Ghost frontman Tobias Forge was asked by Rock 100.5 about his comments about a lack of ambition in the modern rock and metal scene in a recent interview:
“I was being asked about the future of arena rock, and I think more from a bigger, commercial point of view. I think that there’s plenty of talent and plenty of ambition out there.
“It doesn’t have to be an ambition flaw if you’re not aiming at the top. I know a lot of bands that are extremely talented and very good, but they’re not interested in becoming a ‘big band,’ or ‘making it.’
“Whereas some that are very adamant about making it don’t necessarily have what it takes, or time is not really on their side. I think it’s important to underline [that] what I meant was from more of a like, arena rock point of view, where there isn’t a whole lot of apparent new bands out there that you know, ‘That band will make it. That band will become big.’
“I guess there’s too many bands who have set their goals on a completely different level. When you’re doing that, then it’s very hard. You don’t accidentally turn into a big band. Not even Nirvana accidentally turned into a big band. They toured – they wanted to become a big band. They didn’t necessarily want to become that big of a band, but they still wanted to make a really good record and wanted to come out and tour.
“Most bands that don’t want to become big at all, they don’t play. If you don’t want to be known, if you don’t want to make it, don’t play. That’s the easiest way not to do it. I’m not necessarily critical of every band – I think there’s plenty of good bands out there.
“Across the board, not pointing fingers at specific bands at all – and this has been a problem for many years – I think that the problem is especially in current rock climate, 10, 15, 20 years maybe, is that there seems to be a lack of ingenuity. A lot of bands don’t want to be part of something that isn’t sort of current.
“Most bands in rock history, even though you were a prog band in 1973, you didn’t want to sound like a prog band from 1972. You wanted to sound like a prog band from 1974. A lot of bands, especially from where we come from… Ghost oriented from some sort of occult rock [scene].
“There was apparently a little bit of a movement at that point, and maybe there is still, of occult rock bands, but many of them – not all, but many have been so busy paying tribute and trying to mimic.
“If it’s certain bands that they want to become like, that’s fine, but if you have an ambition to become big or successful in any way, you need to at least try to use at least five different things to make your omelet.
“You need to sort of try at least to make it look like you’re doing something else, and not just an homage to this certain band that you want to be like. I think that’s been a problem in modern days in general. If you have a big band coming out in some way, be it Linkin Park or Franz Ferdinand… imagine all the bands after The White Stripes.
“All of a sudden, there were bands all over the place with two people. Everybody just looks around and becomes so influenced from what is currently happening. Sometimes, being influenced is very intuitive and very pure, but on the other hand, there’s also a lot of influence that is more from a thematic point of view – like, ‘This band seems to be doing well, and they’re doing this, so let’s do that.'”