Born out of jazz ensembles and a mind-numbing music theory class, newly-local indie rock band Ghost Soul Trio has integrated itself into the Columbus music scene, playing smaller venues across the city like Skully’s, Spacebar and Shrunken Head.
The band originally met in high school in Youngstown, but didn’t start working together as Ghost Soul Trio until 2015. While in high school, Joe Amadio, James Harker and Nate Gelfand played in school music ensembles before separating to go to college, where Gelfand stayed in Youngstown, Harker went to Capital University and Amadio attended Ohio State.
For a while, Amadio, Harker and Gelfand worked on their own musical projects, until Amadio took a music theory class one summer, and started writing music to take out his frustration with the class.
“I would just come back to my apartment and jot down some ideas,” said Amadio, the band’s drummer. “I was recording [for] James’ other band and I needed a singer, and I didn’t know anyone who sang except for James … and then Nate, I just kind of played with him in other groups so it kind of made sense.”
To record its 2016 debut album, “Sinking Moon,” Amadio would come up with drum demos and send them to the rest of the band, and together, they’d add instrumentals and vocals on top.
“With that, most of the songs still are just the same thing over and over again, but each section is built upon the last one,” vocalist Harker said. “We ended up changing it enough to make it interesting, whether that was in the lyrics or the melody or just different production tricks.”
Despite the fact that trio is in its name, and that all the members have musical backgrounds in jazz, Ghost Soul Trio isn’t a jazz band. Instead, it pulls from a variety of different artists and genres.
“I actually really enjoy [jazz],” Amadio said. “But I know a lot of people are so seriously into it that anything else is just stupid. Ironically, some of the best jazz musicians I know are some of the most open-minded creative people and are doing really well but we just like to play off the fact that some people [are so serious].”
In the spirit of not taking itself too seriously, Ghost Soul Trio’s tagline is labeled “fat beats from skinny boys” and Gelfand jokingly defined its genre on Facebook as a “hair-raising combination of TED talks and jazz standards.”
“I always see bands on Facebook and everything [that] will be like ‘[we’re] blah meets blah meets whatever,” Harker said. “And ours just says like, ‘fat beats by skinny boys.’ You don’t know what that means at all.”
Going forward, Ghost Soul Trio is looking to eventually start working on a second album and booking more live gigs around Columbus.
“I think right now we’re focused on just getting stuff that we have out there because we’ve been sitting on it for a fair amount of time,” Gelfand said. “Pretty much every show we’ve played here has been, besides the few friends we’ll bring to each one, has actually been for completely fresh audiences.”
Ghost Soul Trio will play at The Shrunken Head at 251 W. 5th Ave. on Oct. 14.