By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Highly regarded for their ability to grab you with melodies and stage presence alone, Baton Rouge, LA. based alternative/pop-punk outfit Sorry Ghost recently released their debut album ‘The Morning After.’
The trio that make up Sorry Ghost – Vocalist/Bassist Daniel Anton, Vocalist/Guitarist Matthew Polito and Drummer Tyler Hernandez – are collectively proud of the album, which came as a result of songs they wrote in their bedrooms while they hung out.
The Music Bugle recently had the opportunity to catch up with the trio about the release and more.
Music Bugle – How would you describe the “scene” in Baton Rouge, LA. for your genre of music?
Matthew Polito – While there isn’t much of a pop-punk scene in Baton Rouge, the music scene is made up of some great people who care a lot about supporting musicians and performers. There isn’t really one genre in B.R. that’s large enough to have its own scene, so you get a lot of mixed bill shows that don’t really make a lot of sense on paper, but somehow make for great shows in practice. One of our favorite places to play in B.R. is this little reggae club downtown called Culture Bar, run by a great, mysterious man from East Africa named Olu. Despite being a pop-punk band, Olu was always tremendously welcoming of us in his bar, leading to a ton of great shows with bands of all genres in a town where it’s easy to feel disconnected from one another.
Music Bugle – What inspired the name, ‘The Morning After’ for your new album? What was the creative process like of putting it together?
Matthew Polito – The album title actually came about almost backwards. Long before we had picked out a title or even finished putting together a track listing, we had a clear vision of the artwork – a ghost shaped pancake with sunny-side-up eyes and a bacon smile. We weren’t sure how exactly this would tie in with the album, but we were so set on the visual that we just decided to work backwards from there and lo and behold, ‘The Morning After’ was born. The album itself came together over the course of two separate week-long recording sessions, each about a year apart. Most of the songs were already finished when we hit the studio, but a few still needed a few tweaks. One of the most significant parts of turning the songs we’d written into the songs you hear on the album is the involvement of our engineer/producer/life coach Jonathan Dolese. Jonathan was never afraid to give us his input and thoughts on our songs, both good and bad, and the songs couldn’t have become what they are today without his honest input and tremendous work.
Music Bugle – Did you have any material that didn’t make the cut for your new album?
Daniel Anton – Oh, so much. We affectionately refer to all the songs that didn’t make the cut as the “SG Graveyard.” In this graveyard, there are some tracks that are just downright horrible and then others that were dissected for certain parts and morphed into new songs creating a Franken-song. We wrote about 40 songs total for the album and took the ten we liked best. If you hate the album, you should just imagine the 30 that didn’t make the cut.
Music Bugle – Has the recent outbreak of COVID-19 affected the band directly in any way?
Tyler Hernandez – Firstly, I’d like to wish everyone reading and their loved ones the best amid this pandemic. We’ve been very fortunate in that none of us or our family members have contracted the virus. Although times are tough, we’ve been trying to make the best out of it by promoting ‘The Morning After’ like our life depended on it and working on some new tunes for the next release. We also have a collaboration in the works that we think is going to rock your socks off! Stay tuned for that!
Music Bugle – What made you decide to release “Nosedive” and “Bumper Cars” as singles? What significance do those songs have for you guys?
Matthew Polito – Despite being recorded almost a year apart, “Bumper Cars” and “Nosedive” were each sort of the flagship song from each of their respective sessions. As soon as we heard the first cuts Jonathan sent us of those songs, we knew that those were the ones that showcased our sound at its core. They capture the spirit of Sorry Ghost (ha!) in a way that perfectly conveys to a new audience exactly what we’re about.
Tyler Hernandez – I like to think of “Bumper Cars” as a refreshing appetizer. It’s the “pop-punk comfort food” that ignites those feelings of nostalgia that all of us twenty-something year olds grew up on. It makes me want to eat an entire pizza and then attempt a kickflip on my beat-up skateboard. Then, there’s “Nosedive”: the main course. This song showcases a modern and unique twist on typical pop-punk and embodies the direction in which our future music is headed. Our goal is to ride that sweet wave of nostalgia right into your heart with “Bumper Cars” and then blow your mind with “Nosedive.”
Music Bugle – What’s your most meaningful song or set of lyrics that you like to quote the most?
Daniel Anton – Here’s a serious answer – I write all the lyrics, so for me, the most meaningful song on the album is “Foundation.” I wrote it about my mom after she passed away and it contains some words she spoke to me. I repeat these to myself daily when I’m searching for strength. Specifically, “The more we dwell the more it stings / we’re always stronger than we think / I’ll still visit you in dreams.” My hope is those words provide comfort for others.
Matthew Polito – One of the most significant lyrics to me comes in one of my personal favorites, “Right At The Start.” “Keep the pressure down and silence all the sounds/pace yourself, pace yourself.” It’s a brief line, but it holds a lot of weight to me as someone who often feels overwhelmed by the world and the pressures and responsibilities of everyday life. It’s just a reminder to take a deep breath, let go of any distractions and just move at your own pace. Plus, it’s the only line on the whole album where I’m the lead vocalist, so it holds an extra little place in my heart.
Music Bugle – Did you listen to any particular artists while putting together your new songs?
Tyler Hernandez – I was actually listening to a wide range of music when working on these songs. Everything from pop music like Harry Styles to Emarosa and even all the way to some hardcore music like Beartooth. I think that’s what allowed me to ensure our songs were catchy, but also intriguing from a musical standpoint and of course, Brian Lada from Belmont and Luke Holland were huge inspirations for writing many of the drum compositions on ‘The Morning After.’ They’re absolutely incredible musicians and you should definitely check them out!
Music Bugle – Which music video was your favorite to shoot?
Daniel Anton – I’ll always have a soft spot for the first music video we ever did for “Triangles” way back in 2016 when only Matt and I were consistent members of the band and we were very green. The shoot took place over three days in the summer after our sophomore year of college and it was so much fun. We shot it at a high school literally down the street from Matt’s house and called the school a few days to ask for permission to film. We said we were filming a school project, but literally as we finished our last shot of the band under the bleachers at night, three cop cars came rushing in sirens with sirens blaring. They’d gotten several noise complaints, but they were some easy-going cops and after they asked us to stop, they said they’d watch the video when it came out.
Tyler Hernandez – The “Bumper Cars” music video was the first time I ever felt like a real-life rockstar. I’ll never forget being politely asked to vacate the premises of the local arcade because Matt jumped the counter to get the perfect ending shot. Pixel Collective honestly deserves an award for making us look so professional while we played arcade games and mini-golf. and P.S., the worst to create was the “Ampersands” Official Refrigerator Video. If you look it up, you’ll understand my newfound hatred for the alphabet.
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder for a band to stand out these days?
Tyler Hernandez – I feel like while social media illuminates just how oversaturated the music industry is, we’ve been lucky enough to gain and interact with our incredible fans in a way that we wouldn’t have otherwise. We put a ton of effort into our social media – especially Instagram – and I believe that’s why it’s been so beneficial to us. It’s a medium through which we can showcase our personalities and show our utmost appreciation to every single one of our fans. If you ever want to talk to us, feel free to send us a DM or comment on a post. We respond to all of them!
Music Bugle – What’s something you feel people should know about the band?
Daniel Anton – The music is only the vehicle of expression we use to connect with people. All Matt and I ever wanted when we started this band was to hopefully make at least one person’s life better and for them to feel like they have a friend in us no matter what. We strive to be kind, approachable, and honest in everything we do and hopefully make a few people laugh along the way.
Matthew Polito – A friend of mine who had a band in high school once told me, “It’s better to play a show to one person that truly wants to be there than 1,000 who don’t.” Those words have always stuck with me, especially through our fair share of shows with an occasionally sparse audience. As long as there’s one person that cares, it’s worth it, but even one more than that, we strive to make sure that no matter how many fans we have, we treat each fan as if they’re the only one. A strong fanbase isn’t a monolith of indiscernible faces. It’s made up of hundreds and thousands of individuals, all equally as important as the next. We want each and every one of our fans to know that no matter how small or large the relationship we have with them is, their support means the world to us, and we couldn’t do it without them.
Tyler Hernandez – I couldn’t have said it better than Daniel and Matt. If we’ve managed to put a smile on your face, our job is done. All we hope for is that you have as much fun listening to ‘The Morning After’ as we did creating it.