Q&A with Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!

courtesy of Girlie Action.

If you don’t know Holy Ghost! by name yet, there is a good chance that you’d know one of their many remixes if you heard it on the dance floor. Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser have been best buds for twenty years, going all the way back to the 2nd grade (talk about old school)! Music has played a big part in their friendship in that time. Most recently and successfully as a DJ/Remix duo and live band Holy Ghost!. Their disco-inspired originals and retro-synth remix style has them in high demand as both producers and as an opening act.

Holy Ghost! are opening for Cut Copy at two sold out shows at 9:30 Club next week. Alex Frankel took some time out from the studio to answer a few questions about the band and his life-long friendship with his band-mate.

Michael Darpino: Last year you opened for LCD Soundsystem and Chromeo. This spring you are opening for Cut Copy. All of these bands are great pairings with your sound. Do you have a headlining tour planned for later this year? If so, who would you like to have as your support acts?

Alex Frankel: Right now, we don’t have a headlining tour planned. I’d love to do a tour with Hundred And The Hands or our buddies, and next remix project, Midnight Magic.

MD: You expanded your live act to a four-piece band. Was this as a result of needing more than 4 hands to realize your sound in a live setting? Or is a larger band the next logical step in Holy Ghost’s sound? Does the album coming out next month feature the four-piece or is it the two of you making all of the music?

AF: Recorded, it’s just us. But we play almost every instrument live on the record so we always knew we needed a larger live band. Luckily, we found two amazing bros and musicians, Erik and Chris.

MD: Were you guys aware of the 90’s techno producer The Holy Ghost when you chose the name of your band? If so, did you worry about your identities getting confused? Is that the origin of the exclamation point? If not, where did the exclamation point come from?

AF: No, we don’t know that dude. The exclamation point and name have been explained one thousand times, so I guess if anyone really cares, just Google it. But I would recommend googling “awesome cats!”

MD: I read that you two are childhood friends. How old were you when you met? If you remember, can you tell us about the first time you met each other?

AF: Nick is my homie since we were 7 years old bonding over comic book art class and other luxuries we had growing up in Manhattan. Nick skated and I couldn’t; I played b-ball and he couldn’t. So I guess we related like that too.

MD: When did you both realize you wanted to make music together? Did you have any early bands together? If so, what were they called and what kind of music did you play?

AF: Nick had recording gear in his crib before anyone. Nick was always up on that. So basically, anyone who wanted to make shit went over there. But yeah, I was always fond of his drumming and I think (hope) Nick liked the way I fondled a piano.

MD: How did you hook up with DFA/James Murphy?

AF: We met through a Gang Of Four AOL chatroom in 1996. Before chatrooms were punk.

MD: I have heard that you are both vintage synth collectors. Is this a joint collection, or do you both keep your rarities to yourselves? What is Alex’s favorite synth from the collection (or collections)? What is Nick’s favorite synth?

AF: I like pianos. Because I shred on them. So for me, its our Rhodes Mark 5, Clavinet, Wurlitzer, and CP60 that get me off. For Nick it’s a lot of things because he’s a deep gear nerd – beyond gear nerd – but if I had to speak for him I’d say one thing: HOME BUILT MODULAR SYNTH. He literally loves it.

Holy Ghost!
w/ Cut Copy
@ 9:30 Club
3/29 & 3/30 – 7pm

Michael splits his free time between defending the little guy and championing the underdog. He has been haunting the concert halls, dive bars, and greasy spoons of DC for the last 16 years. His interests include live rock music, researching obscure military/political conflicts, and good hamburgers. He is a friendly grump, has wisdom beyond his years, and is on a life-long quest to attain music nirvana. Follow him on Twitter if you dare!

2 thoughts on “Q&A with Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!

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