Ghost Liotta is the new project which involves producers and musicians names McAlister (The National), Christopher Wray (Butch Walker), Zac Rae (Death Cab For Cutie), and John Spiker (Tenacious D), incorporating vintage and modular synths, live drums, and a pedal steel guitar. They have released the first self-titled full-length which is out now. Check the full streaming below and read the full story.
Ghost Liotta began in 2017 when McAlister, Wray, and Rae were fresh off the road with their respective groups. The group recorded a series of improvised sessions at Zac’s longtime studio The Bank, serving as an outlet where the three could be as creative as they wanted without any restrictions. “The record was collaborative and creative at every possible stage,” says McAlister. “There was space for us each, in our creative voices, to make big statements. I was constantly surprised at how much of a sonic landscape we covered with so few elements. Each part was deeply considered, but still raw and not overworked.”
Days before their last stint of recording, the project was abruptly interrupted by a fire that permanently closed The Bank. The music was unfinished and feared gone until a couple of years later when the hard drives were rediscovered and handed over to mixer/producer and bass player for Tenacious D, John Spiker. “There was no one we trusted with this project more than Spiker,” says Wray. “If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have an album. He kept sending us tracks he’d found in those sessions and we were blown away. He’s truly the fourth member of the band.”
The end result is a unique mixture of instrumentation all performed live in the room. The microphones picked up breathing and squeaking of chairs. All of the synths were run through amplifiers, which contributes to the unique character and dimensions of the recordings. Instruments are processed and transformed in unexpected ways and while the music touches on many genres, it refuses to settle precisely into any one box. And speaking of the box, all of the sounds on this album were made outside of it. “There are amazing soft synth plugins out there, but we wanted to make something with the tools we love that exist as three dimensional objects in the spaces we occupy,” Wray says. “Not a single sound on the album comes from a plugin.”