By Kalvin Valdillez
Local up-and-coming rock band, Ghosts of the Pacific, is steadily increasing their number of fans and playing a handful of local shows. Officially forming in 2016, the band has been hard at work writing and recording their debut album while also performing live shows and shooting a music video trilogy. The band draws influence from a number of legendary rock groups and artists across several different genres, but upon hearing their music, you can tell that Ghost of the Pacific is definitely a Seattle rock band.
“I think we categorize ourselves as hard rock, but it’s a pretty wide range of stuff that we cover,” states guitarist, Sean Kebely. “We can get pretty heavy and then we’ll have a song that’s almost ballad-esque. We kind of cover all the spectrums but meld into one. We’re a diverse hard rock band.”
Sean, along with his father and Ghosts of the Pacific keyboardist David, originally started the band which was previously known as Ashes of Mercury.
“Shawn came to me and we started this project,” explains David. “He’s been in several bands before and this is my first project. It’s been amazing, I had to learn how to play with a band because before I was used to doing mostly solo stuff. We used to do a Christmas show every year at a Montessori school. He and I would perform Christmas rock and roll songs to open the show and we also did a few open mics doing The Doors covers. But this is my first time playing with a band.”
Ashes of Mercury went through several lineup changes before enlisting Josh Williams on vocals and Michael Ball on drums. By this time, Sean and Dave were ready for a new beginning and decided on a name change. They erased all the previous vocals from their songs and sent the tracks to Josh asking him to write his own original lyrics for the songs. Josh, who is the son of Tulalip tribal member Terry Williams, provides the band with gravelly and raspy vocals, reminiscent of early grunge bands.
“I’m from the Tulalip Indian reservation, I grew up there my whole life,” says Josh. “I’ve been in different projects and bands and Ghosts of the Pacific has been a solid act. These are cool guys, we hooked up about a year ago and have done a lot of work since then. I was raised heavy in the eighties music scene. I loved the nineties, got way into Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Tool and even branched off when nu-metal came like Linkin Park and Papa Roach. I like to adapt to what’s going on in the music scene and dig into that. I don’t stay dated, I try not to. I think it’s harder now because of Spotify, it’s hard to follow any specific musical direction.”
“That’s why I was saying that we fall under hard rock,” concurs Sean. “That’s definitely the best genre that we fit. Because of the variety of influence we each have, you get a taste of everything. Right now we’re actually doing the album, I think we’re a little over halfway there of getting all the tracks down. It usually starts out as a guitar riff, Josh and I both play guitar so he’ll throw riffs my way and I’ll throw some riffs his way.”
“Over time, it morphs,” states David. “We all start putting our pieces in and it just kind of grows.”
Each member of Ghosts of the Pacific spoke passionately about music and their desire to inspire a new generation of musicians.
“I think music definitely benefits the youth, it did for me. When I picked up guitar at sixteen, I was in love with it,” Josh expresses. “With music you can explore and express, it gives you that outlet. Rappers and rockers will say that music is an outlet to take out their frustrations. You go to shows to release energy in the mosh pit or just to sit and watch a great band. Music is an outlet they can utilize when they feel like they have nowhere to go.”
“I started buying records at ten years old, they were singles, 45s,” shares David. “Especially in the wintertime, when I was living back east, we’d go in the basement of the school building, someone would bring a record player and the 45s and we would just dance. It was a way to interact and connect socially through the music. We’d discuss what we liked and what we didn’t like. And even in school, dances are always a big social event. After school, we always had the stereo going. Music has always been like a common language that we all can express and enjoy. I think it’s important as a means to communicate and meld socially.”
“Even if it’s not music, finding a hobby and something to focus your time and energy on is huge,” adds Sean. “I picked up guitar at thirteen. After school there’s a lot of free time to get into trouble but if you find something to focus on and expel most of your energy on you’ll have a brighter future and can do away with some of that negative stuff.”
Josh adds that having a great support system is a big help and credits the Tulalip Casino for allowing him to work on his music while working with them for nearly twenty years.
When asked for words of advisement for young musicians, Michael simply stated, “Anyone can play music and don’t ever think you can’t.”
“Come out and see us live,” states Sean. “We put a lot of time and effort into our live shows. We really try to make it a spectacle because that’s one of the reasons people go to shows, to feel the energy and emotion of the bands and I feel we really try to express that.”
For more information and to hear music by Ghosts of the Pacific please visit www.GhostsofthePacific.com. The band is currently planning to release the final music video of the trilogy this fall. In the meantime, please check out New Forgotten (part one) and Human Machine (part two) videos on the band’s YouTube page.