Featured Interview || Ghastly
Afraid of ghosts? There is no need to be afraid of this one that has the EDM community craving more of as of late, Ghastly!
Formally known as David Lee Crow, Ghastly, seems to have done it all. From growing up in Arizona on a goat farm, to living out of his van in Venice Beach, California the former resident DJ to Exchange LA has even scored on major labels. The latest being OWSLA, the label to his dear friend and artist who helped produce his hit, ‘Crank Dat’, MIJA. His ability to remain humble and to keep a genuine connection with his fans, with acts such as his Deleted Random Facts (DRF) series via Instagram, where Crow shares bits and pieces of his crazy journey, is what really sets him apart from the rest.
Stream Ghastly – Fuk Watchu Think (feat. Jameston Thieves) on SoundCloud:
Ghastly has grown so much this past year and yet even now he knows he still has work to do. It’s his love for his fans and his ingrained work ethic that has not only propelled him this far but it’s what really sets him apart in the industry. He may be no Casper, but it is clear that this ghost is not going anywhere but straight to the top! We recently had a chance to sit down and chat with me, here’s what he had to say:
You just finished you set at OMNIA San Diego, how did the energy in the crowd feel during your set?
It was fantastic. I was really surprised with not only the turnout but the continuous hype-ness of the crowd. You know asking people to stay hype for an hour and thirty minutes, not involving the hours leading up to that hour and thirty minutes is asking a lot of people. And it was really cool to see that people really wanted to be a part of it. And I saw people making friends in the crowd; I like to pay attention to what’s happening, I’m all about reading the crowd because I wing my sets every time. That’s the only way that I can make my sets personal to that night and personal to that crowd. And with the reaction that I was seeing, I was very pleased, I was very happy about it. Definitely!
That’s awesome. Yeah, we made so many friends just up at the front.
Fuck yeah! Fuck yeah! That’s something I cherish a lot about my fan base, is everyone who seems to follow my music and like my music is really fucking nice! They’re not douche bags at all. A lot of really good people and that is so cool. I would hate to, I don’t know, have a brand that appealed to those people. I don’t even need to elaborate, you know what I mean.
Being so close to the border, San Diego has a lot of Mexican food options, what would you say is your favorite type of burrito?
Well I mean, you know, carne asada is always gonna be god! But you know, I would say a shrimp burrito is Moses and then I would say a chicken burrito is Jesus and I would say a spicy, kind of, not carne asada but a… what’s another delicious meat?
Surf and Turf or Chorizo?
Chorizo! Yeah Chorizo is the devil yo! Chorizo is truly the devil. We find that out when we go to the bathroom. ‘Cause he has to go back to hell and there’s like one way there.
Literally the best fucking analogy I’ve ever heard.
No, I fuck with the devil
How did growing up on a goat farm shape who you are today?
Oh man, it fully did. It definitely did. It taught me to work my fucking ass off even when the benefits of your hard work aren’t shown right away. You can learn through the process of working your ass off that it’s going to be worth it if you just keep doing it. And my parents always taught me, “Work hard, work hard.” That’s something my dad would always say to me. He’d say, “Work hard.” And it’s a quote in my mind that I hear every day when I wake up and it’s from working on the farm for so long. Since I was 10 years old I was working. When I was 10, I was in the fucking shop, I was selling chocolate milk and souvenirs. And then I would fucking do all kinds of things around the farm, feed animals, merchandising, fucking… I would help run the mechanics, all that shit. And it taught me to just not worry about where you’re at, so long as you know where you’re going and you’re gonna work your ass off on your way to get there. And I’m eternally thankful for that, you know? It would have been awesome to have grown up in Los Angeles, you know, be a part of the city from the beginning, but for me personally I have nothing against the fact of where I come from, because it taught me to be who I am and helped me adapt to where I went.
On that note, coming from Arizona, how have you seen that community grow since you began your career?
Arizona’s grown a lot. I mean at first I got into the whole dance music scene out there because of the fact of… that was my first rave, was in Arizona. I went to this thing call blood fest. Which just to give you an idea of what that was like. It was this giant warehouse with all ages, like literally a five year old could show up and they would be allowed in. And everyone’s butt naked covered, not butt naked, but may as well be, covered in blood. I remember this moment, when I was freaking out a little bit and this guy got lifted up and there’s this giant tarp over the ceiling and he takes a scythe and he’s dressed like a grim reaper and he takes this scythe and slashes it open and fake blood pours over the whole crowd and I’m just looking at this while – KONG KONG KONG KONG KONG KONG is happening and I’m like, what the fuck is going on? This is really crazy! They’ve grown a lot from those days, obviously we all know that EDM became a mass cultural movement and Arizona did not get left in the dust, they just kept growing with it. In fact, tomorrow I’m going to play Insomniac’s BOO!
I’ll be there!
Oh nice, nice! Yeah it’s gonna be a good one.
I’m so stoked I haven’t seen G. Jones, and I’ll get to see you again.
Oh G. Jones is fire! G. Jones is so cool, I’m a huge fan of G. Jones
So you recently returned from your European tour, what was the response to your sets there and do they get as rowdy as the crowds here do?
Wonderful is what the response was, but I have to say, from the bottom of my heart, I’ve never seen anywhere quite as crazy as Cologne, Germany. Cologne is insane! These people come to the show as a squad. The entire room was full, it was sold out, packed room. But they all interact with each other in a really “neanderthalistic” way, where, not a single drop was… they didn’t fucking leave one drop to just happen. Not one drop was just like OK. They, every time, would get down low, they would all put their arms on each other’s shoulders. The whole room would get super low, and they would pump each other up and everyone would go ballistic the whole time, for every drop. So I think Germany is the craziest and as far as just Europe in general the response was really good. I was very happy about how everything turned out over there. First time over there, people knew what was up and people were giving me little fucking ghastly Pokémon and shit. Fuck yeah it was cool!
OWSLA recently had their 5th anniversary show in LA, what has it been like to work with Skrillex and the OWSLA family?
Incredible. I have so much thankfulness towards that whole team. Sonny and everyone involved because they literally… Sonny is the one that said, hey, we’ll give you an opportunity and we’ll see what you do with it. He gave that opportunity to me and I gave it my best shot and I made the most it. So I’m eternally grateful to him for giving me that shot. It changed my life. Just his ability to say, here I’m gonna shine some light in your direction, let’s see what you do with it, because this happens to a lot of artists, the spotlight will shine on them and they’ll think “Oh, I made it, cool, I’m done!” But I’d seen it already and I knew that, that wasn’t making it that was the opportunity. And he gave me that opportunity so I took it.
I read in a previous interview that you did a track for OWSLA and then you did a second track, but they didn’t necessarily like that one as much because you had deviated?
Yeah, yeah I did and this was very early because the very first song I made as Ghastly was put out on their label. And I was like, “Oh shit, I made it” and they were like OK we want an EP from you and I totally deviated, like you said, from my style and started making what I thought people would like and you know, I made six songs and they were like, “what is this? this isn’t anything like what you were making.” And I realized then and there that the best art doesn’t come from making things for other people, it comes from making things for you and then sharing it. And then I returned back to my basics and then bass house came in at the same time and that’s what I was accidentally making already. So I was like, alright, cool, let’s do it!
What has it been like going from being a festival attendee to an event promoter to headlining and playing those same events in the span of two years?
It’s fucking weird! Honestly, it’s really mind-blowing because I still love watching and participating and I still have so much respect for all the promoters and people who put their hard hours into making these things happen. I don’t neglect any of these people who are a part of the show in general. But yeah, it’s crucial, every single person who is involved with the show is a crucial element to it. And a lot of people forget that, they always focus on the artist but they don’t remember that the sound tech, the visual, the promoter, all the way to the bottle service, all the way to the janitor who’s handing out gum in the restroom. Everyone matters, without all of them there’s no night, there’s just a place.
You collaboration with Jauz, “Ghosts and Sharks” was a massive hit, what was your favorite place to play that track together?
Oh, together? I think one of my favorite places to do it was where I almost killed myself. It was at Sun City Music Festival, he was playing it and my manager Moe comes up to me and he’s like, for this drop I’m gonna have them do full pyro, FULL PYRO, fire is gonna go everywhere and I’m like OK, cool! So I go on top of the stage with Sam and Sam’s on the left and I’m on the right, and I see him and its building up. And I’m like OK, I’m just gonna go for it, I’m just gonna fucking go for it. And I could see where the spouts for the fire were and I had this one area that if I landed in it I would be OK but if I went too far to the right or too far to the left or a little too far forward I would be singed into a little fucking piece of ash. I would have been ripped apart by that pyro. So I just jumped into it, and right on the drop fire exploded right in front of me and I saw it and I thought, “OH my God this was a mistake!” And then I landed and it stopped, and I was like “OH, that was awesome!” So to almost die with my homie and with my team in front of all those people, I think that was my favorite.
The charity you selected to support with your Electric Family bracelet was Bridges for Music. What led you to supporting that cause and do you feel more artists should give back?
What led me to supporting that cause is that there are people out there who have a lot of incredible artistic talent who don’t have the funds or the means to chase it or have that drive and I felt, why not give to that community more than any other, because, you know, there are public school that have guitar programs, there are public schools that can teach you choir, and we’re talking about countries where they don’t even consider music. And this is giving them an opportunity to have that. And I think that’s crucial and I think every artist should give back because it’s a damn shame if you can earn your way all the way to a point of making it a career and not giving back, just out of pure morality.
A year ago you made a playlist on SoundCloud called, How to Get Laid. If you could re-lose your virginity to any song on that playlist, which song would you pick?
Either Ceros Untitled Number 3 or, oh shit, what are they called, they did that one song [sings some]… I can’t remember what they’re called, I feel like such a sham right now. But I love their music and they have this one… dammit. Let’s go with the soundtrack from Cruel Intentions, “Colorblind” by Counting Crows, let’s go with that.
What are you currently working on right now and are there any surprises in store for Ghastly fans in the rest of the year?
There’s a surprise at every show because I have no idea what I’m going to play. And I just wrote 3 songs yesterday and I have a ton more that are just waiting to be released. Our release schedule is definitely, we’re focused more on releasing with OWSLA right now because we still have a couple more songs we have to do with them as well, and I’m very happy to do that. But for the future, there’s albums that I’m planning. I have a whole schematic of different idea that it sucks, there’s one thing that sucks about being an artist is that you can only share one idea at a time. If I had it my way I would just unleash everything at once and then just let it keep flowing out, but you have to have… everything needs to be catered in a specific way, so there’s nothing but surprises and things in store for everyone who cares to give their attention to it and yeah I’m looking forward to it.
Finally, how much of your random deleted facts are 100% true?
All of them are 100% true
There are so many posts online where people say they can’t possibly all be true.
I know and I’ve seen that. I’ve seen people say that. I have not built my career off of lies or you know skepticism, or anything like that. It’s all real. All of these things have happened to me, that’s why I like sharing them. So I can let people know I’m just as human as you are.
We love reading them. They’re fucking awesome.
But half the time everyone just says it’s so outrageous, how can this possibly be true.
It’s true bro. I promise you from the bottom of my heart, I have people, if it ever came down to like a court of law situation, I have a witness for every single one of those stories. I promise. Straight up. All the way from that hooker licking me in the ear. I have squads that can attest to that. Getting arrested on skid row while I’m wearing American flags, I have people who can attest to that. There are so many, all of them are true. My girlfriend, or my ex-girlfriend trying to cut, my name that was tattooed on her foot, off of her foot at 4am with a fucking pocket knife, well, she’s the only one who can attest to it. I’m sure she won’t say it, but I watched that shit happen. I promise you bro. I have her name on my foot just to prove how real it is.