the ghost inside hysteria

THE GHOST INSIDE // Strangers to Solace

The School of Life, a UK collective dedicated to bettering mental health through philosophy, says “happiness is the most gloriously boring state. We want for nothing; our souls are at peace, our minds are blank. This is delightful for us and can make us fascinatingly dull for others.” If this was how Las Vegas implants The Ghost Inside felt all the time, they’d pack up and play slots all day.

MORE: THE OFFSPRING: Smash … Shaping A Generation REVIEWS: NOFX: Half Album // DRAGONFORCE: Warp Drive Warriors // THE GHOST INSIDE: Searching for Solace

“That’s not real life,” says drummer Andrew Tkaczyk live from Black Box Studios in Las Vegas, NV. He’s steadying his phone with his hand, his flash of blonde hair going from italics to bold amid the wobble. He’s sitting in front of some gorgeous classic guitars and sporting a wry smile. It’s not happiness, as the School of Life defines it, though. “That’s not real life,” he says again, to drive the point home. “You know what I mean? You don’t grow as a person unless you go through shit. You don’t go anywhere. There’s no good without the bad. That’s how it works.”


Andrew knows this arguably more than anyone in The Ghost Inside; or most people you’ll encounter. That fateful afternoon in El Paso, Texas on the 19th of November, 2015 when The Ghost Inside’s tour bus collided with a truck claiming the lives of both drivers; and Andrew waking up after a ten-day coma to find his right leg was a casualty of the crash too. Though most of us would think he was done, fans and the band rallied around him. With prosthetics and custom kits at the ready, Andrew and The Ghost Inside were back. In a way, Andrew’s choice was made for him. Drumming to Andrew was like breathing to everyone else. Integrating his experience into the music was the only option.

“This band and this music and this outlet is all I’ve ever known,” he says. “I’ve been doing this band since we were teenagers. I was 17 when I first went on tour. I was 12 when I started playing drums. All I know is making music and having the outlet. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to not have it.

“I really think having this music and having this band and the fans that we have, and the support that we had through that whole accident kind of made it way easier to get through. That that was the motivation. The motivation came from that overwhelming support. I could not imagine going through it and not having that support and that happens every day. And that right there as a reminder to when I look down and see it every day,” he says, giving a nod to his absent leg, “that I’m very, very lucky and I am forever grateful that we’ve been able to come back as hard as we have and we could not have done that without so much support.”

The Ghost Inside made a statement of intent in 2020, playing to a rapturous crowd at UNIFY Gathering and releasing their critically acclaimed self-titled fifth album. With the usually spread-out band now making a home in Las Vegas (the normal part, not the Bellagio part) their mentality was simple: anything goes.

We approached the songwriting for this record and we started the process around Christmas of 2022,” Andrew says. “We’ve been working on it for a long time and sitting on it. We went into this one and we said, look, the table is completely clear. Anything goes. We’re going to not limit ourselves. We’re not trying to pigeonhole ourselves into some genre or just one thing. We are just going to freely and openly write what we think is sick, and that was a hell of a way to start the process of writing a record.”

Long time fans will recognise the inimitable The Ghost Inside sound, full of hard-hitting riffery and lofty, tear duct-tickling melody; but also be tackled head-on by large, boulder-heavy bangers like Death Grip.

It opened some new doors for us and it allowed us to reach out and work with some other people that are new to the band,” he says. “That sort of unlocked some things within the band that have been hidden all these years, so these people helped bring them out and it created this record that just turned out so cool. There’s the super brutal and heavy moments and in your face moments and then the next track can be super soft and emotional and hit you right in the feels. We had this whole pile of songs that sort of seemed to do that, and we all kind of would listen to the pile and go, ‘I like this ebb and flow.'”

I’m very, very lucky and I am forever grateful that we’ve been able to come back as hard as we have and we could not have done that without so much support.”
[ Andrew Tkaczyk, The Ghost Inside ]

Without and end goal in mind, the concept of the album came into focus – Searching for Solace – not Finding Solace. Apart from sounding uncool, the latter doesn’t speak the truth about how they approached songwriting and production.

“We sort of related that to how when we’re all dealing with something, we go on this mental journey and there’s lows and highs and you’re always going to be searching for an end,” he says. “You’re always going to be searching for… ‘I need to get to this goal where I’m happy.’ But then what? You’re never going to be truly happy. There’s always going to be something more. And it really is that old saying that it’s about the journey, not the destination. And that sort of presented itself as a concept when writing the songs and even the lyrical content. We were sitting there talking about this concept and then we thought of the name Searching for Solace. What could we say? It has alliteration and it comes off the tongue nicely. Trying to find peace, searching for solace, sounded catchy. It all just really organically happened and bundled itself together nicely for us. And we got to write songs that we didn’t know we could write, and it was just an absolutely amazing experience.”

The song Death Grip might seem morbid on paper but in real life – pwhoar. It really is a punch in the face and a call to arms. That said, it isn’t about resting in peace. It’s about living and fighting.

“It comes from a place of being pissed off, but in a positive way,” Andrew says. “I had this one riff that I had written and I had it demoed out. It was just that opening riff is the first riff I had. And when I was showing Dan Braunstein [Spiritbox, Dayseeker], our producer, he goes, ‘wait a second.’ He’s like, ‘play that again.’ We played it again. And right from there we just wrote that song lightning fast,” he says, snapping his fingers. “We were writing lyrics as we were writing riffs, and it was crazy how quick we were coming up with this concept for Death Grip and the lyrics. To sum it up, it’s about having a grip on death and how to handle what we went through; a near death experience. So we have an idea of what it’s like to almost be there and to maybe see it. So we have a grip on it. It’s almost a song that’s kind of like, we fucking beat it. Fuck you, death. We won. We made it through this.”

A happy coincidence is 2024 being the 20th anniversary of The Ghost Inside’s formation; one they share with co-conspirators and best mates Parkway Drive. Selected to support them on their mammoth September tour with I Prevail and Void of Vision, how does it feel being in a band of a two decade vintage?

“Man, it makes you feel old as shit. I’ll tell you that.”

Okay, apart from that.

“When I look back on it [joining in 2011], I can’t believe what we’ve accomplished in that time. And to come back and do a proper full Australian tour, we came and did Unify, which was incredible, which was our second show back ever. That was just one show and it was out in the middle of nowhere Unify. This will be our first time coming back and doing multiple cities in Australia since we did the tour with I Killed the Prom Queen and that was September, 2014. This will be ten years since we’ve met a tour in Australia, which is insane. That’s crazy. For it to be our brothers in Parkway Drive? I mean they took us under their wing when I first joined the band. My first tour with The Ghost Inside was supporting Parkway Drive here in the States, and then we supported them in Europe.

“A couple of years later, we’ve played every festival under the sun with ’em. We’re very close with Parkway Drive. The fact that they asked us to do this such an honour. We said yes, without a doubt we have to do this. And I got to say I’m excited for everything we have coming up this year, but I am the most excited about that tour. I mean, that’s going to be the first time anywhere in the world that our band has been able to play arenas every day of the tour. It’s going to be pretty surreal.

“Australia is like a second home for The Ghost Inside. We’ve always felt very welcome there and we have so many friends there. I just cannot wait to come back.”

Searching for Solace drops 19th of April on Epitaph Records – Read our review here


With special guests

I Prevail
The Ghost Inside
Void of Vision

Friday September 20th – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane (SOLD OUT)
Saturday September 21st – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Sunday September 22nd – John Cain Arena, Melbourne (SOLD OUT)
Friday September 27th – AEC Arena, Adelaide SA
Sunday September 29th – HBF Stadium, Perth (SOLD OUT)

Remaining tickets available via Destroy All Lines


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