How Terry Grant thrives as a true one-man band
Some forms of self-expression are inherently collaborative, and others are clearly a solitary effort. How many photographs or paintings were made by more than one person? But music is generally, to a greater or lesser degree, a team effort. Even artists who compose and arrange on their own usually work with a producer and an engineer, or bring in session musicians to flesh out their ideas. But not Terry Grant, known as More Ghost Than Man. That name, unsurprisingly, says Grant, comes from a lingering sense of alienation. “I guess I always felt a bit out of place in most situations. Like I was there but didn’t belong, and if I stood still long enough, everyone would forget I’m even there. The name comes from this feeling. Besides, I thought it sounded good. I should probably talk to someone,” Grant adds with a laugh.
Grant, 48, is a true solo band, but he is also a videographer, conceptualist, in addition to being his own engineer and producer. Unusual, but, you might be thinking, so what? How much I would say, so many! The music and videos are without exception pristine designs, imbued with emotion and empathy, deep and complex, yet pleasing to the ear.
So how did someone from Canton, Ohio — a small town about an hour south of Cleveland where the only notable thing is that it’s home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame — ended up moving to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1997? and now finds himself living and working alone, producing the musical equivalent of giant skyscrapers?
“I was a guitarist in a hair metal band with aspirations of being Eddie Van Halen,” Grant says. “The irony here is I had a silly haircut, it looked like my mom had it. I decided to move to Nashville with the goal of becoming a session player and I’m fell in love with the creative energy of the city, how I also realized that I needed more than just a guitar to get my ideas out there.
Hermetically sealed existence isn’t the easiest way to create such amazing music and videos, though. Does Grant enjoy all the pressure he puts on himself? “Basically, it’s two things: I’m not married and I don’t have children, so my only responsibility is my job. And yes, the pressure is intense, but my secret weapon is my sense of purpose. If you’re lucky enough to find something you totally believe in, just do it. To be honest, I don’t know how not to do what I do.
There is also the undeniable shyness evoked in his response about his artist name. “Most of the ideas I have feel so ‘out there’ that I’m embarrassed to let anyone else see inside the process. The truth is, I often feel like a gigantic idiot for large parts of the process of creating anything, and it’s only when I realize this crazy thing is actually going to work. , that I’m starting to feel like I know what I’m doing. I can see the final product in my head, but everyone else will only see what’s incomplete, weird, disturbing, or just plain dumb for which they stand, and I guess I don’t like the idea of that.
Grant’s latest single, “We Have All the Time in the World” is taken from his extraordinary 2021 LP The worlds we created there. The track was released in April on 8D Industries and features a rolling, dragging groove, haunting melody, and is accompanied by video of a person (guess who?) in a post-industrial spacesuit floating through spectral space. time continuum.
Needless to say, Grant did absolutely everything, including making the costume. “I’ve done costumes before, so this costume, while it looks convincing, wasn’t as hard to create as it looks. I knew I really wanted to do a classic outfit, and the costume, much like the video itself, came together quite naturally. The languorous nature of the images forms a beautiful juxtaposition to the song.
Despite the title, it is not a cover of the Louis Armstrong song of the same name. “I hadn’t even considered Armstrong’s melody until long after the record came out. I actually have a running list of potential song titles, lyric fragments, and other random nonsense (that’s what I call it, actually) that I pull up every time I start a new piece. So the title would have come from there at some point,” he reveals.
The only big problem with being so totally, ruthlessly self-sufficient is the thorny issue of playing live. “I’ve been thinking about how to do a live show, and just me on stage, turning the knobs isn’t an option. I’d love to work with a rhythm section, and I’m exploring that possibility, but it’s not there are no concrete plans yet.
For anyone who hasn’t heard Grant’s music yet, it was summed up nicely by Grant in an interview with 5 Magazine as Berlin-era Bowie meets Massive Attack with a few more Flying Lotuses. But what brought him to electronic music and what does he currently listen to? “There was a three-hour block of electronic acts on MTV called AMP – that was around the time I moved to Nashville – and that got me into the Bristol sound, so of course Massive Attack, alongside acts like Tricky and Portishead, and simpler raves like Orbital and Underworld These days, what I usually listen to when I need to tune out is jazz (especially 70s psych and bebop) and ambient electronics. Currently though, I’m obsessed with Saharan rock guitar music like Mdou Moctar, Tinariwen and Bombino. So much energy in the music and a really eclectic mix of ‘influences that are somehow foreign and absolutely familiar at the same time. Highly recommended.’
Grant is currently preparing an as yet untitled short film and also occasionally works as a sound designer creating sample packs for Loopmasters, a company that creates and sells sample packs for DJs and producers. “For me, the best part of any piece of music that I work on is the early hours, when you’re just looking for a spark and it’s all sort of formless, and then, sky is the limit. The sound design is great because it’s like you can do this really fun track over and over again without having to wait for the rest to fall into place.
And when it comes to the film project, there’s a sense of urgency tied to Nashville’s notoriously unforgiving summers. “I’m looking to include a horror element this time around, and I’ll probably start building sets this month. God willing, I’ll be shooting it soon, before the temperatures here get so bad that I risk melt under the studio lights.
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