Ghost's Tobias Forge: “You have these blockbuster horror films that would never be considered for an Oscar...that is the stigma that metal and rock still has"

Ghost’s Tobias Forge
(Image credit: Katia Ogrin)

Ghost mainman Tobias Forge and Def Leppard legend Joe Elliot have discussed their recent collaboration and the current state of rock and metal in a brand new interview.

The duo, who teamed up for a rejigged version of Ghost's Spillways, the original version of which was released via 2022's critically acclaimed Impera album, seemed to have an absolute blast working together according to their recent chat with NME.

“The fact we’ve got this great song and then we ham it up with a bit of karaoke was just hilarious,” says Elliott, referring to the hilarious 'Chapter' video preceding the new version of Spillways, featuring the Def Leppard frontman performing karaoke in a pub in Dublin. “We were there for about four hours but we were only filming for maybe an hour. The rest of the time, we were just hanging out and talking.”

“Everything for me is about vibing,” adds Forge. “You cannot just point at one beautiful boy and one beautiful girl and say, ‘You two should totally fuck’ to create a love child. It’s about meeting and hanging out. What happened with this is luck.”

When asked how they both feel about rock and metal's current resurgent popularity, the two both suggest that it's a little misleading to state that either genre ever truly went away in the first place.

“I’m in Mexico City where Def Leppard just played to 56,000 people,” says Elliott. “Ghost are playing to huge crowds as well. Metal, pop rock, soft rock, hard rock, whatever-the-fuck-rock has never really gone away in the eyes of the fans. It comes and goes though. It wasn’t big in the ‘80s until us and Bon Jovi came along and kicked it up the arse. Then it went underground again, before it turned into grunge, then emo. Who knows what’s coming next.”

“You have these blockbuster horror films that would never, ever be considered for an Oscar because it’s a horror film, so it’s automatically seen as not that good,” Forge notes. “That might change in time, but that is the stigma that metal and rock still has. It’s seen as not being as sophisticated as other things. You can’t have an argument against that, but you can still sell records, you can become big on streaming, you can sell tickets. You don’t have to be on daytime radio to be successful.”

Impera is out now. Ghost tour Europe and North America later this year.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.