Band Interview: Ghost Caravan

Ghost Caravan Band Photo

Tell me about yourselves? How did you all meet? Where are you all from?
We are Ghost Caravan. Shaina (our lead singer) started the project and, over time, Michelle, Juliana and Sarah joined the band one by one as we tried different combinations of musicians. We played with lots of amazing musicians, but it was pretty obvious when we found the right people for the project. Shaina and Juliana are from Toronto, born and bred! Michelle is originally from Guelph but spent several years in Vancouver before coming to T.O. and Sarah is from Rapid City, Michigan – a tiny, 1000 person town in Northern Michigan.

What are your names and what position do you have in the band?
Shaina Silver-Bairdlead singer.
Michelle Faehrmannelectric five string cello, back-up vocals.
Juliana Iannuzziellokeyboards, back-up vocals.
Sarah Rieglerdrums, percussion.

What if anything does your band name mean/Why are you called that?
The name came from Shaina: “I feel like my “ghosts” are what inform the music that I write. Whether they are the ghosts of specific people, the ghosts of past loves or the ghosts of experience, this caravan of ghosts is the origin of my songs. I really write from my personal experience and from my imagination. Plus I love the image of a caravan of ghost people trekking through the world. It’s not a creepy image, more a magical one.”

Describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
We call it orchestral soultronica. Which basically means it’s a fusion of soul, pop and electronica all tied together with some sweet, orchestral string arrangements. The lyrics are definitely on the personal/poetic side, but we pair them with grand, dramatic tracks to create a sound that’s uplifting.

What song(s) do you remember most from your childhood?
Juliana“Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morisson (“I’d dance around and pretend that song was written about me”)
Shaina“Where You Lead” by Carol King (“It may have been The Gilmore Girls that cemented it in my brain, but my mother definitely introduced me to Carol first”)
MichelleSkinnamarink (“for sure”)
Sarah“Buffalo Soldier” by Bob Marley.

Do you have a process for writing your songs?
Not really. The process for every song is different. Sometimes we’ll be given fully made tracks by producers and we’ll write melody and lyrics on top. Or we’ll get a few songwriters in a room and see what happens, like a chemistry experiment. That’s what happened with our new single “Love Me If You Dare.” Shaina met with Martha and Mark of Martha and the Muffins. They had a couple sessions at a kitchen table and this weird and wonderful tune came out of it. All three of them contributed to lyrics, melody and instrumentation.

Have you released any music yet, and if so how has it been received?
Yes! We released our debut album “T.O. Confidential” a few months ago in October 2018 and it was a really amazing experience. We’d been working on that album on and off for 3 years with different artists, so it felt vulnerable and exciting to finally release it into the world. And we were overwhelmed by the positive response, not just from blogs and stations like CBC Radio 1, but from individuals in our lives who reached out to say how much they loved it. Three of the songs were even featured in one of our favourite TV shows “Kim’s Convenience.”

Are you planning any music releases for the near future?
We are planning three more single releases over the next several months including a couple music videos. We just shot the music video for our next single “I Wish I Knew (The Words To Make You Happy)” last weekend and we think it’s going to be really powerful. Keep an eye out!

If you have released music, where can fans to be find it?
Anywhere you get your sounds!! Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Deezer, Amazon Music, Google Play. Check out this link to find it all.

Do you have social media for the band and if so please provide links?

Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues?
We’ve performed primarily around Toronto, anywhere from street festivals to the many venues around town. The Mod Club was definitely a stand out – it’s a massive room, one of the best sound systems in the city and playing to a full crowd there was just magical. Our fave spots include The Rivoli and Burdock Music Hall as well. In terms of least favourite… we don’t really want to name names, but basically anywhere that has a bad sound system and no monitors. You’d be surprised how often it’s impossible to hear yourself onstage!

Do you have any gigs in the near future, and if so where and when?
Yes. Our single “Love Me If You Dare” is included in a compilation album alongside artists like Grand Analog, John Orpheus and Martha and the Muffins, being released by The Confidence Emperors in May. So we’re very excited to be playing the release party for that record. There will be more gigs to come!

How do you balance your music with other obligations?
It’s a constant balancing act. We all have other musical acts and creative endeavours as well. So, scheduling is our biggest challenge, but we always make it a priority because we love playing music together. Juliana is also an amazing graphic designer (she does all the design for Ghost Caravan), Sarah is also a member of the band “John Orpheus” and is a powerhouse DJ and event organizer for the AfroHaus nights, Michelle heads up the “Four on the Floor String Quartet” and works for the JUNOs, and Shaina is a professional actor as well. We’re all very busy women who wear lots of hats in the industry.

Following on from that question, what has been your biggest challenge as a band and have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so then how?
Probably our biggest challenge is balancing the time the band requires with the other commitments in our lives. But like we said, when you love something, you make it a priority. Plus it’s so damn fun.

And let’s end with something a little different…Which famous person, living or dead, would you have dinner with and why?
ShainaI recently saw the film “On the Basis of Sex” and was so inspired by the work of Ruth Bader Jones. What she worked for in the legal system, in order to start us on the path to equality for women under the law, was revolutionary. I would love to pick her brain.
JulianaDavid Bowie.
SarahDavid Bowie.
MichelleWell that’s a tough call between Sharon, Lois or Bram.
ShainaI am DEFINITELY crashing that dinner party! The Sharon, Lois and Bram one… sorry David Bowie.


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