Ghostpoet, known to his folks as Obaro Ejimiwe, spent a good deal of the summer performing at festival after festival, gearing up to his forthcoming winter tour and homecoming London date at Hackney Empire on Thursday 24th October. “I’m sorting my studio, I just bought some analogue stuff, trying to sort it out so that I can make stuff and just be creative,” he explains over the phone from East London.
He signed to Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label just a few years ago and has since been nominated for a Mercury award, produced two groundbreaking albums and an armful of classic singles. Keeping his cards fairly close to his chest, Obaro is in the process of working with ‘people’. “People who will remain nameless!” he continues. It’s the kind of up-and-coming artists he’s found just through scouting the internet that really grab his attention. “People that just make you think, ‘Damn, I wish I was making stuff like that’.” Passionate about the music that’s played a key role in his life, Ghostpoet reveals his Lucky 7…
What is the track that reminds you of your childhood?
“Probably a Michael Jackson tune of some sort or other. Probably ‘Thriller’, that has some early memories. Every household had that album, it’s one of those tracks, always stands the test of time, a great tune.”
What was the first record that you ever bought?
“Badly Drawn Boy’s ‘The Hour of Bewilderbeast’, that was the first record that I bought, from Woolworths, back in the day. It was music and pick 'n' mix, that was the things that I remember from Woolworths. I was intrigued by the artwork, this is before the days of the internet, or the internet as we know it now.
And a lot of music that I knew of was via the radio or recommendations or looking at artwork and thinking, ‘That’s interesting, what’s the music behind that?’ And that was the first record that I was able to buy myself and yeah, I’ve loved it ever since. It’s based on a Leonardo da Vinci portrait of a man on a circular background, he used that as an inspiration and there’s a collage of a forest scene and it captures your attention. I bought it on CD, I need to get it on vinyl.”
What is the cheesiest record in your collection?
“Again this is in storage, but Simply Red ‘Something Got Me Started’. I really like the piano. It’s very dramatic at the beginning and then that piano. It had some really cool remixes, it was really interesting. I really liked it. It’s not something that I would listen to now. It was a good pop tune at the time.”
What’s the track that’s guaranteed to make you cry?
“Probably UB40’s ‘Food For Thought’. I love this song. It reminds me of growing up, south London living. Lovely tune. It’s got a lot of emotion, the way it’s composed.”
What’s an album that you’re currently into?
“I like Jon Hopkins' new one. I really like it, he’s a great composer, a great producer. It really holds itself together — some of the tracks are really amazing. And I keep listening to it and hearing new things in it.”
What is the record in your collection that you most treasure?
“Probably this record that I got in Amsterdam, Muddy Waters and The Rolling Stones. Muddy Waters was doing a gig at that time and they just turned up and started playing with him. I’m a massive Muddy Waters fan, I saw this record and I didn’t realise 'til I got it home that it was the recording of that night. It’s not valuable in terms of money, but I’m really pleased I’ve got that.”
What is your all-time favourite track of all-time?
“It’s not the easiest question, it changes all the time. But today it would have to be Roy Davis Jnr and a track called ‘Gabriel’. This tune is amazing, it’s one of these tunes, that every time I hear it, wherever I am, I think ‘God…’. There’s other tunes that I love, but this tune is like, every time I hear it it’s still new to me. It doesn’t sound dated, it’s so steeped in soul and emotion, it’s a heavy heart that wrote this song, I could be completely wrong but that’s what I get. The bassline is ridiculous, love it, love it.”