GHST MDRN is an instrumental cinematic/post-rock project of North Vancouver (Canada) based Jordan Irwin.
“My home is nestled between the mountains and the ocean. Small town vibe, but about a 20 minute drive from downtown Vancouver. It’s pretty laid back here and that’s definitely how I am as well.”
Jordan grew up in a very musical family. He wanted to learn how to play guitar when he first really discovered rock music at around 11.
“To be honest I really wanted to be Gavin Rossdale from Bush. Once I finally got my first guitar at 15 and started writing songs it kind of took over my life and became all I wanted to do.“
Jordan is a multi-instrumentalist. He plays guitar, bass, keyboards/piano, ukulele and drums a bit. He played saxophone in school, but he hasn’t played in years. He mentions he also has a violin that he keeps saying he’s going to learn.
Jordan released his debut album ‘The Empty Space Between Dark Places’ in 2018. Recently he has released three singles, including ‘The Depths’ which is currently at #5 in the Cool Top 20. Being a multi-instrumentalist, Jordan played all of the instruments himself.
GHST MDRN is an instrumental project, but Jordan also plays in a (vocal) band called River of Kings. So I’m curious to find out how GHST MDRN came about and if there are any differences in the songwriting process for both projects.
“I started River of Kings when I was still playing guitar in a couple of other bands. It started as an acoustic singer-songwriter solo project, which evolved into more full on rock productions once I started producing my own music. GHST MDRN started when I ended up with a bunch of instrumental tracks, mostly from unfinished film projects, that I didn’t think fit River of Kings, but were good enough to want to release.”
“I play everything for both projects, but the process is a bit different, as I’ll take a more traditional songwriting approach to a River of Kings tune, whereas most of GHST MDRN is a bit more free-flowing. Also, I find I have the toughest time making lyrics that I’m happy with so I tend towards the instrumental tunes.”
What’s the story about the band name GHST MDRN?
“About 8 or 9 years back a friend/coworker and I were talking about starting a band and we started coming up with band names, Ghost Modern being the best one, but the band never got past just talking at work. I’ve always liked the name and wanted to do something with it. When I started putting this project together it seemed to fit, and I like the symmetrical look when you drop the vowels.”
Tell me about the first song you ever wrote.
“The first thing I remember writing on guitar basically sounded like ‘Wonderwall’. The first actual song with lyrics and everything that I wrote, was this kinda funky rock tune called ‘Casualty’. I had just read an article about the average age of rock stars and all the ones that died super young. So this song was all about thinking on my future as a “rock star” and whether or not I would die before 30. I thought it was super deep at the time, but I’m sure it’s quite terrible now!“
You make cinematic instrumental music. What films inspire you to make music?
“I’ve always loved film music and it’s hard not to be inspired by anything John Williams (Star Wars/Jaws/Indiana Jones/Jurassic Park) or Hans Zimmer (Inception/Dark Knight trilogy) does. But, the movie that really made me want to write film music was ‘Moon’, a criminally under seen sci-fi film by Duncan Jones, with a brilliant score by Clint Mansell that sounded like the kind of music that I can make. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross as well have been a big inspiration on my music since they started working with David Fincher (The Social Network/Girl With The Dragon Tattoo/Gone Girl).”
If you’d be given the chance to rewrite the soundtrack for an existing film. What film would you pick?
“Oooh, that’s a tough one, because often the music is a part of what makes a film great! There’s a recent movie that Netflix put out with Charlize Theron called ‘The Old Guard’. It’s a great action movie with surprising dramatic and thematic weight, but the soundtrack is absolute garbage. That would be a fun one to make better. Other than that it’d be fun to do a horror movie like ‘It Follows’ and do something totally different than the original synth based score.”
What’s your favourite (dystopian) film?
“Idiocracy is getting a little too close to reality…so probably ‘The Matrix’. Honorable mention for Blade Runner 2049, one of the best looking films ever and arguably better than the original.”
Speaking of films, the video for ‘The Depths’ was shot by Jordan on his iPhone. He went to a forest near his house to film and later cut it together to the song.
Let’s talk about your new single ‘Android dreams’. Not only is the sound quite different from your previous singles, but the artwork is too. What inspired you to write this song?
“After I released my album ‘The Empty Space Between Dark Places’, I started writing a number of tracks for a follow up in a number of different directions. I was listening to a lot of synth heavy post punk music at the time, mostly by another Vancouver band called ACTORS. I wanted to try my hand at something similar and ‘Android Dreams’ was one of a few tracks in this vein.”
“As this one was so different in sound from the other songs, I wanted the artwork to reflect that. So, I enlisted the help of an artist I met on twitter named Louvee (@justlouvee). Louvee has the kind of vibe to his art that I was looking for. The rest of my artwork is all DIY.”
Did you have a film in mind when writing this track?
“I didn’t have a film in mind but the finished product brings Blade Runner to my mind, hence the ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ title.”
How do you feel about the current music scene?
“There’s a few fairly popular artists that I love. Leon Bridges is one of my favourites. But, I don’t get most popular music these days. That said, there is so very much great music being made these days by independent artists, and there is a decent amount of great artists that seem to be breaking through or on the cusp, that it gives me a modicum of hope for the future of popular music. Of course, pop music has been mostly trash for ever, but we just remember the good stuff. I’m really excited to hear a lot of 90’s alt-rock type music coming out now and it seems like it’s spearheaded by young women like Pom Pom Squad and Beabadoobee. Seriously, check them out. They’re both amazing.“
If you could start over, what would you do differently?
“I would have pushed myself harder when I was young to do things myself. I spent a lot of time in bands as more of a sideman, kind of relying on other people to drive my success or failure. It’s hard to really know what I would have done differently as the industry has changed so much over the years. Everything that I’ve learned to do now, wouldn’t have really been possible when I was younger, back when chasing a record deal was always the ultimate goal. “
What are you most proud of to date?
“My next single, which is called ‘Into The Aether’. Whenever I get to the point with something new that makes me think “This is the best thing I’ve ever made!”, that’s what makes me proud.”
What are you working on right now?
“I have a few more singles that I’m getting prepped for release over the next few months. I’m toying with compiling these into an album of sorts to be fully released early next year. I’m always working on new tunes too.”
So, what’s next? Where would you like to be in 10 years?
“In 10 years ideally, I’ll be living with my wife in somewhere fairly remote with a full studio setup in my home, making a living recording film scores and making albums.”
And of course, our famous last question. What’s your favourite song in the Cool Top 20?
“So many great ones. It’s hard to choose! I love that Sophie Dorsten tune. She’s got such an incredible voice. And No Doubt by HOL is just so so good. It’s such a feel good track. I only discovered her through the Cool Top 20, so bonus points for you guys. Honestly, there’s such a great mix of genre in there, I could pick a different favourite every day.”
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