Exploring the deepest parts of ourselves can look like many various things. It can be a fleeting memory that sparks your senses, and then your imagination, taking you to a place that feels familiar and warm. It can also take you to a place that evokes the opposite feeling; coldness, darkness, and the inevitable of the art form. The way that specific art form takes place is personal, so personal that perhaps it can be so relatable that when we feel this experience, this music we choose to blast so fervently through our speakers–transports us to a place that we did not realize even existed. The escapism music provides is perhaps not a physical destination, but a mental one.
The experiences we garner in our lives can leave a mark on us that transcends other memories, it can be turned into, for artists, their most authentic and raw work. Perhaps even their magnum opus. All it takes is the right song, the right rhythm and beat to produce enthralling work that solidifies a home for these exact feelings. The process of processing emotions is one that is often overlooked–brushed off to the side to focus on much more important matters. Where do these feelings go? The epitome of an artist, one that is transfixed and dedicated to their craft, cannot escape this feeling. You are driving in the car and an idea pops into your head–you reach for your phone as an act to capture that artistic splurge that was just birthed, you simply cannot let it go. A lot of the time, this means going inward.
That is how musician WesGhost, the viral mask-wearing artist, describes a way his musical process comes to life. It could be anywhere, anytime, and the process of inspiration can be derived from something as personal as the loneliness of growing up, to “at that party, I was paralyzed” as he sings on his recently debuted single Doomed and he returns with his latest offering, "EXPIRED."
Emerging as a rising star, the Sleepwalking singer WesGhost has cultivated a musical realm blending 90s/00s alternative and hip hop, providing a sanctuary for outcasts like himself. Serving as the youthful advocate for social outcasts, this Cursed and Faceless artist boasts a dedicated following of over 290,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and garners over 187.1K views on TikTok. WesGhost encourages the disenfranchised to awaken, face the world with courage, and embrace hope through his distinctive musical expression.
FLAUNT sits down with WesGhost to discuss the inspiration behind the music, childhood, and overall identities and qualities that contribute to his musical process.
Your music often blends deeper, more emotional lyrics like, “Right now life sucks, you're falling out of love and I’m still stuck on us,” from Doomed with a more upbeat, yet calming tune. Tell me about your process with writing your songs.
I love this question! I’ll pull from things I’ve experienced, and a lot of my ideas come to me while I’m driving my car. For Doomed, I was driving and sort of humming the hook for Doomed in the car, and I turned on voicenotes. I hum the melody and lyrics and then I also hum like what the music should sound like – Ill sing what the chords should be, or the beat. And then when I get to the studio, I’ll get on the instrument and bring it together. With Doomed specifically, as soon as I played the first chord, it transported me to a memory. A lot of the music I write and create is based on real memory. The memory for Doomed was one of being in love with this girl, seeing her at a party, and as soon as we connected, she told me I was trouble and that she didn’t think I could handle her, and then she just ghosted me and fell off the face of the earth. So this is a song about coming into a relationship and already feeling its doomed or cursed and that it won’t make it. Most of the process of writing a song for me is fast – I wrote Doomed in 45 minutes! It’s like a puzzle, and I sort of arrange the pieces and fit it together while I go. It’s a lot of processing what those chords bring up emotionally.
Tell us about "EXPIRED"?
I never made a song so quickly and then dropped it so quickly. Its so fresh and so real. On Friday the 13th in October, I kept hearing this one line in my head, “it kills me to see you with someone else”. I opened up my phone one day and saw a former long term relationship of mine and that person had moved on. Went on Instagram live. I wrote the verses on the spot and was showing my fans how I wrote music – freestyled etc – and the fans got to see me in real time coming up with the song. It’s a little more raw and dark than my other stuff, but I love showing the raw pain that came from that song, and the power of getting it out, and closing the door of the pain and the experience that I felt. It’s like taking off the bandaid and seeing that scar has closed up more.
Tell me about the moment when you realized that a musical career is what you wanted to pursue.
I know the exact day and moment this happened! I was 15 years old, living in the Midwest, and I didn’t really have friends or a cool personal and social life. I played guitar and pianos for hours. I heard this Coldplay song, “The Scientist” and it really emotionally affected me, it changed my life I swear, and it was one of those random things where it found me. I wanted to make music to get out of my town, and also to make music that might affect someone like how this affected me. I didn’t even know what the song was about, it just gave me chills, and I wanted to emulate that experience of writing about what I knew and being authentic with emotion, and someone hearing it and feeling that relatability. Coldplay had nothing in common with me and vice versa but it is that shared experience of music and emotions.
More often than not you’re seen masked up. How and why has this become part of your identity?
I wear the mask because I wanted to keep the artistry about the music and not what I look like. It also stems from childhood; I grew up a mixed race kid in a very divided town in the Midwest, and my siblings and I got bullied a lot. I felt like a ghost! In a weird way, I wanted to wear a mask so no one could bully or judge for what I look like, and instead they’d have to focus on the music and draw their own conclusion from how the music made them feel. I like how the audience can see themselves in the music, because many of my fans are also misunderstood and don’t feel seen, so me being faceless in the mask allows for that connection. WesGhost collective is about us all being and experiencing WesGhost together. I love superheroes, and this mask gives me the courage to be more vulnerable without the fear of judgement; I can discuss the harder things and write about more painful things.
You’re known for being pretty involved in the Web3 space. What about Web3 sparks your interest? How does it interconnect with what you are creating?
The most exciting thing about Web3 is the ability to connect with other people – it’s more accessible! I was interested in Web3 and collecting NFTs, and a lot of the collectors were gathering on Twitter. I was joining Twitter Spaces and Discord and I was building friendships and community. The reason I started WesGhost – the actual project - in Web 3, is because I was a collector for so long, and I saw that the music scene was bubbling up. Crypto etc were down bad but here were musicians building their own community and developing real relationships with their fans. Unlike say a DSP, I can put music on a blockchain and see who collects it, and message them directly and start a conversation. It’s a hand on approach for building a community and having them be part of it with you. For example, I sourced merch designs from a fan on my Discord. Literally, one of my listeners designed and reached out to me to share his work and we collaborated. It was awesome because he got to make money doing what he loves, and we both were fans of each other’s work in a very organic way, so we got to collaborate and work together. You can build a really personal, hands on relationship with your audience through Web3.
Who do you make music for? What do you hope your listeners take home with them?
OH I LOVE THIS QUESTION. Right now, for this cycle of music, I’m processing a lot of my own emotions with relationships. This is a very real thing, because everyone has been in or out of a relationship, or been rejected or had their heart broken. Sometimes relationships can wreck you! I want them to know when they hear my music, they aren’t the only ones going through this. I want the fans to know that whoever you are, we all go through this, it isnt the end of the world, and I hope these songs are with them through this.
Is there anything that fans should be looking forward to in the next coming year?
It’s a huge goal of mine to tour! I plan to release a full project, and then go out on a nationwide tour. I get a lot of messages from Germany so I also want to go to Europe and start in Germany. I am working on an East Coast show for top of 2024 and just did my Los Angeles underground, pop up in a warehouse in downtown LA. I love the idea of fans wondering, well where is WesGhost going to pop up next? Touring is my focus for 2024.
How are you staying present and checking in on yourselves these days?
I meditate every morning, it’s a game changer for me. I’m sober, I try to go to the gym, get good sleep, spend time with my dog, hang with friends – just normal stuff to balance the craziness of what the entertainment business can be like and the weird hours. I like to go inward and that helps me to be able to make music at the highest level I can.