Ghastly: Q&A with EDMs King of Thrills and Chills

by Aryelle Bewster

Known for his unique genre-bending music and eclectic style, Arizona native David Lee Crow continues to explore different approaches to his sound, keeping his fan base desperate for more. He’s better known by his stage name, Ghastly, and has gained noteworthy success over the past four years climbing to the top of the electronic charts and festival scene. His distinctive way of blending sounds and overall dark persona has set him apart from the typical cookie-cutter DJ. In May of 2018, he released his debut album The Mystifying Oracle, receiving renowned success along with a nationwide tour featuring an individualized Oracle Stage Production. Crow has definitely made a name for himself as the ghost with the most and continues to push the boundaries of dance music creating his own thrilling medley of ominous bass and house. I had a chance to sit down with Ghastly and talk about his upcoming Haunted House album, recent performances, and all things spooky.

AFM: How do you like being back in Arizona?

Ghastly: I absolutely adore it. Yeah, it’s very peaceful, very blissful.

AFM: Compared to L.A. I’m sure.

Ghastly: I mean don’t get me wrong, I love L.A. and L.A. has its major perks and privileges of living there. But I just needed a place- I wanted to come home from say three months of nonstop flights and touring and be able to relax and not hear sirens and homeless people attacking each other and all of the noises. Oh yeah, I had a girl who lived below me who was like a failed American Idol guest and she was still chasing that dream. But you could tell why she failed. (laughs)

AFM: She was working for it.

Ghastly: She was working and I can respect that, but I could hear her every day practicing and it just drove me crazy. And plus my family is out here.  And you know my parents are getting older and my nephews and nieces they’re all growing up and I wanted to be a part of their lives.

AFM: You’re back in Arizona but still traveling obviously. How do you feel coming back after your set at Lost Lands?

Ghastly: Oh, it was phenomenal. I absolutely love Lost Lands. It’s a really, really good time. It’s very unique because it’s created by a producer and DJ. So it’s curated in a very specific way that I really can get behind. And I love Goldrush as well. One hundred percent. I’m just saying that they’re slightly different vibes.

AFM: When it’s the actual artist that’s behind it.

Ghastly: Yeah. You know, but I love Relentless Beats. They’ve done so much for me and I’ve always respected the f*ck out of them. Oh yeah. But after Lost Lands I felt really, really good. And I felt so good that I decided to gather a group together and run into a cornfield. And I’ll tell you when you run into a cornfield those little leaves they turn into razor wire. And we just went “AHHH” like Naruto ran straight into it and it just f’d my neck up and I just didn’t even care in the moment. And it was like ” AH we’re in a cornfield!!”

AFM: Are we gonna get something similar to the set you had at Lost Lands?

Ghastly: Oh, yes. Very much so because this is a brand new curated set that I put a lot of work into, a lot of passion into. And I think anyone who’s heard me before is going to notice massive differences, but very welcomed differences. I worked really hard on it.

AFM: Obviously you’re not afraid of throwing down some bass, but you’re gonna be switching over more towards house so what can we expect there?

Ghastly: So there was a miscommunication and that was solely on my part when I made the tweet because people were interpreting it as like I was quitting Ghastly. And then I was like “F*ck”. Now I have to explain like, “no I’m not quitting Ghastly”. All I was explaining is that I’m creating this– Haunted House is going to be a volume series. So this is simply Volume 1. And so it allows me to shine some light on some artists who I think really need their footing. And deserve their footing. And I am just really, really happy to have a project where I can let out my house side and love that. But I wouldn’t necessarily call it a follow-up album to Mystifying Oracle because Mystifying Oracle is all over the place with BPMS and styles, but they all felt intertwined. Even though there were all kinds of different frequencies and BPMS and what have you, it’s still intertwined into one story and Haunted House isn’t necessarily a story about the album itself as much as it is an experience that we’re curating right now.

AFM: Speaking of experiences, the Halloween Blood Rave. Is that gonna kick-off that experience?

Ghastly: Oh. Oh. I mean that’s actually a whole other body in its own right. So that’s going to be something we do every year depending on who wants us to come the most. And I’m really excited to see how it pans out because people were doing paint parties for a long time and there was one thing I particularly wasn’t a fan about paint parties which was that I didn’t want that paint on me because it always turned into the same kind of gray color. And it’s like if everyone’s gonna get messy we should cover them in blood and it’ll be way more epic and you know that I’m gonna be on stage just like pouring blood in my mouth. Just like ” AHH we’re here”! Full-on like the opening scene of a Blade. We got sprinklers. We have literal blood cannons. Like literal cannons just fucking stacked with fake blood. It’s gonna be so epic. I’m so excited. But that actually I have to give a shout out to fucking Boo’s Warehouse back in 2009 I believe it was. That was the first rave I ever went to and it was called Blood Fest and it just tripped me out big time. How great and how much fun and how loving everyone was while they were all terrified and covered in blood. I was like “this is an epic experience”, especially on Halloween. Everyone’s gonna come in whatever outfit they want and just get covered in blood! (laughs)

AFM: On the topic of Halloween what would you say is your favorite part about Halloween or “spooky season”?

Ghastly: My favorite part about Halloween is that it even exists. I wish it was every day. Unfortunately, life doesn’t give you lemons all the time. And I like lemons. They’re like “make lemonade”. F that, I will eat lemons.

AFM: In the Halloween spirit, what is your favorite horror movie?

Ghastly: Ooh I can’t say a favorite, but if I had to say one that made me realize I loved horror, I accidentally watched the original ‘Psycho’ when I was like twelve years old. And I was perplexed by it. I thought it was so beautiful watching Norman Bates like try to discover how to solve his problems in his head by hurting other people. (laughs) It was so f’d up and it was just such an incredible character study in the world of psychosis and this was a pioneer you know. Alfred Hitchcock was pioneering it at the time. I found my love for horror right there. But, if I had to say currently, the best cinema that I’ve seen that has horror in it–as a horror genre, I think Hereditary pulled it off beautifully. Because it’s not–everyone’s trying to get like the jump scare. The “BOOM”. The “AH”. And that’s not scary. It’s startling. It’s startling and startling isn’t scaring me. It’s like if I snuck up behind you and went “boo”, you would go “oh”.

AFM: Last question. On the topic of horror, I know some of your tattoos kind of follow along with that theme. Any ones in particular that you really like?

Ghastly: I like all of the ones on this hand and this arm. I got some mistakes. I got a lot of mistakes. I even have a foot that I call my “mistake foot”. It’s just covered and you can see right here I tried to tattoo “Satan loves me” onto my own leg and it came out as a “satexan to o me” and like not even a full ‘o’ either it’s like now that I think about it, that looks like a little ballsack. (laughs)

AFM: Anything else you want to tell us about your music? About you?

Ghastly: I’m not really like the type to be like “yo, yo check out my latest mixtape”. You know that’s not really me. But I just want to say thank you very much for listening and or reading and I love people. I love you and I’m very glad that you interviewed me. It was fun!

AFM: The people love you. I love you. And thank you for talking with us!

Ghastly: F*ck yeah!

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