Myths and moonlighting

By Steven White

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When pressed on what inspires the band, London-based alternative-rock band Black Casino and the Ghost profess a love for nature and especially cherish their relationship with animals. The influence of canines was evident on Some Dogs Think Their Name Is No, their 2013 debut album that received enough plaudits from critics and listeners alike to help establish the beginnings of a veritable fan base.

They even once found themselves in the public eye following some reports of bizarre sightings. If you are in the UK you may remember a couple of years ago about the story of an unknown creature roaming the streets of London and putting the frighteners on the public. (Thanks in large to a tabloid newspaper’s ‘Beast of Hackney Marshes’ hyperbolic dubbing.)

It turned out to be something of a humorous revelation when this putative beast was revealed more prosaically to be a dog called Willow owned by the band’s drummer, Paul Winter-Hart (who also drums with Kula Shaker). Read here.

Moving away from mythological mix-ups and on to the reality of playing in London and touring the UK, Black Casino and The Ghost have slowly been building their following.  It’s a painstakingly hard thing to do and like all bands at that level, they sometimes have to face playing empty venues.

Lead singer Elisa Zoot admits “Sure, it used to happen and it can still happen.” Downsides of live music aside, especially if it’s long drive there and back to a gig, she philosophises that “you can’t let that get to you. You still owe a good show to yourself and whoever’s there.” If this is one of the struggles that independent groups like Zoot’s sometimes face in trying to leave a scratch on today’s local music scene, her sanguine attitude is admirable.

Hardly a stranger when it comes to some recognition though — they’ve already done enough to gain airplay on BBC Radio 6 and were heralded as “one to watch” by The Guardian — it’s something that bloats them with “a nice warm feeling” and unsurprisingly gives them motivation to carry on creating, which isn’t something these full-time musicians necessarily do together all of the time. While others might see working on external projects and sessions as just a bit of occasional moonlighting to keep busy, they see it as a chance to expand on their musical vocabulary, an opportunity to take something different and new back into the band that they might not have otherwise found from never leaving it. Perhaps lessons for any upcoming musicians out there could be learnt from the band’s open approach.

Find out more about Black Casino and the Ghost:







Photo by Nicole Frosbusch

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