We all have some “Ghosts” that linger around us. Hanging in the darkness, we do our best to control and ignore them, but sometimes they rear their ugly heads. Producer and songwriter Diamond Shake knows a thing or two about what lurks in the shadows, and he’s made it the focal point of his brand new single and music video for “Ghosts.”
Diamond Shake, real name Matt Hitchens, once again worked with the extremely talented animator Dom Bloink to create the impressionistic new video. Bloink has become a frequent collaborator of Hitchens, previously working on Diamond Shake’s 2019 video for “Great New Meaning” and all associated visuals for his last album, From Method To Madness. The song itself focuses on the struggle to overcome trauma, specifically the challenge to redirect his negative headspace towards something more positive, through the assistance of therapy and meditation.
Telling us more about the song, Hitchens said, “‘Ghosts’ is about overcoming trauma and being able to redirect previously dark and violent mental imagery towards a better place. I had issues with pretty dark mental imagery from around the age of 10 and had always been too ashamed or worried to mention anything to anyone about it, so it progressively got worse throughout my adolescent years into adulthood. It reached its pinnacle around the time of writing the album and it became pretty overwhelming to the point that I finally began to look for ways to help.
While I was writing the music, I had thought of a Viking warship going through the ocean, and that’s what inspired the big drums and the wave crash effect of the guitars and cymbals in the chorus. For the video, I thought about putting the two ideas of Vikings and monsters together, to suggest that seeking the root of the issue and attacking it head-on can give you some sense of control, and colour, back into your life. I have always been a massive Ralph Steadman fan and thought the messy ink-blot style drawing he is famous for might work really well for this idea. Then that evolved via a graphic novel feel to a Jackson Pollock explosion at the end. Dominique Bloink, who has made all my videos, did an amazing job taking all these ideas and tying them together to create this amazing piece of art.”
Bloink added, “We worked a lot to figure out the particular style for ‘Ghosts,’ which I would call a mix of sum-i ink painting but with a touch of comic book/graphic novel feel. We were inspired by the likes of Sin City and samurais. This was a completely new style for me with stationary paintings as the main focus, and the movement being provided by the background ink splatters. It was all about balance and trying to find a way the two layers could compliment each other without one overpowering the other. Once again, we mixed many different hand-painted elements with digital elements.”
Hitchens is something of a musical superstar, with Diamond Shake his own one-man band. He oversees every aspect of his songwriting and recording, writing, producing, engineering, and mixing every song that he puts out. It’s all very natural to Hitchens, as he’s been perfecting his craft since the age of eight when he started playing instruments. From Method To Madness is something of a concept album, dealing with Hitchens’ own personal struggles with depression, anxiety, anger, and self-esteem, problems that became worse for him when he moved from London to Los Angeles almost a decade ago. He followed up the impressive From Method To Madness, with the equally as impressive Covered in Covid last year, an album inspired, quite obviously, by the pandemic of the last year.
A musician who just can’t help but be inspired and productive, you can be certain that Hitchens has some new tricks up his sleeve that he’ll be unveiling to us soon.