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5/4/2018 / Issue #017 / Text: Clara Davies

Minds Of Amsterdam

Minds of Amsterdam is a new AA column in which Clara Davies lets us meet a different artist working in Amsterdam each time. This might be someone she’s randomly encountered, someone who has triggered her curiosity or has somehow impressed her. It could be a painter, designer, musician or photographers – it doesn’t matter as long as she or he is a soul whose creative work adds a touch of magic to this world. The purpose? Using AA as a platform where people and art can meet. Enjoy!


GHOM: A woman, and three men; A viola, a synth, a cajon and an electric guitar.
Their music genre? Alternative rock, experimental-folk as eclectic as the nationalities of this combo.
Their presence on stage? Strong and distinct, with a pinch of glitter and a Breton cap. 
Their debut album ‘A Debate About A Lobster’ was released February 8th – and it is a combination of cool and moving. You can find them playing in venues all around town, and you’ll easily spot me on the side of the room stomping my feet and holding a beer.

GHOM, that’s a fun band name! What does it mean and where did it come from?
Me (Roberto) and Maya, the viola player, we’re music partners since when we were living together in Istanbul, so our home was actually our music studio. And the same happened here in Amsterdam, where we find ourselves both rehearsing and composing mostly in our living room. We tried to find something that sounded funny, and Dutch as well, with that typical G rough phonetic. And ta dah: GHOM came out!

What are you trying to express through your music? 
Since we played together in Istanbul, our music was always a lot about the feeling of the moment, somewhat bringing up emotions and memories, something which is very common in the middle-east and less in center/north Europe. So I think we try to keep this mix - of warm, strong, powerful emotions, served with a cold climate :) besides, I don’t think we try to express much. Express ourselves, our love to music and to playing together, and try to reach people’s stomach and heart. 

Your nationalities are as eclectic as your music. How did you come together?
I am originally Italian and Maya is from Israel, but she’s been studying and making music in Holland for years. We originally met in Turkey, through another band which we were founders of, MavaRoz from an art collective based in Cihagir. Once we moved to Amsterdam, we met Ali by chance, who is from Istanbul but lives here. David is British and joined us by becoming the last piece of the puzzle.  David and I currently work in the same company. 

You have developed a very peculiar sense of style on stage – why is that?
Personally, I like to wear different costumes and put make up on. In addition, I like to hear magic but also see it on stage. I think it makes everything more fun and special. Music, performance, these are all forms of unordinary communication, something which stands-out from the daily routine. Weird leggings, masks and of course – glitter, we LOVE glitter. We need to be sincere on stage, that’s where the style plays a role.

Pick one word that defines the essence of GHOM.
More than one person defined us as ‘Apocalyptic’ during our performances. I’d say that is quite accurate and suits as well.

Word on the street is you recorded your first album, how was that?
We recorded in a very strange place, a temporary warehouse where I was living for a month, which to our convenience happened to have a mixer and monitors. So we called some technician friends from The Hague and they recorded us live. In a 4 hour, one-take session, we managed to record all of the 8 tracks of our debut LP called “A Debate About A Lobster”. It felt like going through a twin pregnancy at the time, but we made it! We decided to distribute the album as an artwork package made of a booklet that you can color as you feel (one color for each song) and a GHOM logo USB keyring. It definitely felt like we were making something god out of all these sounds we blow in the air. 

What are the biggest advantages in your opinion to having your band based in Amsterdam over any other city?
Amsterdam is sort of a no-man’s land, so you feel free here to do anything you like. It is also inspiring to be surrounded by many great musicians from all around the world, and so be able to swim between so many styles and scenes in one small place.  We thought this could be a fertile terroir for something like GHOM.

What happens next – in music and in life?
Now we’re trying to contact indie music labels, booking agencies and festivals, both abroad and around the Netherlands so we can get finally rich and famous and start making families. All the package of adult life. Enough of punk life!

More info about GHOM: