his production concept.
Now Ghostsoul is launching his first full-length album Celestial Artifacts this Thursday at the Worker’s Club in Fitzroy. The title is suggestive of Rob’s love of science fiction and his (rather nihilistic) life philosophy, which is yet evocative of life obtusely clinging on in the middle of nowhere.
“(Celestial Artifacts) is trying to encapsulate that sense of bits of dust floating through the universe, which contain transmissions of life as it was on dead planets far away.”
Come and judge for yourself as Rob and fellow Melbournian producers Forsue and Able8, and interstate acts Ribongia (Sydney) and How Green (Adelaide – appearing for his first time in Melbourne) will complete the Uncomfortable Beats’ team line-up for the Celestial Artifacts launch.
7pm-12am. The Workers Club, 51-55 Gertrude St, Fitzroy. $10/20 with copy of Celestial Artifacts.
Written by Kristian Hatton.