Southsea hip-hop collective South Coast Ghosts to launch debut album Silent Assassins with Lord John Russell gig

They’re a 10-headed hip-hop, funk, rock and soul beast, and in the year since making their live debut, South Coast Ghosts have emerged as one of the most exciting acts in Portsmouth.

Friday, 29th July 2022, 12:09 pm

And today they release their debut album Silent Assassins, with a launch party in Southsea this Saturday.

The Ghosts came together when musician/producer Dan Bierton, aka Diamondback Kid, was getting restless while working on local rapper Tommy Brown’s second album, Carousouls.

Dan recalls: ‘The tail end of making that was into lockdown and I was waiting for things from different people because they were emailing me bass parts and guitar and whatever.

South Coast Ghosts are playing a release party for their debut album, Silent Assassins at Lord John Russell's on July 30, 2022

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    ‘I was sitting around waiting for those, and I don't really like sitting around doing nothing. So rather than wait for them, I thought, let's do something else.’

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    The initial idea had been to do ‘a hip-hop thing with a bunch of local rappers – I'd produce some beats and be the guy behind the scenes.’

    However, Dan’s impatience again got the better of him as others were slow in contributing.

    Dan says: ‘I was talking to Tom – I'd got him to rap on a couple, and I ended up doing some vocals myself, just filling in some gaps, and we were like, let's forget these other people, let's do this ourselves. Most of the musicians who are part of this are the people who were playing on the Tommy Brown stuff, on the album and live.

    ‘We had James Tattington, James Joe who's also a guitarist, Teddy the trumpeter extraordinaire, so we had the bones of a band already.

    ‘Instead of having these guys just playing in the band, we got them doing vocals as well, like James and Joe, and it's ended up like a gang of 10 people, the majority of whom are solo artists in their own right.

    ‘It's just become a big collection of insanely talented, creative people,’ he laughs, ‘and then me, pulling the bits together and making it a thing.

    ‘It's not been an easy task, and quite a bit of it has been done remotely. Occasionally a musician actually turns up and does something live!

    ‘Rehearsals and gigs are a bit of a task – we don't often get everyone together at the same time. Luckily we can do a few bits and pieces off the laptop if people don't turn up so we can kind of wing it – but it's nice when it's all nine of us together on stage, it's a special thing.’

    Bringing a feminine influence to the band is singer Georgie.

    Dan reveals who they got her onboard: ‘We were doing a Tommy Brown gig at The Loft about 18 months ago and she was doing a little solo set the same night.

    ‘I've spoken to her dad about this because apparently she was dead into what we were doing, and he was nudging her, saying to her: “Send them a text!” So she sent Tom a message asking, do you fancy doing something collaboratively? I sent her a tune I was working on, she recorded some vocals and sent them back and it was great – you're in!’

    James Tattington, who also performs as Fugitive Orchestra, sings on a pivotal Ghosts track, Little Birdy.

    James says: ‘I felt quite fortunate to do that, because I know it's a track that's close to Dan's heart. It was the first single, which Dan and John (Hicks) wrote late one night. There was something about it being this amazing organic thing.

    ‘John hasn't done any gigs with us for various reasons and so when it came to needing someone to take the lead vocal on this, they asked me and it was like: "Wow, are you sure?” but it's turned out really nicely.

    ‘There's another one on there I've written, Promises, which was this scrappy little demo I sent to Dan and it has become what it is. Tom and Dan have written some verses for that as well, and Georgie joins me on some backing vocals.’

    Their most recent recruit is drummer Nath Hill, the man keeping the beat with Idol State and numerous other projects.

    Dan says: ‘We've known him from being out and about and at open mic things. He's an insane drummer.

    ‘We've been running drums out of the laptop for the last year, so the next step was to get a proper drummer in, or an improper drummer, I don't know...

    James says: ‘He's so interesting to work with. Recently I recorded a track with him that's going to be a solo track for me, and seeing him work in that environment and then seeing him work with the Ghosts – you watch him and he's just this animal.’

    ‘He is Animal from the Muppets!’ adds Dan.

    ‘But he's so methodical,’ continues James, ‘he's just as comfortable working to a track. The fact he's able to inhabit that ying-yang thing is nuts, and I've got so much more respect for him – and I had a lot to begin with.’

    The band are at Lord John Russell’s on Albert Road, Southsea, on Saturday from 9pm, with support from Frosty Shadows of Dawn. The album is available to stream online now. CD copies of the album will be available at the gig. Tickets £6. Go to book.events.