Hailing from Deland, Florida, Roadkill Ghost Choir is the indie-folk rock band you may not have heard of… Yet. Buoyed by the success of their “Quiet Light” EP, RKGC hit the ground hard in 2013, sharing bills and festival stages with the likes of Band of Horses and Futurebirds, and introducing their unique, almost psychedelic folk sound to fans across the country.
Dead Curious was lucky enough to catch up with frontman Andrew Shepard ahead of RKGC’s outstanding show in support of Futurebirds at Atlanta’s Buckhead Theatre. Enjoy!
Dead Curious: So you guys released Quiet Light a little over a year ago, and we haven’t heard from you–in terms of studio material–since. What’s the plan moving forward on another EP, maybe a full album?
Andrew Shepard: We’re actually recording a full length right now at Chase Park Transduction in Athens, Ga with Doug Boehm and David Barbe. We’re shooting for an April release.
DC: What’s the songwriting process like, where do you try to draw your inspiration from, and how do the dynamics within the band, particularly between you, Maxx, and Zach as brothers, play into that?
AS: The songwriting process starts with me on guitar or a keyboard of some sort. I’ll work out a chord progression and a melody by myself. After that I take it to the rest of the guys and we work it out the arrangement. At some point in between all that I’ll write the lyrics which are usually inspired by personal events.
DC: I noticed the other day on your Twitter or Instagram that you guys are apparently writing some “dark dark dark…” songs. Where does that inspiration come from and how does that approach differ from writing something that’s maybe a little poppier or brighter?
AS: Oh no, our Instagram is weird. Sorry about that. Lyrically, the band never ventures into happy go lucky stuff mostly because that’s not how life tends to work out. I write about what I know and things I find interesting. Our music is not void of hope but you won’t find many feel good tracks or sweet love jams on the new record.
DC: It’s my understanding that you guys have been touring and touring and touring for the last year, touching down at ACL, making frequent trips through the same city like Atlanta… How has being on the road so much impacted you guys as a band, and more importantly how do you feel the band has grown or developed over that time?
AS: Being on the road teaches you how to really play with your band mates. When you’re in a van for a month straight you tend to learn how they operate and it makes for a tighter live band. Touring can be incredibly rewarding or utterly dreadful. It can certainly change how you view and play music, at least it has for us.
DC: Do you feel that development and time spent on the road has caused your vision of a full-length debut album to change, or is there a blueprint you guys have had in mind that you’re sticking to? Put another way, is there a story to tell or is that story constantly undergoing revisions along the way?
AS: There’s always been a loose blueprint since the EP came out. Over time you evolve and things change which is necessary for the creative process but there are certain core ideas that remain. Many of the new songs were born out of the isolation and the loneliness that comes along with constantly being away from home. I realized after completing a few new songs that they all shared these common themes so I just sort of ran with it.
DC: You guys haven’t been doing this for a terribly long time, but I imagine you’ve been doing it long enough to have adjusted to a lot of things that must come with being a touring musician. Are there ever things that still surprise you or make you pinch yourself? I know for example that over 170,000 people have listened to Beggars’ Guild on Spotify… I feel like that’d freak me out a little…
AS: I’m always surprised after a really great show. When people are there actually listening and enjoying what you’re doing, it makes it all worthwhile for me. The biggest “pinch yourself” moment was our shows with Band of Horses. It was no doubt the best shows we’ve played as a band. We were lucky to do it.
DC: One last question and thank y’all so much for your time… But “War Damn Eagle” or “Go Noles”?
AS: I wasn’t sure what “War Damn Eagle” was until I googled it, so that probably answers your question. I guess I’ll say GO NOLES since I’m from Florida. I honestly know nothing about this stuff. Sorry!