Sometimes something slides into the DMs on Twitter that just gets us excited. That’s exactly how our conversation started with Sam Valenti, founder of Ghostly International. He reached out to discuss possibly collaborating on a small run of radios imprinted with their signature logo.
Our team has long been familiar with the independent record label that is known for its eclectic range of artists. But it’s not just about the music for Ghostly. The label has regularly pushed to create a full experience challenging the medium of delivery for music consumption, the art that accompanies the music, and products that they sell alongside it all, making more of an ethos and appreciation of the culture surrounding the music produced.
We had a chance to ask Sam a few questions about Ghostly and the collaboration.
What started as a project in a dorm room in Ann Arbor Michigan has become an internationally recognized record label. Can you tell us about why you decided to start recording and releasing music and what it feels like now to look back at what you have accomplished over the past 20 years?
Working in music, people assume that everything has changed in the last 20 years, but I believe for all the technological development, the core job is roughly the same: to find great artists and help them get their work to the world. It feels like we're just starting to find our groove, it takes a while.
What do you look for in the musicians that you sign?
The thesis for Ghostly early on, as a primarily electronic label, was to find artists whose voices could be heard through the software/hardware. Artists need to have a strong humanity and vision for their work. The label is much more diverse stylistically now, but we still feel you need your own voice, which is hard to define, but you know it when you hear it.
What made Ghostly expand beyond music into the visual art space and what relations do you see between the many different mediums of the arts?
Ghostly has always been about the intersection of art and music from putting work by my illustrator friend, Michael Segal, on the first sleeve. As technology has changed how we consume music it also has opened up the interest in doing unconventional things around its presentation which has led us to think of what a "release" can be, from the tangible to the invisible.
Ghostly has expanded into selling curated goods, such as the co-branded Model One BT. What made you decide to move into selling products besides music?
Ghostly is a platform that allows us to express ideas, share tastes, and expose our discoveries. Music is our driving force, but the visual arts have always been next to that experience. It would be a waste to not engage our public in just one medium, and as we find like-minded companies and artists, we try to manifest something to share.
You and your team reached out to us to begin this collaboration. What piqued your interest in Tivoli Audio?
The design language of Tivoli speaks to the past and the present, which is something we care about, as fans of vinyl and physical music culture. We loved Tivoli's products and after seeing them a few times, we had to reach out. Sometimes you find a kindred spirit on the other end of the line and good things start to happen. As long as that keeps happening and our fans like it, we'll keep doing them.
The Ghostly International Model One BT has sold out in a single day, but check out Ghostly’s artists and other products here.